My inspiration for this particular painting of Judas Kissing Jesus (I have painted up to 10 versions of this subject) was Picasso. A Picasso painting of a lady, the yellow lips… When I saw this painting in one of my many books on him, it popped right into my mind. Judas. Those odd colored lips. The odd way to identify Jesus, the kiss from Judas… weird huh? Oh well, that is the truth, the way it came into my mind.
Then I had to explore other paintings by Picasso to get my reference for Jesus and oddly enough found it in another Picasso painting of a female. (see the two images with this article)
With this start I just made up the other characters in the painting. I unconsciously added an extra finger on Judas’ hand that is “pointing out Jesus” along with his kiss.
In searching for an answer to – why a kiss – I found this nice article on a website called Jesus-Story (http://www.jesus-story.net/betrayal.htm)
After Judas left the upper room where they had been eating, Jesus washed the feet of his friends in an act of godly service. Then they went out to a garden across the Kidron Valley, a garden they must have known well. Jesus prayed there, but the peace of the garden was shattered by the arrival of a contingent of guards and officials. They had come to arrest Jesus. With them was Judas.
Because there were many pilgrims around, it was necessary to have a sign (the kiss) to identify Jesus. If there had been a struggle the wrong man might have been arrested, especially in the dark. A kiss was normal enough; it was the way a pupil greeted a Rabbi, and Jesus had been a teacher to Judas. Mark, writing in Greek, uses an emphatic form of the verb katephilesen. Judas kissed Jesus with more than usual fervor and affection.
Jesus submitted quietly to the soldiers, but spoke some final words to Judas: Friend, why are you here?
The words can be read as a loving rebuke, but they can also be translated as Do what you came to do.
Just add this to the many, many questions that I have about the stories of Jesus.