“And it came about, when the days were approaching for His ascension, that He resolutely set His face to go to Jerusalem.” Luke 9:51, NASB
Slowly He walked, pausing frequently to help needy people. His dirt-caked feet and modest appearance veiled His glory as He walked so many places. Yet Jesus retained an ultimate destination all along the way. Amidst the healings, teachings, and discussions, Jesus headed toward Jerusalem.
The Lord understood why God put Him on earth. He didn’t waste time wondering or wandering. He maintained intimacy with His Father through prayer, seeking direction for each day and quietly following through. Jesus didn’t proclaim His presence to everyone or try to please the crowds–He simply interacted with everyone God sent His way while remaining focused on His final destination.
One by one, Jesus’ walks merged into His final walk into Jerusalem. He purposed to celebrate Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Other faithful Jews headed to the Holy City as well, intent on remembering their deliverance from Egypt.
But this time, the Passover symbols came to life:
- JESUS became the sacrificial Lamb, “who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn. 1:29).
- JESUS was the Bread of Life, “unleavened” because no sin dwelt in Him.
- JESUS’ BLOOD replaced the blood on the doorposts, which protected the Israelites from death.
Our precious Lord Jesus was judged and condemned by the Pharisees … in Jerusalem. He spent His life headed that direction, knowing His presence in that place would culminate in His place on the cross:
Outside Jerusalem. Battered and bleeding. For you and me.
It’s difficult to fathom living to die. Jesus’ example sobers me because I’m fond of pondering a lovely life purpose for myself. But Christ’s purpose demonstrates otherwise, and if I’m truly following Him, my life purpose will replicate His: dying.
“‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, let Him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.'” Mark 8:34
God calls us to fulfill His interests, not our own. Sometimes He beautifully weaves these together, but often we face scenarios that require a choice:
- Will we respond to emotional pain by lashing out or by forgiving the one who inflicted the pain?
- Will we pursue personal comfort rather than considering others more important than ourselves?
- Will we stubbornly stick to our plans instead of yielding to God’s?
Dear one, maybe you’re facing one of these scenarios or something totally different. Whatever the case, crucifying our flesh is excruciating. But God hasn’t left us alone. Jesus walks with us and enables us to touch other people’s lives along the way. By walking in the Spirit, we can choose God’s desires over our fleshly instincts and cravings. And in the dying, we glorify God.
Jesus’ final destination, Jerusalem, ended on the cross. Our Savior fulfilled God’s interests as He died in our place, securing our forgiveness and freedom. Truly He glorified God in a most devastating place.