Now as the time was coming to a head when He should be taken up to heaven, He firmly set His face to continue His journey to Jerusalem. – Luke 9:51
This verse begins the last 6 months of Jesus ministry before He died on the cross for us. From here through chapter 21 the emphasis shifts from miracles to parables, from deeds to words. Everything about His life is centered on His goal of dying on the cross and training His disciples to carry on His ministry after He ascends back to the Father. The Son of God is crossing a bridge to Calvary and there is no turning back. In this short verse I see some truths that you and I need to get a hold of.
1. We need to know our goal [to Jerusalem]
Jesus wasn’t a drifter, a vagrant, or a wanderer. He was a man with the plan. He was going to Jerusalem. He had been there before and those seeking His life had tried to catch Him. Jerusalem was where He would die a cruel death. What is your goal? Our church has adopted as its goal – “Expanding God’s territory in our hearts, homes, church, community and world”. Wouldn’t that be a great goal for your life? Your Jerusalem would be your own life, your family, your church, your neighborhood, and the whole world. I’m praying for the Lord to give me a greater burden for Random Drive (where I live) and for people like John/Amanda and Joe/Pam. Will you pray for God to burden you for the people around you? Would you pray God would lead you to sacrifice yourself to reach them for Christ?
2. We need to face our goal [to continue His journey]
At this stage in Jesus’ life did He suddenly choose to die? NO! From the very beginning He was marching to Jerusalem. You can’t understand the cradle in Bethlehem unless you consider the cross in Jerusalem. At the age of 12 Jesus said what to His folks? Sure – “I must be about My Father’s business”. His goal was dying on Calvary to bring salvation to every person and each step He took brought Him one step closer to the cross. The shadow of the cross touched every conversation, every story, and every moment. Not a day went by that He didn’t envision that cruel timber upon which He would pour out His life for us. He faced His goal – not only to die/arise/ascend but to teach/disciple a small group so that that when He was gone they would share His story with the world. That is why we are here today – 2,000 years of sharing His story. We are to continue the journey of Jesus, of the millions of Christians before us, and of the hundreds of fellow First Baptist Church members that have preceded us. Are we going to drop the journey that Jesus was on and died to put us on? I say “Let’s continue the journey”. It will be tough and Satan will fight us, but we must continue the journey. Let’s not let First Baptist Church’s journey end at 125 years.
3. We need to have a strong commitment to reach our goal [He firmly set His face]
In spite of the danger ahead, Jesus was fixed on accomplishing God’s goal for His life. The decision had been made and He was committed. This church has weathered some storms. I’m grateful to so many before us who saw us through. They kept getting us back on track because they were committed to the journey and the goal. Our time of greatest effectiveness, I believe, is now and in the near future. To reach our goal of South Rowan County it is going to take the strong commitment of each of us. As we begin a new church year, what new step of faith will you take to make sure you making a stronger effort to reach your family, friends, neighborhood, and associates for Jesus Christ? Where would you be if Jesus had ended His journey before the cross? Where would you be if others had given up on you before you were saved? Will you firmly set your face to continue your journey to your Jerusalem?
On the Journey with You – Pastor Steve