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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Luke 9:51 – “When the days drew near for Him to be taken up, He set His face to go to Jerusalem.”


Determination.  Just the mention of the word makes us grit our teeth and think about accomplishing something great, or about resolutely getting through something difficult.  We love a story of determination.  Stories of determination sell tickets at the movie theater, those stories make good books, and those stories get advertisers for television shows.  We love stories of determination.  In fact we can probably all recall fondly times in our lives when we were determined to do something and we accomplished it.  We may even tell these stories from time to time, we want people to know about them.  We like for our accomplishments to be applauded. 

Jesus Himself was determined.  In fact the Bible says that when His time drew close He set His face to go to Jerusalem.  We don’t even need to have someone explain to us what that means, He set His face, He was determined.  He gritted His teeth and said I am going to the cross.  That same determination just a few weeks later led Him to say, “It is finished.”  He was determined to do the work of God and on the cross that work pertaining to salvation was finished.  It was completed, Jesus was determined to make it so.

We can learn a lot from His determination can’t we?  Even when His friends tried to talk Him out of it, He was determined.  Peter tried to rebuke Him and tell Him no, He wasn’t going to the cross, but Jesus was determined.

He was determined even in the Garden when He was under so much anguish that He sweated drops of blood.  He could have just ran away and hid, remember He walked through the midst of the crowd one time and no one stopped Him. He could have hidden, but He didn’t.  He was determined to go to the cross.

He was determined even when He was arrested and made to stand trial.  It was an illegal trial, one that should have been stopped.  Even if someone would have suggested stopping it, Jesus wouldn’t have.  Why? Because He was determined to go to the cross.

He was determined even when the soldiers mocked Him and beat Him.  He was determined even when the torture got so bad that “His appearance was marred beyond that of a man” (Isaiah 53).  He could have stopped it, but He was determined to go to the cross.

Even as He hung on the cross, with a crown of thorns on His head, and nails through His hands and feet, He was determined.  Even when they ran a sword through His side, He was determined.  Even when He had to struggle for each breath and was in essence drowning in His own blood, He was determined.  He had set His face, we see that on the cross.

We can learn a lot from His determination can’t we? To follow God no matter what.  To do God’s work no matter what our friends say. To do God’s work when life doesn’t seem fair.  To do God’s work when we are mocked.  To do God’s work and follow Him, even when it hurts.  Jesus had set His face to do, He was determined, and we can learn a lot from His determination.  It should inspire us in our walk with the Father.

We too should be determined but even more than that, it should assure us when we fail.  It should let us know how loved we are.  Jesus didn’t set His face to go to the cross to inspire us to be better people.  He was determined to go to the cross and endure the horror and the torture because He loved us that much.  He was determined because He wanted us to be saved. 

He set His face, not as an example, even though He certainly is.  He set His face to go the cross so that we could have our sins forgiven, so that we could have the hope of heaven, and so that we can have peace with God.  He set His face to endure the pain for us because He loved us that much.   Let that truth sink in, today, for the glory of God.