The Road to Jerusalem
As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. Luke 9:51
The road leading to Jerusalem was always an uphill climb. For fourteen miles, travelers would wind their way in a steep ascent from Jericho’s plateau to Jerusalem’s summit. As Jesus pressed toward the goal of the cross, He would make the treacherous trek through the same Judean wilderness where the devil had taunted Him with temptations at the beginning of His mission. The canyon climb to Calvary must have echoed with the memories of all the ways Satan hissed an easier path for our Savior. But Jesus was on the march as attested to by the gospel accounts.
Powerful, surprising words describe his demeanor as Christ traversed those final miles. Luke says that He was resolute (literally meaning He “set His face”) to go to Jerusalem. This verse is actually a reference to Isaiah 50:4-9, which prophesied that Jesus would “set [His] face like flint” as He advanced toward the cross. He was so determined, in fact, that Luke tells us Jesus marched out in front ahead of all the disciples, as if rushing toward the purpose and prize of His upward calling (Luke 19:28). Mark describes this final leg of Jesus’ journey as so focused that the crowds were amazed and those who followed Him were even fearful (Mark 10:32).
The sheer determination of our Savior as He passionately pressed forward speaks volumes about the compassion and courage of the Lamb of God. Do we show that kind of resolve when faced with the daily trek of taking up our cross and following Jesus? Do we sprint toward the cross to exchange our sinful ways for the covering of His grace? Do we lunge toward the Godly goal of becoming conformed to His image even in moments of temptation and suffering?
At some point the disciples’ fear turned to faithful courage for each one ended his life as a martyr for Christ. Paul also demonstrated a life wholly given to His victorious Lord when in the face of persecution and death, he declared, “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace” (Acts 20:24). May each of us remember how Christ ran the final miles of His race so that we can surge forward in our course with determined focus and resolve.
Today’s Prayer: Father, help me to remember and comprehend Your resolve as You relentlessly surged forward all the way through the streets of Jerusalem to the place of Your execution. You did this for me, for Your creation that You love beyond measure. Give me the heart to set my face and run my race with the passion, courage and strength of the Lord Jesus. In Jesus’ name, Amen.