When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.
Luke 9:51 (ESV)
I stayed in an Airbnb during the festival at Paignton last year. It was three miles away from the festival site in a village nestled at the end of an inlet leading into the river Dart.
On my last morning there I took a walk down to the Mill Pool, a tidal lake that led over a causeway into the inlet. The tide was ebbing so I could walk along the edge of the water. A heron took off to continue fishing for breakfast on the other side. A family of twelve cormorants swam into the middle. Two squirrels stopped chasing each other round an overhanging tree until I was safely past them.
I strolled past the café on the small jetty and walked on to the pebbled shore line toward the river. Two fishermen were preparing their tackle for the day. Another couple were getting their dingy ready for a day of gentle sailing on the river. A man on a blue paddle board sculled swiftly by. The tide was still spilling over the causeway in a long waterfall. The sky was a gentle October blue, the sun was shining, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.
When I reached the Dart, it was time to turn back. But as soon as I turned around, I would be starting on my journey home. Pack my bags; attend my last service at the festival; then do the long drive back home where all the day-to-day responsibilities would take over again. I didn’t want to go.
Then I thought of Jesus – there was a day when he put one sandaled foot down in front of the other and deliberately started out for Jerusalem, on his journey to death. He ‘set his face’ – there was going to be no going back. And look how John records it – Jesus was looking past the crucifixion that awaited him and to his ascension. He was going home to his Father, where he would prepare a place for us to be with him (John 14:1-3).
I was reluctant to leave the peaceful, entrancing place by the river, and turn round and go home – a thought that was far less important than the most miniscule fraction of the smallest subatomic particle of importance compared to the universe-sized importance of Jesus’ willingness to turn and set his face to Jerusalem.
Thank God he did.
Our loving Saviour, you set your face to go through death, so that we might have life. You chose to do so willingly, laying down your life for us. Nothing would stop you. And you live for us all now. Amen. Hallelujah!
Study by Hilary Buck
About the writer:
Hilary Buck is a minister and pastors the Lewes congregation of Grace Communion International.
Grace Communion in Lewes
The House of Friendship
208 High Street
Sunday 11:00 am
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