Palm Sunday is coming. In Israel many are preparing to celebrate Passover. Jews from all over the world will make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
At this point it was the week before Passover and the week before Jesus would be on the cross. He had been traveling to all parts of Israel and beyond teaching and preaching the kingdom of God. In three years he covered it all. Now the feast time was coming and as he had always done he was going to Jerusalem. He set his face like a flint to go. In Isaiah 50 we read how Jesus felt concerning his upcoming sufferings.
Isaiah 50: 5 The Lord God hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back.6 I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.7 For the Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.
Luke 9: 51 And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,52 And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him.53 And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.54 And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?55 But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.56 For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.
When we compare these two portions of scripture we see the mind of the Lord. This was shared with Isaiah 600 years before Jesus was incarnated in the womb of Mary. He would go all the way, not just to the cross but in the giving of his life for our sins. Being God he had never died, but it took the death of one who had everlasting life. Our sins were sending us to a second death, and Jesus agreed to die in our place. Peter and other disciples said they’d go all the way but didn’t. When I think how far I’ve gone I am ashamed. I can go further for the Lord.
Jesus set his face toward Jerusalem and couldn’t be talked out of it. Along the way he blessed the people. He healed the sick and delivered souls from possession of the devil. I’m thankful for a Savior whose mind was made up. He went through Samaria and would have helped them. He couldn’t stay, and they didn’t like it. The disciples wanted to call fire down to destroy them. Jesus told them they didn’t know what they were talking about.
One of the devil’s best tools is distraction. He wants to get our minds off serving the Lord. He uses temptation, greed, and worldliness. Often he doesn’t use big things, just little distractions to occupy our mind. The devil tested Jesus’ resolve to go to Jerusalem. Many tried various things with Jesus, and they were all distractions. The devil will throw anything and everything in our way. Jesus was steadfastly minded to set his face toward Jerusalem. He didn’t let the disciples, circumstances, his own body, or anything else stop him. No matter how the High Priest, Pilate, or the crowd treated him Jesus didn’t look down and say “away with you.” They kept saying “away with him.” How many of us would have said “okay, if that’s what you want, I’ll go away.” Jesus didn’t go away. He stayed focused for us.
We’ve got to follow the Lord in a flint direction, straight and hard. A flint is not weird shaped. It is pointed and sharp. That’s the kind of Christian it will take. Be resolved to make it. The closer Jesus got to Jerusalem the sharper and more focused he became.
We can celebrate Easter because of the determination of Jesus. In our walk of life, let’s direct ourselves and set our face like a flint. How set is your face toward following the Lord?