Luke 9 v 51. As the time approached for him to be taken up to Heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.
When it first appeared in 1987, the little book “According to Luke” written by David Gooding was subtitled “A new exposition of the Third Gospel.” It might have been new then but it isn’t now. Nevertheless it remains my main source of guidance amongst others for these daily thoughts and I highly recommend it.
At this point in Luke’s Gospel we reach a turning point. Up to now the Gospel has emphasised the arrival of our Lord into the world with the many things he said and did. From now on we follow him as he goes to Jerusalem and there his ultimate destiny.
Notice how verse 51 begins: “As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven…” Jesus was working to a time table. God’s eternal plan for the salvation of the world was being unfolded. The time was now approaching for him to return to his father. Yes, very true! But before he goes back to his father there are certain things that must happen in between. He must suffer rejection by the nation’s leaders, he must be tried, found guilty, crucified, and he must of course rise again. And so he sets his face “resolutely” for Jerusalem.
His journey comes to an end at Calvary but in the great city, all the preliminaries take place.
“Resolutely” refers to his absolute commitment to his father’s will. His total obedience to God’s will means that he will not hesitate to lay down his life for the salvation for the world. Isaiah 50 refers prophetically to this great Servant who was to come to rescue his people. In verses 6 – 7 we read this.
I offered my back to those who beat me,
My cheeks to those who pulled out my beard
I did not hide my face from mockery and spitting
Because the Sovereign Lord helps me,
I will not be disgraced
Therefore have I SET MY FACE LIKE FLINT
And I know I will not be put to shame.
Is a Saviour like this not worth believing in? We worship and adore him.