It seems incredible to think that someone who lived with Jesus for three years, who heard Him teach and witnessed His miracles, could turn against Him. Yet in one sense Judas is not so uncommon, because God performs continual miracles before all of us every day, and He constantly speaks to us through our conscience, but most, like Judas, prefer 30 pieces of silver over a relationship with Him. I wonder if Judas witnessed so many miracles that they became to him as commonplace as the daily miracles that we ignore.
It also seems incredible that when Jesus announced to the twelve that one of them would betray Him, none of the disciples suspected Judas. Rather, each was concerned that the betrayer might be himself! Judas must have been an incredible actor, the ultimate wolf in sheep’s clothing. On a side note, I can assure you that if you serve Jesus you will share in His sufferings, which means you, too, may well feel the kiss of a “Judas” sooner of later.
In a sense, the other eleven also betrayed Jesus, but to a lesser degree than Judas, as they all abandoned Him during His arrest, even after previously claiming that they would all stand with Him to the death (14:31). How easy it is to declare our loyalty! The test comes when we are tempted, and the truth is revealed by our actions. At least Peter, who seemed the most boastful about his loyalty, stayed in the proximity of Christ during His trials. Yet fearing for his own life, he denied any association with Jesus three times, and turned to cursing and swearing to convince his questioners. How incredible it is that he would be the primary leader of the early church just a few months later! Amazing grace!
Although it is appropriate to follow Jesus’ example in the Garden of Gethsemane by ending some prayers with the words, “If it be Thy will,” it is not appropriate to end all prayers that way, particularly when God has clearly revealed His will. For example, it wouldn’t be appropriate to end a prayer to receive salvation and forgiveness with the words, “If it be Thy will,” because God has made His will quite clear in that regard. To end a salvation prayer with the words, “If it be Thy will,” would be the equivalent of saying to God, “I know that You said that it is Your will to forgive my sins, but just in case You lied about it, I only want You to forgive my sins if it is really Your will.” That would be insulting to God, wouldn’t it?
When God has not revealed His will, then it is appropriate to end one’s prayer with the words, “If it be Thy will.” A prayer of consecration often ends that way. We might say, “Lord, if it be Thy will, I will become a missionary to Africa.” Such a prayer, like Jesus’ Gethsemane prayer, can be prayed repeatedly. To repeatedly ask God to forgive the same sin, however, is inappropriate, as it reveals a lack of faith that God forgave the sin the first time forgiveness was requested.
Incidentally, in Jesus’ Gethsamane prayer, not only was He not praying a prayer based on God’s revealed will, He was praying a prayer that was against God’s will! He knew it was His Father’s will that He go to the cross. So He submitted. Had He not, there would be no gospel.
The high priest was undoubtedly relieved that there could be an end to the inconsistent testimonies once Jesus declared who He was at His mock trial. Also undoubtedly relieved were the esteemed members of the Sanhedrin who poured out their contempt for Him with their spittle and fists. Amazingly, had you asked any one of them, they would have told you that they loved God! I submit that there are many today just like them, who claim to love Jesus Himself, but they actually love American Jesus and hate Bible Jesus. For evidence, we need look no further than how they despise any minister who actually teaches what Jesus taught.