Grace and Peace, friends.
“…when the time was come that he should be received up, (Jesus) stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem” Luke 9:51 (King James Version)
I love the phrasing of the King James version on this text. Jesus “set his face to go to Jerusalem”.
He had made a decision.
He was determined.
He was not going to turn back.
He knew that it was a path of suffering, pain and death. (He had just told his disciples for the first time in 9:22 that he would suffer many things, be rejected and killed…)
But he also knew that it was the way to Life…”and on the third day be raised up.”
Lent is known as a season of denial. A time of 40 days where we give up something so that we can somehow experience the suffering of Jesus.
I would point out, though, that the suffering of Jesus totally changed His Life and our lives…our discipline of “giving up” should accomplish the same…but usually it doesn’t.
Over the years I have given up ice cream, coffee, television, desserts, and other things. None of that changed my life. I still have a bowl of ice cream regularly, drink a pot of coffee a day, watch too much tv and can hardly ever resist a dessert put before me. I was going to give up my computer for Lent but knew I couldn’t do it because it is such a tool in my work.
For me, today, the question is “What can I set my face toward that will change my life?” The only answer is Jesus. To continually pursue Him and His character and His call and His teaching and His Spirit to be living and dwelling in me that I somehow might be Jesus for the people around me and the world. And I think that is His call on everyone who would follow Him. Sometimes it results in ridicule and mockery and suffering and pain…and often it brings joy and grace and peace.
Another New Testament author put it this way: “…And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith…” (Hebrews 12:2)
Jesus set his face toward Jerusalem. And we fix our eyes on Jesus. My prayer for you today is that you will decide not so much to give something up that you will take on again after Easter, but that you will decide to follow Jesus now, the next 40 days and the rest of your life. That will change your world, and the world.
God bless you on the journey!