Monday, May 14, 2007

He Set His Face to Go to Jerusalem

Staying the course is not always easy.

The Gospel writer describes the resoluteness of Jesus as he set out for Jerusalem, despite knowing the tragedy that would occur there. In Luke 9.51, the description is given, “When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.” A rather matter-of-fact statement. A statement that subtly underscores the determination with which Christ set out on the path that would lead to his death.

The statement should remind one of the words Isaiah spoke about the one called the “Lord’s Servant.” This servant is the Messiah, the one God would send as deliverer and redeemer.

The Lord’s Servant speaks of the difficult and trying times he would face, of the opposition that would be pitted against him, and he concludes in Isaiah 50.7, “The Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame; he who vindicates me is near.”

The Lord’s Servant affirms that God will be with him during his time of trial and that he will overcome, with God’s help, the opposition he will face. The Servant is able to declare, “I have set my face like flint,” a statement declaring his resolve to be faithful to the task given him by God.

Jesus, writes Luke, “set his face to go to Jerusalem.” He would go to the place of the cross with the same spirit of resolve exhibited by God’s Servant.

Do we share in Jesus’ resolve as we follow in his steps and obey the will of our Father? So many distractions vie for our gaze; it is so difficult, at times, to concentrate on the task at hand . . . faithful service to God.

Let us refocus and become more resolute as we follow the steps of our Savior and Lord. Our God will surely provide us with the strength we need.