Greet One Another

With a holy what?

You want me to what? Kiss that guy? You’ve got to be kidding me! Why would I kiss anyone?

And you think that’s holy?

Holy miss is what I say! I’m going to suggest the good ol’ Jon Acuff side hug … because I don’t want to be seen as fondling or groping or doing anything inappropriate with another Christian. 

Knowing this is probably my flesh telling me these things, I had to get into a little research on the “holy kiss.” I came up with some interesting thoughts … The traditional “holy kiss” is administered by clergy after communion and such. The meaning of it was “Peace.”

Hmmm… ever had a side hug? Those are not peaceful. Those are uptight for sure.

Mediterranean Context

I’ve always wanted to live in a culture that allowed for cheek kissing. I’m not sure why. I like the idea of being in an intimate culture. It’s just an idea, I know. We all have our hang ups.

American’s have the bro-hug. You know, the one where two dudes approach with a handshake, holding each other’s hand in-between their bodies while they throw the other arm around the other’s back and pound each other’s lats with a closed fist. Yeah. That’s weird. But it’s American culture now. And it has crept into the Body.

In the day of Christ, what was this Holy Kiss they spoke of?

The word we have translated as “kiss” was only used in the New Testament 7 times. 4 of which were from Paul writing letters to the Romans, the Corinthians twice and the Thessalonians. Peter used it once in his first letter. All five of these times the writers were encouraging the brethren to welcome each other with a “philemati” that is either holy or agape.

Luke also used the word as he quoted Jesus. The first time was in Luke 7. Some Pharisees had invited over Jesus for dinner. They were reclining at the dinner table and a woman walks in and begins to weep onto Jesus’ feet her tears. She anoints His feet with perfume and wipes His feet with her hair and kisses His feet.

That’s crazy!

However, that’s not the same kissing that is used in the other places. The kissing this woman was giving was over and over again, earnest kissing.

The philemati word was used after the Pharisee was judging the actions of this woman and the perception of Jesus. Here is how:

Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon (the Pharisee), “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume. For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” (Luke 7:44-47 NASB)

The Pharisees were not “greeting Christ with a Holy Kiss.”

Later in Luke, when Judas betrays Jesus, Jesus says, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” (Luke 22:48 NASB)

Jesus was calling out Judas for the way he presented himself falsely, as one who would be giving a “Holy Kiss.”

Quick Breakdown

This holy kiss is something that I was drawn to discovering, so here is what I found.

Holy – hagios: reverend; honor; adore; worthy of veneration; hold in deep respect; an expression of awe and respect; most holy thing; saint

Kiss – philema: approve of; sanction; befriend; fraternal affection

Greet Greatly

I don’t believe it is necessarily a kiss that is holy. But I do believe it is this:

When you see your family, when you see your brethren, greet them as they are, in Christ. Our brothers and sisters, we are able to meet in another realm. We are the brethren of Christ, the Family of God.

This greeting is based off of an identity that is outside of time and space.

This greeting has eternal implications.

Perhaps you have heard, “Peace be with you … and also with you.” I must say that this particular greeting is quite shallow when you begin to take the eternal picture in view. This hagios philema is not merely a hello, or a hug, or a kiss.

This greeting in the New Testament is transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is not a bro hug. It is not a hand shake. It is not a kiss on the cheek, or both cheeks.

This greeting is an affection given by family that see each other as part of the Body of Christ. This greeting is welcoming and reverent and respectful. Because we know our brothers’ and our sisters’ identity. They are in Christ and they have been given a portion of Christ and we are expressing Christ together.

Therefore, my brothers and sisters …

May we greet one another with approval and fraternal affection that provides respect and honor and adoration and an expression of awe, knowing that your Divine Sibling is part of the Reality of Christ and the Family of God.



  1. Kevin · August 16, 2012

    Hey brother get ready for european kisses here 😉 but be assure that we will don’t “french kiss” you ahah

    • marklchampion · August 22, 2012

      Haha. We are ready! Only a few more days. Looking forward to greeting you, brother!

  2. Trevor Honeycutt · August 16, 2012

    “May we greet one another with approval and fraternal affection that provides respect and honor and adoration and an expression of awe, knowing that your Divine Sibling is part of the Reality of Christ and the Family of God.” >>> This is so good!

    I have to admit that I’ve been an advocate of the male/female side-hug (especially for teenagers), that I’ve participated in 1,000’s of bro-hugs (but never really liked them), and my reaction to your actually kissing me on the cheek would be to knee you in the jimmy. But be patient with me…I’m still growing. 🙂

    • marklchampion · August 22, 2012

      Hahaha! Hilarious, Trevor. Thanks for sharing your reality! Glad we are growing together.

  3. Jose Luis · August 16, 2012

    Very interesting subject worth of lots of contemplation and consideration.

  4. kaleymayer · August 17, 2012

    Wonderful, Mark! Thank you for sharing! You are such a blessing and your blog blesses me often with Christ.

    In my opinion this might be the greatest way in which we encourage the other saints, to show them by our words and actions how we appreciate and value them as portions of Christ. I have been disliked, ostracized much in my life because of my passion to live in Christ. I cannot express the peace, joy, hope, encouragement it brought to me when the saints in Gainesville and you guys have welcomed me as a valuable portion of Christ. There are not words to express how encouraging it is to me or how much it grows Christ in me.

    Can’t wait to see you guys next week for one of those “kisses.” Hehe.

    • marklchampion · August 22, 2012

      Kaley, thanks for reading! You are a wonderful portion of Christ. Looking forward to sharing Him with you and Stephen in a couple days! Looking forward to the greeting as well. Travel safe!

  5. Andy Hollinger · September 23, 2012

    Take care,Kaley, that brother Mark does not kiss you. Haha! BTW great post Mark! We actually practiced in a literal interpretation of this “holy kiss” where Malaina & I were before we came to Nashville. Grew up with it & never really knew anything different. What death to the flesh we have known on this issue! jk Very interesting to see what the Lord has shown you with this. Keep writing bro! I shall kiss you tonight!!

    • marklchampion · September 26, 2012

      Thanks for the kiss, Andy!

    • kaleymayer · September 26, 2012

      Bahahahaha! God might have to stretch me if kisses on the cheeks get involved! Haha! Can’t wait to see you all in a few days.

  6. Pingback: Essence « marklchampion

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