HE SET HIS FACE TO GO TO JERUSALEM…Nearly 2000 years ago, Jesus journeyed from the countryside of the Holy Land, up to the ancient city of Jerusalem, one last time. As He traveled through town after town, He constantly surprised all who would listen, teaching them in ways they could never have imagined.
“When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; but they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But he turned and rebuked them. Then they went on to another village.” Luke 9:51-56.
Of course, His disciples figured Jesus was intent on teaching others who didn't know Him. But they quickly learned that Jesus always taught His closest followers the hardest lessons first. Jesus sent shock waves into their midst when He "rebuked" the disciples for their lack or mercy, and not the Samaritans, who wouldn't acknowledge Him.
As we continue reading the next verses in Luke 9:57-62, 10:1-4, we, are confounded and bewildered by the Words of Jesus. “As they were walking along the road headed toward Jerusalem, a man said to him, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’ Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.’”
“He said to another man, ‘Follow me.’ But he replied, ‘Lord, first let me go and bury my father.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.’”
“Still another said, ‘I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.’ Jesus replied, ‘No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.’”
“As He commissioned 72 other disciples and sent them by 2’s ahead of Him to every town and place He would go, He continued to instruct them, saying, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.”
Most of us Christians should be staggering right now under the weight of Jesus’ description of TRUE discipleship: accept rejection without responding in anger …let the dead bury the dead… no goodbyes to loved ones…lambs among wolves…no clothes or money… don’t let your guard down.
And there’s still so much more that happened in those final weeks. They were jam-packed full of parables and lessons that only the Son of God Himself could teach.
One His most well-known teachings during that time is the parable of the Good Samaritan, which ends with Jesus posing a question that still divides religious folks today. 'Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?' The expert in the law replied, 'The one who had mercy on him.' Jesus told him 'Go and do likewise.'" Luke 10:36-37.
Among so many invaluable lessons, Jesus taught us how to pray to Our Father in Heaven by giving us the model "Lord's Prayer". But then He insulted the religious folks of the day when He boldly announced, "Woe to you Pharisees! For you love to have the seat of honor in the synagogues and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces. Woe to you! For you are like unmarked graves, and people walk over them without realizing it.”
Jesus continued to shock and dismay the religious establishment when He taught that His presence and calling to them would create division in their families. "Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided: father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
The gospel of Luke alone records 35-40 parables and teachings from chapter 10-19, with Jesus sending out the 72 disciples, His triumphant entry into Jerusalem, healing 14 people along the way, and all in a matter of days or weeks. It is so VERY obvious that this was one of THE most productive times on this earth in the life of Jesus Christ, the Son of God!
Yes, today we literally follow in the footsteps of Jesus during His final time on this earth. We know this because we learned in last week's lesson how to pinpoint the beginning of God's New Year. https://www.facebook.com/fontanacommunitychurch/posts/2147137978699713
God’s Word tells us in Exodus 12:6 that the sacrifice of the lamb occurred at twilight on the 14th day of the first month. “Twilight” is more accurately translated “between the evenings”. (There is a Hebrew word for twilight, not used here.) “Between the evenings” was understood until 200 BC to designate the hours of 3-5 pm, referred to as the 1st evening with the 2nd evening occurring at sunset.
Deuteronomy 16:1, 6 adds further explanation: "Observe the month of Aviv and celebrate the Passover of the Lord your God, because in the month of Aviv he brought you out of Egypt by night...There you must sacrifice the Passover in the evening, when the sun goes down, on the anniversary of your departure from Egypt."
The death of Jesus between the evenings fulfilled God's appointed deliverance of His chosen people for all time. Paul said it best in Corinthians 5:7: "...For Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed." The 14th day God's first month will begin at twilight, April 19 on our 2019 Gregorian calendar.
We close our lesson today with this haunting picture of Jesus crying out to those who claimed to know Him but would not humble themselves to His Word. “And when He arrived, He wept and cried, "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.’”
HE SET HIS FACE TO GO TO JERUSALEM…