Today’s devotion is an excerpt from a Bible Study Series taught at Fellowship Baptist Church, titled “Biblical Building Blocks for Strengthening Relationships.”
Biblical Building Block #10 Greet One Another (II Corinthians 13:12)
II Corinthians 13:12, Greet one another with a holy kiss.
The Holy kiss is often called the token of brotherhood in the early church. Kisses of greeting and farewell were exchanged between friends and family members (Acts 20:37). Acts 20:37, And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul’s neck, and kissed him. This was a holy kiss; it was not the intimate caress that we think of today. It was nothing that was sensual or impure. This would contradict the teaching of Scripture. In those days men kissed men and women kissed women. There was no exchange between the opposite sexes.
A holy kiss was an eastern practice within Jewish synagogues where greetings were exchanged by kissing another on the cheek. A kiss was never given on the mouth but on the cheek, forehead, or especially, on the hand. This practice was evidence of their affection and concern for one another. The kiss was more of a social custom; not to institute an ordinance within the church; however, it soon developed into a ritual. It gradually became a part of the church's tradition, losing its true meaning, and eventually faded from the church altogether. Some countries still practice this greeting by kissing one on both cheeks. This practice in the early church continues to this day in the eastern world, it has been largely dropped in the western world. It is more cultural than spiritual. Forty-two times in the New Testament the word “greet” or “salute” is used. Both words mean to embrace in the arms or to welcome. It was both a friendly sign of greeting and a token of farewell. It’s so obvious that Paul loves these believers deeply—he loves them like Christ Himself. No wonder Paul challenged the church to, "Greet one another with an holy kiss."
Within the early church a kiss was given as a sign of the bond they shared in Christ. In Paul's day, a kiss on a person's cheek was a common form of greeting, a gesture of love, friendship, and friendship. The kiss was an expression of love, fellowship, and affection among family members. Both the kiss and handshake symbolize forgiveness, reconciliation, and unity. In our present day, it has been replaced for the most part by shaking hands. A holy kiss represents something more than a social custom. It is a sign of mutual fellowship among persons joined together as a new family in Christ”. If they practiced love and sought to be of one mind, the discord would cease, and they would enjoy peace in their fellowship. "Behold how they love one another!" was what the lost world said about the early church. May that be said of our church. Can the outside world tell that from the way we live and the way we conduct the business of the church? God wants us to be friendly to the brethren (Philippians 4:21). Philippians 4:21, Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you. In a world where people will not even say “hello” to a stranger, God’s people should set the example. We should greet people with a “hello”, smile, handshake. "Like our handclasp today, the kiss was a sign symbolizing the healing of old divisions."
Different clasps to a handshake. Some grips are stronger than others. Some handshakes they clasp much longer. While shaking hands, some my look eye to eye and express greeting. Some clasp with one hand; while embracing one another with the other arm. One of the greatest acts a man can do for his Heavenly Father is to be kind to His children. When you demonstrate love and kindness to others, you demonstrate the love of Christ. Your compassion and care can melt a hard heart and encourage a discouraged soul. If Jesus could be a “friend of publicans and sinners” (Matthew 11:19), surely we can be friendly to brothers and sisters in Christ. It is by our love that we send the loudest message that Christ lives within us. John 13:35, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” When the purpose of your life is to care for and love others, it will turn your life around for sure.
Question to Consider:
Do you know someone today that could use some encouragement and kindness?
Point to Ponder:
Give them a call or a visit.
Prayer: Father in Heaven, may You continue to use me to greet and receive others the way You would greet and receive others. In Jesus Name, Amen!
Thank you for reading Biblical Building Block #10 of this series. Please visit this website tomorrow for Biblical Building Block #11 of this series.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship with Christ.