Who Kissed Me?
May 4th, 1980 @ 10:50 AM
WHO KISSED ME?
Dr. W. A. Criswell
5-4-80 10:50 a.m.
We are so glad to welcome our homebound today. These dear, precious, beautiful friends in Christ for the generations now and past, and their love and prayers mean more than word or syllable could ever say. And we welcome the uncounted thousands of you who are sharing this hour on radio and television with our First Baptist Church in Dallas. This is the pastor bringing the message entitled: Who Kissed Me? So many have asked me, "Now just what kind of a sermon is that, Who Kissed Me?" But it is a message, I suppose, is more out of the Word of God than any I have delivered in a long, long time.
The reading of our text is in Genesis 27; Genesis chapter 27; in our Criswell Study Bible, page 41. On those nondescript pages that some of you carry around, no telling what number it is; but in the Criswell Study Bible, it’s page 41, and we begin reading at the eighteenth verse. Genesis 27 is the chapter that describes the deceit of Rebekah and Jacob in stealing the blessing away from Isaac. Esau was loved by his father Isaac, but Jacob was loved by his mother Rebekah [Genesis 25:28]. And the blessing that is now to be pronounced in Isaac’s old age, being blind, is the course of human history following thereafter. And in that blessing is entailed the coming of the Prince of Glory. So to steal it away, Rebekah had her boy [Jacob] to cover himself with a hairy skin, because Esau was hairy [Genesis 27:11-16]; and to make his father venison that he loved. And now we pick up the story in Genesis 27:18:
And Jacob came unto his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I: who art thou, my son?
And Jacob said unto his father, I am Esau thy first-born; I have done according as thou badest me: arise, I pray thee, sit and eat of my venison, that thy soul may bless me.
And Isaac said unto his son, How is it that thou hast found it so quickly, my son? And he said, Because the Lord thy God brought it to me.
And Isaac said unto Jacob, Come near, I pray thee, that I may feel thee, my son, whether thou be my very son Esau or not.
And Jacob went near unto Isaac his father: and Isaac felt him, and said, The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.
And Isaac discerned him not, because his hands were hairy, as his brother Esau’s hands: so Isaac blessed him.
And he said: Art thou my very son, Esau? And he said: I am.
And he said, Bring it near to me, and I will eat of my son’s venison, that my soul may bless thee. And he brought it near to him, and he did eat . . .
And his father Isaac said unto him: Come near now, and kiss me, my son.
And Jacob came near, and kissed him: and he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him . . .
Then follows the blessing [Genesis 27:28-29]. Now, verse 30:
It came to pass, as soon as Isaac had made an end of blessing Jacob, and Jacob was yet scarce gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, that Esau his brother came in from his hunting.
And he had made savory meat, brought it to his father, and said unto Isaac, Let my father arise, and eat of his son’s venison, that thy soul may bless me.
And Isaac his father said unto him, Who art thou? –
Who kissed me? –
And he said: I am thy son, thy first-born, Esau.
And Isaac trembled very exceedingly, and said: Who? –
Who kissed me? –
where is he that hath taken venison, and brought it to me, and I have eaten of all before thou camest, and have blessed him? yea, and he shall be blessed.
And when Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry, and said unto his father, Bless me also, O my father,
And Esau lifted up his voice and wept.
[Genesis 27:30-34, 38]
Who kissed me? In the Bible, thirty-nine times in the Old Testament is the word nashaq used, meaning to kiss; in the New Testament, phileō, which usually means to love in a friendly way, three times it is translated "kiss"; in the New Testament, kataphileō, to kiss tenderly, is used six times; and in the New Testament philēma, the word for kiss, is used seven times. In the Old Testament, a few times the kiss is used in poetic imagery. For example, in Ezekiel 3, the prophet says he saw the wings of the cherubim and they nashaq translated in the King James Version they "touched" each other; literally Ezekiel wrote, "the wings of the cherubim folded, kissed each other" [Ezekiel 3:13].
There is a beautiful, beautiful verse in Psalm 85:10: "Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace kiss each other." There is a verse in Proverbs 24:26: "Every man shall kiss his lips who giveth a right answer."
In the Talmud, one of the most beautiful, poetic descriptions, I think, in human speech is the Midrash in the last chapter of Deuteronomy on the death of Moses [Deuteronomy 34:5]. And the rabbi said in that Midrash that Moses died with the kiss of God upon his lips. We might say it like this: God kissed the breath of Moses away. So, I point out a few times in the Old Testament, the word kiss is used in a poetic, and in symbolic, and in imagery sense.
But practically all of the time, indeed, I think, all of the other instances outside of these they I’ve just pointed out, the word refers to a caress of the lips. And the first time the word nashaq, to kiss, is used in the Bible, is in the passage that I’ve just read in the twenty-seventh chapter of the Book of Genesis [Genesis 27:26-27]. And it is one of those strong, strange providences, that this first use of the word is twofold. There are two sides to a kiss. One can be a kiss of deception, and seduction, an artful ploy of hypocrisy, feigning a love that is in nowise felt. And of course, the other: it can be a kiss of tenderest sympathy, and love, and purity, and faithfulness.
In the Bible, nashaq sometimes is used to describe a ploy of seduction, and deception, and hypocrisy. For example, in 2 Samuel is the story of Absalom, and he stole the hearts of the men of Israel away from David and mounted a rebellion against him [2 Samuel 15:10-13]. And the way Absalom did it, the Bible says, was when a man came to Jerusalem for any cause, to lay a case before the king, Absalom intercepted him, met him, and kissed him, and said, "Would God I were king in Israel" [2 Samuel 15:1-6].
In that same 2 Samuel, the use of the word kiss in deception: when Absalom mounted his rebellion, he made Amasa captain of the hosts of the army that fought against David, and almost won [2 Samuel 17:25]. Joab was the captain of the hosts of the army of David, and in the large, generous graciousness of David, in seeking to heal the breach in Israel, he made Amasa, the leader of the army of Absalom, his own captain of the hosts, and displaced Joab [2 Samuel 19:13]. So when Joab met Amasa, Joab took Amasa’s face, as though he would graciously kiss the face of Amasa, but Amasa did not notice that under a fold of his garment Joab had a sword. And when Joab kissed Amasa, he pulled out that sword and ran him through. And Amasa died wallowing, the Bible says, in his own blood [2 Samuel 20:9-12].
The kiss of deception, and subtlety, and seduction: in the seventh chapter of the Book of Proverbs, the wise man says, "I discerned among the youths, a young man . . . passing through the streets . . .
in the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark of the night.
And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of a harlot, and subtle of heart. . . .
She caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him . . .
I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry . . .
I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves . . .
With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, and with the kiss of her lips . . .
He goeth after her . . . as an ox goeth to the slaughter, as a fool to the correction of the stocks;
Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life.
The kiss of the harlot, one of seduction.
And of course, the most famous kiss in the world, I suppose: when Judas said to the Sanhedrin, "He whom I kiss, it is He; seize Him, hold Him fast" [Matthew 26:48]. And in the nighttime, Judas leads the band from the temple court, and he meets the Lord with His apostles, and he says: Hail, Master, and kissed Him [Matthew 26:]. And the Lord said: "Judas, you betray your Lord with a kiss?" [Luke 22:48].
The kiss was also in the Old Testament a sign of adoration and worship of an idol. Do you remember when Elijah said, "And I, and I only, Lord, am left [1 Kings 19:10]. Remember what the Lord said? Elijah, I have reserved, for I have reserved for Me seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal nor have kissed him" [1 Kings 19:18]. In the Book of Job, thirty-first chapter, Job, pleading his integrity, says, "I have never kissed my hand toward the sun and the moon" [Job 31:26, 27]. And in the thirteenth chapter of the Book of Hosea, Hosea describes the apostasy of Israel in saying that they were kissing the golden calves at Bethel and at Dan [Hosea 13:1, 2]. So there are, tragically so, instances where the kiss is one of hypocrisy, and subtlety, and seduction.
But there is another side to this caress of the human heart, and this is the kiss that we love to think of in its truth, and in its purity, and in its goodness, and in its preciousness. First, the kiss of personal endearment and personal love; this is the basis of marriage, and the home, and the generations. In the story of Jacob, who came to Haran, into the house of Rebekah’s brother, named Laban, Jacob sees Rachel who is described as a beautiful girl. And the Bible says: "And Jacob kissed Rachel" [Genesis 29:11].
In the Song of Solomon, the first verse and the text of the song: "The Song of songs, which is Solomon’s. Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth" [Song of Solomon 1:1, 2]. There is not a more beautiful poem in the English literature than "Summum Bonum," the highest, greatest good, written by Robert Browning. Do you remember it?
All the breath and the bloom of the year in the bag of one bee:
All the wonder and wealth of the mine in the heart of one gem:
In the core of one pearl all the shade and the shine of the sea:
Breath and bloom, shade and sign, – wonder, wealth,
And – how far above them –
Truth that’s brighter than gem,
Trust, that’s purer than pearl, –
Brightest truth, purest trust in the universe – all were for me,
In the kiss of one girl.
["Asolando: Summum Bonum," Robert Browning]
Beautiful. And how true.
The kiss also in the Bible: the sweet love of a family. When Joseph made himself known to his brothers, he first kissed Benjamin. Then he kissed all of the sons of Jacob, his brothers [Genesis 45:14-15]. And all of us are moved by the pathos and compassion of the father in Luke 15 who welcomes back the prodigal son, and he saw his boy from afar, and ran to meet him, and kissed him [Luke 15:20].
There is the kiss of friendship in the Bible. Moses worked for Jethro for forty years [Acts 7:30]. And when Moses led the people of Israel out of Egypt, Jethro met him, and Moses kissed him [Exodus 18:7]. When Samuel anointed Saul, after the anointing oil was poured on the head of Saul, the young man, Samuel kissed the young fellow [1 Samuel 10:1]. And one of the moving incidents in the life of David, when David fled before Absalom and the rebellion against him, he crossed over Jordan. And on the east side was a Gileadite named Barzillai. His name means "son of iron." And Barzillai fed David and his army while he was fleeing from Absalom. And when Absalom was defeated and David crossed back over Jordan to Jerusalem, he asked old Barzillai to go with him. And Barzillai said, "I am fourscore years old – I am eighty years of age, and I ought to stay with my people, be buried by my father and mother. But my prayers and love will go with you, said old Barzillai. And when time came for David to pass over Jordan, the Book says he kissed Barzillai, his old friend [2 Samuel 19:31-39].
So the kiss came also to be a gesture of sweet farewell and parting. When the family of Jacob returned back to Canaan, Laban kissed his daughters Rachel and Leah and their children [Genesis 31:55]. One of the sweetest stories in the Bible is the story of Ruth. And Orpah kissed [Naomi] and went back; but Ruth clave to her [Ruth 1:14]. Orpah kissed Naomi and went back, but Ruth clave to her mother-in-law, and accompanied her to her new home in Bethlehem [Ruth 1:14-19].
When David was sent away from the court of Saul, Jonathan kissed David goodbye [1 Samuel 20:41]. When Elijah called Elisha into the prophetic ministry, Elisha said: "Let me first kiss my father and my mother goodbye" [1 Kings 19:20]. And this beautiful scene in the life of Paul, after he has spoken to the Ephesian elders who have met him on the seashore at Miletus [Acts 20:17-35], the twentieth chapter of Acts closes, "And when Paul had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all. And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul’s neck, and kissed him, sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more" [Acts 20:36-38].
And not only the kiss of farewell in life, but there was a kiss of farewell in death. In the forty-ninth chapter of Genesis, when Jacob, when Israel died, Israel charged his sons and said unto them: "I am to be gathered now to my people: bury me with my fathers in the grave that is in the field of Ephron, the Hittite . . . There they buried Abraham and Sarah; there, they buried Isaac and Rebekah; and there I buried Leah", "And when Jacob made an end of commanding his sons . . . he yielded up the spirit, and," the Bible, "he was gathered unto his people," he died [Genesis :29-33]. Now the next verse, "And Joseph fell upon his father’s face, and wept upon him, and kissed him" [Genesis 50:1], the kiss of a final farewell.
Then of course in the Bible there is the kiss of reverence, and of worship, and of gratitude to God. The second Psalm is a messianic psalm. It describes the glory of the coming of our Lord. And in that second Psalm, the singer speaks of those who are gathered against the Lord. But he admonishes us, "Kiss the Son . . . . Blessed are they that put their trust in Him" [Psalm 2:12]. And you have a poignantly beautiful example of that when our Lord was seated in the home of Simon the Pharisee. And as the custom was in that day, they leaned on the table at which they broke bread, and their feet were out in the aisle. And while the Lord was eating, there came a sinful woman, and she broke an alabaster box over the Lord, and anointed His feet, and wiped them with the hair of her head, and kissed His feet [Luke 7:36-38]; reverence and gratitude and worship of our dear Lord.
And thus it came to pass, that the admonition of our Savior, through our great apostle and author of most of the books of the New Testament, lies in that kind of a personal admonition. Paul will write in [chapter] 16 of Romans, verse 16, "Salute one another with a holy kiss" [Romans 16:16]; and he writes the same thing in 1 Corinthians 16:20; and the same admonition in 2 Corinthians 13:12; and the same admonition in 1 Thessalonians 5:26; and the same admonition is written by the apostle Peter in 1 Peter 5:14: "Greet one another, salute one another, with a holy kiss"; the kiss of love and charity and communion.
Thus it is that the Holy Scriptures, and the apostle Paul to the churches, admonishes us to be kind, and thoughtful, and gracious, and loving, and tender, and full of encouraging remembrance for each other. We belong to the body of Christ [1 Corinthians 12:27]. We are one in His precious name; and as such, we are to reflect ever the tender, compassionate and loving spirit of our wonderful Savior. That is the Christian life, and the Christian heart, and the Christian attitude.
I read of a woman, a godly Christian woman. She was standing with a throng, a crowd, before a heavy iron gate. Beyond was a police station and a police court and a temporary prison, and the crowd that was gathered there, some were standing out of curiosity, some had relatives on the inside; and among them, this godly woman. As they stood there, the great iron gates began to part, it began to open, and there was heard the heavy shuffling of feet. And above the din and the noise, the shrill scream of a woman. And soon there appeared, as the gate continued to open, a policemen on this side and a policemen on that side, holding a screaming woman who filled the air with her oaths and her curses. Her hair was dirty and unkempt and matted. She had a heavy bruise on her right temple, and her dress was dirty and torn. As they dragged that screaming, cursing woman through the gate, and in front of this godly Christian woman, she thought, "What could I do?" To sing a song would have been ridiculous. To pray, there was no time. To read a Scripture would have been no good. To give her money, she could not have received it. And suddenly, as though it were an inspiration from heaven, as though an angel of God suggested it; just suddenly she went forward and held the woman’s face in her hands, and kissed her face.
It may have been the startling astonishment of the officers that released their grasp, or it could have been a superhuman effort on the part of the prisoner, but she wrenched herself loose, and raised her hand to heaven and said, "O God, who kissed me? No one has kissed me like that since my mother, when I was a small child." She looked around and said, "Who kissed me?" And with many sobs, the officers took her to the van and to the penitentiary. In the days that followed, this godly woman went to the penitentiary and asked to see that inmate. The warden replied, "We think she has lost her mind, for she does nothing but ask, ‘Who kissed me?’ And when anyone of us walks into the cell, she asks, ‘Who kissed me’?" The warden said, "You are so welcome."
So they opened the door to the cell, and this godly woman entered in. And that prisoner said, "Do you know who kissed me?"
And the gracious Christian friend said, "Why do you ask?"
And the reply: the woman said, "When I was seven years of age, my widowed mother died in a dark basement, on the back side of an alley. Just as she died, she called me, and drew me to her side and said, ‘Oh, my poor little girl, what will become of you? May God take care of you.’ And she put her hands on my face and kissed me. No one ever kissed me like that, until that day, when they were taking me through the gate of that police station. And that somebody who kissed me, kissed me as my dear mother did when I was seven years old. Who kissed me?"
And the woman said, "It was I. It was I." And she spoke to her of the love of that Lord to whom her mother had commended the child years ago; brought her to a sweet, saving knowledge of the blessed Jesus, and the rest of the story, a model prisoner; clean, and pure, and forgiven. She led many, many, many of the other inmates in that woman’s prison to a saving knowledge of our Lord.
I do not deny that once in a while you will find somebody who has been won to Christ by the preacher’s sermon. But having been a pastor over half a century, I have learned through the years, practically all of us who have been won to the Lord, have been won through the sweet, tender kindness and remembrance of a godly mother, or a precious friend, or somebody who cared, was interested, was compassionate, who led us to the faith of our Savior. That is how we ought to be; always interested, compassionate. And if there is aught that we can do to help, that ought to be our commitment and our life as a Christian.
I think of you sweet people, homebound. We have a dear fellow minister in our church named Floyd Chapin, and every week, he goes out there to the Trew Home and spends the day with those sweet people, in the Trew Home. In how many ways do I see people in this church who are thoughtful, and kind, and prayerful, and gracious, and compassionate. That’s what it is to be like Jesus.
And when Jesus saw the people, He had compassion upon them [Matthew 9:36]. He was moved with compassion [Mark 6:34]. I think Jesus, moved with compassion, is His enduring name [Mark 1:4]. And when we are most like Him, we are most like that; thoughtful, and prayerful, and interested. And if there is a burden that we can share, if there is a prayer that we can pray, if there is something by which we can help, may God use us to be that blessing to you. And out of all of the things that any one of us might be able to do, the most beautiful and beloved of all would be this: that we bring you in faith, in love, in trust, to our living Lord.
Oh, that it might be this morning; the family you, or just a couple you, or just one somebody you, open his heart to the tender, loving grace of our dear Savior. And that today, you might answer His call with your life. Now, may we stand for the prayer?
Our Lord, who looks down upon us from heaven, if there have ever been times when we have been calloused, or hardened, or unsympathetic, or unthoughtful, may the Lord forgive us and help us to be more like Thee. O Lord, nobody ever asked of Thee and You turned them away; always touched with the feeling of our infirmities [Hebrews 4:15], and Your heart hasn’t changed even though You are in heaven, the Lord of the universe; still Thine arms extended wide in welcome to us, our Friend and our Savior. And our Lord, we pray that this holy and beautiful and precious moment would be a time when many would come to Thee, and to us.
And while our people pray, and while we wait before God, out of that balcony, you; in the press of people on this lower floor, you; down a stairway, down an aisle, "God has spoken to me, pastor, and today I am responding. I am answering with my life." Bring the family, or just you. So Lord, sanctify and hallow, as only God could do, the appeal of this morning hour, in Thy saving and forgiving and keeping name, amen.
Now as our men stand here in welcome, and as our people pray and wait, and as we sing this hymn of appeal, "Just A Closer Walk With Thee," out of the balcony, down one of these aisles, make that decision for the Lord, and welcome, thrice welcome, while we pray and while we sing.
WHO KISSED ME?
Dr. W. A. Criswell
I. Kiss – poetic image in the Old Testament
II. Twofold meaning
1. Tender caress with the lips
2. Deception, hypocrisy, feigning a false love
III. True, beautiful and tender love
1. Personal affection
2. Family love
3. Faithful friendship
4. Farewell in life
5. Farewell in death
IV. Sign of sweet, religious devotion to the Lord
2. Sacred family
3. Show of kindness and affection