He Set His Face to Jerusalem

WHEN THE DAYS DREW NEAR FOR HIM TO BE TAKEN UP, HE SET HIS FACE TO GO TO JERUSALEM.
LUKE 9:51

In Luke chapter 9, Jesus is traveling south with the disciples after finishing his Galilean ministry. He had preached in many synagogues, taught in many towns, and performed many miracles. He had spent very day of the last year and half to two years with his twelve disciples. His words and teachings would become the doctrinal foundation of Christianity. He is now in the last six months of his life. The time has come for him to journey back to Jerusalem to be crucified, and so “he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem.” The Latin Vulgate says he “strengthened his face.” This denotes courage, boldness, and firmness of mind.

We often minimize the fact that Jesus was wholly human as well as wholly God. We think that He was probably not as troubled by sin, temptation, and selfishness as we are, and living in this world was easier for him. But Jesus was as human as we are and he had to choose to obey his Father just as we do. He made the choice to go to Jerusalem with full knowledge of what awaited him there. It was not an easy choice. It was hard. He knew what going to Jerusalem meant. He predicts in Luke 18:32, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written of the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. For he will be delivered to the Gentiles, and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon; they will scourge him and kill him…” When Jesus set his face to go to Jerusalem, he set his face to die.

He willingly chose to go to the cross for us—to take upon himself our sins, our shame. He states in John 10:18, “No one takes my life from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.”He knew God’s purpose for his life and he was committed to carrying it out at all costs. His disciples were still ignorant and unaware of Jesus’ true purpose. While traveling to Jerusalem, Jesus and his disciples took the shortest route, through Samaria, even though the Samaritans and the Jews despised one another.

They had journeyed through Samaria before. John chapter 4 tells of Christ’s meeting with the Samaritan woman. The woman became a believer as a result of her encounter with Christ. However this time, Jesus and the disciples did not get a warm reception. “But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:53) Public opinion of Christ was already changing. His rejection by the people had begun. His disciples, James and John, wanted to destroy Samaria because of their rejection. The “sons of thunder” lived up to their reputation.

“And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?” But He turned and rebuked them, and said, ‘You do not know what manner of spirit you are of.’ For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.. And they went to another village.” Luke 9:53-56

Jesus’ message to his disciples and to us in this passage is clear. You too will be rejected by men. To be a true disciple of Jesus is to be an imitator of Him. He calls us to follow him down Calvary Road to Golgotha. We must crucify ourselves, our selfish nature, and our wishes for a comfortable life. We must allow the light of God’s Word to penetrate the darkest parts of our sinful hearts. We must be ready to give up our desires and wishes to serve God and one another. This is true discipleship ——to be ready and willing to “set our face to Jerusalem.”

For The Joy that Was Set Before Him

“Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”      Hebrews 12:1:2.

The writer of Hebrews tells us that Christ endured the cross and the shame for the “joy that was set before him.” He knew what God’s plan was for his life. He knew that he would have to endure the suffering and shame of the cross. Yet he chose to follow God’s plan. Because of his trust and    obedience to His heavenly Father, Christ was able to go to the cross. But he also did for the joy which would be his. He suffered for the joy of being seated at the right hand of the Father, and he suffered for the greatest joy of all —- saving you and I.

He suffered for the joy of imparting His righteousness to you and I; for giving us a mansion in heaven, or as C. H. Spurgeon says, “ for the joy of finding mansions in heaven for homeless souls.”

If Christ can endure the shame, suffering, and agony of the cross for our homeless souls, shouldn’t we be able to endure suffering for His sake?

Yet send even a little suffering our way and God will find us crying out for relief. He will find us praying, “It is too much, Lord!” or “It is not fair, God!” Our suffering in this world pales in comparison to him who was “tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.”

This Easter season, take a fresh look at the cross. Stand there at the feet of your suffering Savior and worship Him anew. Marvel at His great love for you.

Do not turn away from His suffering, for it is that suffering that you were healed. Worship Jesus Christ, your Savior and pray as William Gadsby did,

Now, for the love I bear His Name,

What was my gain I count my loss;

My former pride I call my shame,

And nail my glory to His cross.

Grant, O Lord, that in your wounds I may find my safety, in your stripes my cure, in your pain my peace, in your cross my victory, in your resurrection my triumph, and a crown of righteousness in the glories of your eternal kingdom.

Jeremy Taylor, in The Westminster Collection of Christian Prayers, compiled by Dorothy M. Stewart

For The Joy That Was set Before Him

“Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”      Hebrews 12:1:2.

The writer of Hebrews tells us that Christ endured the cross and the shame for the “joy that was set before him.” He knew what God’s plan was for his life. He knew that he would have to endure the suffering and shame of the cross. Yet he chose to follow God’s plan. Because of his trust and    obedience to His heavenly Father, Christ was able to go to the cross. But he also did for the joy which would be his. He suffered for the joy of being seated at the right hand of the Father, and he suffered for the greatest joy of all —- saving you and I.

He suffered for the joy of imparting His righteousness to you and I; for giving us a mansion in heaven, or as C. H. Spurgeon says, “ for the joy of finding mansions in heaven for homeless souls.”

If Christ can endure the shame, suffering, and agony of the cross for our homeless souls, shouldn’t we be able to endure suffering for His sake?

Yet send even a little suffering our way and God will find us crying out for relief. He will find us praying, “It is too much, Lord!” or “It is not fair, God!” Our suffering in this world pales in comparison to him who was “tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.”

This Easter season, take a fresh look at the cross. Stand there at the feet of your suffering Savior and worship Him anew. Marvel at His great love for you.

Do not turn away from His suffering, for it is that suffering that you were healed. Worship Jesus Christ, your Savior and pray as William Gadsby did,

Now, for the love I bear His Name,

What was my gain I count my loss;

My former pride I call my shame,

And nail my glory to His cross.

Grant, O Lord, that in your wounds I may find my safety, in your stripes my cure, in your pain my peace, in your cross my victory, in your resurrection my triumph, and a crown of righteousness in the glories of your eternal kingdom.

Jeremy Taylor, in The Westminster Collection of Christian Prayers, compiled by Dorothy M. Stewart

The Strangest Story of All

C. S. Lewis calls the Resurrection of Christ “The strangest story of all.” To Jesus’ followers it was the strangest story. Even though Jesus had told them he would rise on the third day, the disciples did not believe it. Mary Magdalene and the disciples at Emmaus testified to seeing the risen Christ and still the disciples did not believe. When Jesus finally appears to the 11 in the Upper Room, Mark says He rebukes them for their unbelief and hardness of heart.

Not much has changed in 2000 years. It is still difficult for people to believe that a man could rise from the dead. Many believe that Jesus was a good man, a moral teacher, someone who left us a good example to follow. But believing in Him as God, in the flesh, who conquered death it too difficult a leap.

One can certainly see this attitude in how the world celebrates Easter. Christmas is still somewhat about a baby’s birth, but Easter is now about bunnies and eggs. We celebrate the “Christmas season” but barely give Easter one day. Yet it is Easter- the Crucifixion and the Resurrection-that sets Christianity apart.

The Resurrection changed everything-past, present, and future. Death has been robbed of its stronghold on us. Jesus walked into the jaws of that final, fierce enemy and conquered it. The resurrection proves that Jesus was who he said he was. We can live today in the joy and power of a living Savior. It is because of the Resurrection that we have hope and the promise of heaven. Death is no longer something to fear. We know that our bodies will be raised like Jesus’ was raised. We may close our eyes to life here but we open them to life forever. The Resurrection propels us into a life of courage and assurance.

What great assurance it is to know that we need not fear death for our loved ones who know Christ or fear death for ourselves. The Resurrection has left us with the sweet scent of heaven and the promise of a grand reunion with Christ and our loved ones.

There is a country song titled “Live Like You Are Dying”, which speaks of living for today. As Christians we should live not like we are dying but fearless and free because of the power of the Resurrection.

“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” Hosea 13:14

“It strengthens our faith to revisit the Resurrection of Christ. We follow him not only because of his sinless life, matchless teaching and atoning death. We also follow him because he is the only religious leader in history with an empty grave. Little did Joseph of Arimathea know that the Lord was only going to borrow his tomb for three days. Someone ought to write on the grave of every Christian, “Borrowed only until He comes.” God has promised to do for us what he did for Jesus, and he expects us to live like it.” Wayne E. Shaw