Luke 9:51 is a pivotal moment in Luke’s gospel, as it marks the beginning of Jesus’ journey to the cross.
When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make preparations for him. 53 But the people did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem.Lk 9:51-53
To “set one’s face” was an idiom meaning to unwaveringly commit to a purpose. The purpose that awaited Jesus in Jerusalem was a horrible death at the hands of the Romans. Yet Jesus walked resolutely to the cross.
Humanity has seen no greater act of love than that of an incarnate God setting his face toward death at the hand of those he came to rescue.
Jesus taught his followers that, in his Kingdom, the humble will be exalted, and the proud will be humbled. No man in history embodied this more than Jesus, who laid himself at the mercy of those who hated him, who was pierced for transgressions he did not commit and crushed for the sins of a world that rejected him. And with his final breath, he proclaimed salvation.
“It is finished.”
Only then was our humble Savior lifted up and crowned with the name that is above every other name. In the Kingdom of Heaven, every knee bows at the feet of the Suffering Servant.
Make no mistake: the cross was his destination; the resurrection was the reward.
And it is this same Servant who calls to us: “Follow me to the cross, where I have died the death, so that you join me in life.”
Thank you, Jesus. Hallelujah. Praise the Lord.