Set Your Face
“Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51, NKJV). To say that Jesus “set His face” to go to Jerusalem means simply that He resolved to go there; yet it was a resolve so solemn, so strong, so sure, that “you could see it in His face,” as we say.
Jesus’ crucifixion was still several months away. But His expansive work in Galilee was finished, and it was now time to turn to the most challenging phase of His ministry: the final showdown with Jewish leaders, culminating in His crucifixion.
Surely we understand the importance of resolve.
Saving for retirement takes resolve. In order to have that “nest egg,” we must commit to both putting money away on a regular basis and then not dipping into it for other things. Anyone can start a savings plan. To keep it up year after year, resisting the urge to treat yourself instead—that takes determination.
Losing weight takes resolve. Other factors are certainly involved, yet most “diets” fail in the long term because of lack of continued resolve. Losing a few pounds is one thing; keeping them off on an ongoing basis usually means adopting a whole different outlook toward eating. It takes strong determination to keep making the right choices over the long haul.
Training for athletics, learning to play an instrument, mastering a craft, getting a degree, starting a business . . . there are so many examples of the importance of determination.
Going to Jerusalem—in our case “the heavenly Jerusalem”—also takes resolve. And that explains why many will not get there. Years ago, then Texas senator Phil Gramm said of congress’s economic struggles, “Balancing the budget is like going to heaven; everyone is in favor of it, but not many are willing to do what it takes to get there.” Amen!
It takes humility to yield to the Lord and His way. Then it takes focus to stay on course and not be distracted by the world’s glitter. It takes dedication to keep going amidst life’s ups and downs. It takes determination to keep saying no to temptation; after all, Satan is a master at making it appealing. It takes courage to withstand the opposition of those who choose other roads, opposition that may even come from our own families.
Jesus understood very well what it takes. He said, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (Luke 9:23); otherwise, He noted, “he cannot by My disciple” (14:26, 27, 33). Set your face!