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3-12-17 Journey: Set - 8:45 am Service

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Set

Pray, Reflect, Renew

- Every year, Lent gives us an opportunity to slow down and take inventory of our lives. Some will give something up that they enjoy. Others will spend more time in prayer, reflection, and reading Scripture. Regardless of our practices, we can travel with Jesus as he journeys to the cross.
What would you do if you knew you were doing something for the last time?

Jesus: Ready, Set, Go

Luke 9:51 NRSV
When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.
- Activity: Look up Luke 9:51 in several translations.
What do you notice?
- One commentator mentioned that the phrase “set his face to go to Jerusalem” is an “idiom of dispatch.” Jesus’ fate is set. He has resolved to go to the cross.
- Some have observed that this verse is a turning point for the Gospel..
- Over Lent, we will journey with Jesus. There’s a lot that happens in these chapters, so we won’t be able to cover everything. There is a 46 session reading guide that goes from Luke 9:51 to Luke 19:44. The reading guide will help you get a sense of Jesus’ journey to the cross.
- When Luke uses the phrase, "to be taken up" he is referring to either Jesus' death, or his ascention. Luke is telling his readers that the stage is set. The days are drawing near...indicating a plot twist, or a new movement.
-We are starting here in our Journey, because it is at this point that Jesus has resolutely decided to go to the cross. He is "setting his face" toward Jerusalem and there awaits the cross.
- A commentary from 1902, I think, had the best description of what the phrase "set his face toward Jersualem" meant for Jesus. Plummer writes:
τὸ πρόσωπον ἐστήρισεν. A Hebraism: Comp. Jer. 21:10; Ezek. 6:2, 13:17, 15:7, 20:46, 21:2, 25:2, etc. See Gesenius, Thes. p. 1109, on the same form of expression in Syriac, Arabic, Turkish, and Persian. It implies fixedness of purpose, especially in the prospect of difficulty or danger: comp.` Is. 50:7.
Luke communicates that the cross wasn’t an accident. Jesus chose this path, knowing that it was one of danger and death. Jesus didn’t suffer from bad circumstances. The cross was a choice.
Plummer points the reader to Isaiah 50:7:
Isaiah 50:7 NRSV
The Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame;
Jesus face was set “like flint” going to the cross. He was determined.
Luke 9:52–53 NRSV
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.
This would be Jesus last opportunity to teach, heal, or interact with people. Jesus knew his time was limited. Perhaps because he knew this would be his last opportunity, he sent messengers ahead of him to prepare places for his arrival. However, the Samaritans hated the Jews and this seems to especially be the case as the Jews are making their pilgrimage to Jerusalem. They didn’t understand Jesus’ purpose, mission, or the significance of this journey. So, they denied him welcome.
Question: In what ways do I not welcome Jesus because I don’t understand?
Luke 9:54 NRSV
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?”
- I wonder if James and John had just read about Elijah and how he called fire down that consumed his sacrifice while the prophets of Baal stood by dumbfounded. They thought calling fire down was an appropriate response. It's unclear how James and John thought this would happen...did they think they could do this? Did they think God would send the fire?
Luke 9:55 NRSV
But he turned and rebuked them.
- Calling down fire on anyone was not the way of Jesus. His mission was not one of retribution, but one of love.

Following Jesus

Nehemiah’s Example

- A couple of weeks ago we finished looking at Nehemiah. I was amazed at Nehemiah's focus on God's mission...in the face of trials and obstacles, he never gave up.
- Nehemiah’s resolve reminds me of Jesus. Nehemiah was completely focused on God’s mission and purpose. Jesus was completely focused on God’s mission and purpose. He knew it would mean sacrifice, but he chose it anyway. The path he walks was not a mistake. He knows, he will face of trial and opposition. We see misunderstandings early with both the Samaritans, who don't understand his mission and won't receive him, and even his disciples, who, after three years with him, insist on calling down fire! They don’t understand this isn't a mission of conquest and destruction.
What similarities do you see between Nehemiah and Jesus?
How are Nehemiah’s and Jesus’ missions similar? How are they different?

3 Families

Last week Steve talked about the three families who, over eight years, committed to taking a little boy to church. I wonder if at any point over those eight years, the families were tired of taking turns. I wonder if at some point they thought, what’s the point, or why aren’t his parents taking him. Over the course of eight years I’m sure there were times when they didn’t feel like doing it.
But they did.
They had no idea of what their sacrifice would do. That boy, as Steve said, was his dad. Steve is convinced that if those families had not done that, his story would be much different. He probably wouldn’t have been here last week leading our consultation. He wouldn’t have been at, I believe, over 100 consultations in our conference.
Imagine with me the impact these FCJ consultations have had across our conference. Imagine with me the changes in the congregations making them more open to people who did not know Jesus. Imagine with me those who did not know Jesus discovering the love, grace, and peace Jesus offers them. Imagine the difference those churches have made in the lives of so many. Imagine the difference this congregation will make as we focus on the mission and purpose of God.
All because three families decided to take turns bringing a little boy to church.
We have no idea the difference our sacrifice makes. Jesus chose the cross because crosses aren’t given to us…real crosses, like Jesus’, are chosen. We chose to journey with Jesus to the cross, which means, we will sacrifice. We will listen to the call of Jesus and give ourselves to him.
Those three families had no idea what God would do with their sacrifice and faithfulness. We can see. They could not, but they continued to be faithful anyway.
What if all of us lived that way?
Are you ready to follow Jesus even if it means sacrifice?
Where might Jesus be calling you to “set your face” toward?
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