Summary: First message in a four part series that follows Jesus' movements to the cross and beyond.
AM Sermon preached at Central Christian Church March 2, 2008
Jesus At The “Cross”roads Sermon Series The Road to Jerusalem
[START SLIDE SHOW—IT’LL ADVANCE AUTOMATICALLY TO SLIDE #4]
Today, as you can see from the slides and the bulletin insert, we’re starting a new sermon series----one which I’ve given the title of “Jesus At The “Cross”roads.” In this series we’ll be looking at Jesus’ journey which took Him to the cross and beyond. And while we’re going to really zero in on the meaning and depth of Luke 9:51, before we begin digging there I’d like for us first to look at another verse, one out of Hebrews. Hebrews 12:2. Hebrews 12:2 is to me, one of the most fascinating verses in the Bible---[SLIDE #5] it encourages us to “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” What especially fascinates me in this verse is the phrase “who for the joy set be fore him endured the cross.” I want you to put that phrase on the back burner of your mind and keep it warm. We’ll be bringing it up front again a little later.
Right now though, I want to encourage you to open your Bibles to Luke 9 as we begin to fix our eyes on Jesus… [SLIDE #6] Here’s the situation in which our key verse falls…
Determined in spite of inconveniences
For nearly three years Jesus has been involved in public ministry--- travelling around the countryside, teaching crowds, performing miracles, healing individuals---and now the time is approaching for Him to make His final trip into Jerusalem. He’s been to that great city before, on several occasions. But soon, He knows it’s going to be different. Soon He will allow Himself to take prisoner. Soon there would be bloodshed---and the blood that would be shed would be His. Other visits before had been made where the religious leaders wanted to arrest Him---wanted to do away with Him, but they wouldn’t make their move because the crowds were with Jesus. And at the moment, the crowds were still with Him, hanging on His every word, calling Him a prophet and talking of Him possibly being the One, the Messiah they’d all been waiting for. But this trip was going to be different. It would a major transition in Jesus’ ministry. In a way this trip was the beginning of the end. Things were beginning to change. And soon, the crowds would turn violently against Him. Soon taking their cue from the Prince of Darkness, the Pharisees would play their hand and Jesus would be mocked, beaten and crucified. Jesus knows all this---and yet in this morning’s key verse, in Luke 9:51, we find that He is bound and determined to go to Jerusalem.
[SLIDE #7] Here’s how Luke 9:51 reads in the NIV… 51 As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.
[SLIDE #8] The Message Version claims Jesus “gathered up his courage and steeled himself for the journey to Jerusalem.”
[SLIDE #9] The KJV reads that Jesus “stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem…”
AND The NASB puts it this way “He was determined to go to Jerusalem…”
[SLIDE #10] Jesus set His heart upon going to Jerusalem not because He relished the idea of being beaten and crucified---but because His love for us made Him bound and determined to do whatever it took to make it possible for us to be forgiven. Jesus was intent upon entering the ring with God’s wrath against our sins so we wouldn’t have to. So with an unwavering divine grit He started out for Jerusalem. [SLIDE #11]
Almost immediately Jesus had to go to battle against inconvenience and rejection. The very first thing we read after reading Luke’s comments about Jesus resolutely setting out for Jerusalem is a roadblock of prejudice that added some unnecessary hardships to the journey. [SCRIPTURE SLIDES] Luke 9:52-56 tell us that Jesus….52 And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; 53 but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. 54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, "Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?" 55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them, 56 and they went to another village.
Here’s what’s going on---at this point in Jesus’ public ministry, wherever He goes, He has crowds of people following Him. What’s more, the shortest distance from Galilee to Jerusalem is through Samaria. And that’s a three day trip. So, thinking of the people, Jesus sends some messengers ahead of the crowds to the town they’re approaching. He probably wanted to give the townspeople a heads-up as to their arrival so they could make extra food to give or sell to the crowds---and so they could perhaps set up some tents or make other special housing arrangements for the flood of people moving their direction. But the abrupt word comes back…”Stay away! We don’t want you or any of the others traveling with you to Jerusalem to come around here!”