Summary: Jesus sets His face like flint to go to Jerusalem to die for us. Link inc. to formatted text, audio, PowerPoint.
We're halfway through John's Gospel, but in the narrative, we are actually at the end of Jesus' public ministry, and everything we read from this point forward describe the events of just about the last week before the cross. All of Jesus' attention is now turned toward the job He came to do, to die in our place. And so He comes to Bethany, in route to Jerusalem.
He has been to Jerusalem many times before, but most often we find Him just outside of town, and gazing at it from a little distance. One time He lamented, "O, Jerusalem, Jerusalem."
And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it...
Is He just fond of this place? I believe He is thinking about what He has come to do in that place.
An interesting prophetic quote of Jesus before He was born:
... therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.
8 Behold, I have made thy face strong against their faces, and thy forehead strong against their foreheads.
9 As an adamant harder than flint have I made thy forehead...
Look at this from the parallel passage to today's text...
And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,
Today we would say He was stone-faced. He was resolute to go to Jerusalem to the cross. He is singularly focused. He will not be detoured, sidetracked, or stopped.
And none of us will ever accomplish much for God if we aren't stone-faced about it. We must live on purpose, for a higher purpose, and if we aren't resolute about it, we will waste our lives.
We have 3 great enemies fighting against us, and all 3 of them are resolute and stone-faced. The world's pull is very strong. The temptations of our own flesh are powerfully real. And the devil has set traps all over to trip us up, so he can nail us with his fiery darts.
We must be vigilant, stone-faced, resolute to live for Jesus. I'm amazed at how little it takes to get some to quit. Some professing Christians are so easily swayed.
ill.--Johnny told his friend that his dad has a list of people he can whip, and that his dad is on the list. His friend told his dad, who was quite perturbed, and confronted Johnny's dad. "I heard you have a list, and my name is on it." "Yeah, that's right." "Well, I don't think you can whip me...whatcha gonna do about it?" "No problem, I'll just scratch your name off the list."
How about sticking to your guns? We need some determination, resolve, and that stone-faced quality of Jesus who put His hand to the plow with no looking back. This same Jesus has charged you and me to put our eyes on the prize, to run the race, and not to lose focus until we have crossed the finish line!
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Jesus' goal - His focus: to die on a cross. Is He insane? Who would look forward to that? Why would He want to do such a thing? It was for love!
And how long did Jesus have it in His heart to do this for us? When did He set his face like flint to go to the cross? That clock ticked for 20 centuries, from the time of man's fall in Eden all the way to Calvary...and yet it was in His heart BEFORE there was a clock to tick...before there was time. For from eternity past, before man had even been created, God determined how He would redeem what would become His fallen creation, and even chose a certain day that it would all come to a head. It was on the Passover.
Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.
Why the Passover? It was an annual Jewish feast, a celebration of God's deliverance from Egyptian slavery. It was the 10th and final plague, a fatal plague, the death of the firstborn. The angel of death would pass through on a specific night, and visit every home, taking the life of the firstborn, with the exception of the Jews if they simply followed some basic instructions - to sacrifice a lamb, and apply the blood on the 3 points of the door, forming a cross. If so, the death angel would 'pass over' you, sparing your home.
It had nothing to do with how moral they were, or good works they did. Only the shed blood of the lamb on the wood would suffice.