Deuteronomy 21:1-23; Luke 9:51-62; Psalms 74:12-23; Proverbs 18:11-12
NT: “When the days were coming to a close for him to be taken up, he determined to journey to Jerusalem… As they were traveling on the road someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus told him, “Foxes have dens, and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Then he said to another, “Follow me.” “Lord,” he said, “first let me go bury my father.” But he told him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and spread the news of the kingdom of God.” Another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me go and say good-bye to those at my house.” But Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”” (Luke 9:51, 57-62 CSB)
Luke 9:51 is a passage from Luke that impacts me every time I read it. It marks the turning point of Luke’s Gospel. From this point on, Jesus is headed to the cross. A literal translation of the Greek would say that He stiffened His resolve and firmly set His face to Jerusalem, where He would fulfill and finish what He was sent to do. Jesus did not come to condemn people (John 3:17) or destroy people (Luke 9:56). Jesus came to save people. That was the Father’s will for Him, and He was determined to do it. On His way to Jerusalem, Jesus met 3 men who, at some level, desired to be His disciples – but they weren’t determined and willing to fully follow Him. The first man wasn’t willing to give up his comforts to follow Jesus. The second man was more concerned about His family’s affairs than the affairs of the Kingdom. The third man wasn’t fully willing to let go of his past and embrace his future with the Lord. The writer of Hebrews tells us to be faithful disciples of Jesus, we must lay aside any weight and sin that hinders us, look to Jesus the author and finisher, and take on His determination and endurance. For the joy of seeing souls saved, Jesus set His face to Jerusalem and endured the cross until all was finished. If we will not be like the 3 men Jesus encountered on the way, and will instead fully follow the Lord, He will grace us with His determination, His faithfulness, His endurance, and His ability to finish the work set before us – to see souls saved and disciples made.
Psalms: “Remember this: the enemy has mocked the Lord, and a foolish people has insulted your name. Do not give to beasts the life of your dove; do not forget the lives of your poor people forever. Consider the covenant, for the dark places of the land are full of violence. Do not let the oppressed turn away in shame; let the poor and needy praise your name. Rise up, God, champion your cause! Remember the insults that fools bring against you all day long. Do not forget the clamor of your adversaries, the tumult of your opponents that goes up constantly.” (Psalms 74:18-23 CSB)
Psalm 74 is a prayer of lament to the Lord after Jerusalem was brought to ruin and the temple destroyed by the Babylonians. At the end of the prayer, Asaph was moved to hope and confidence as he remembered the Lord’s unwavering faithfulness to His covenant and His unrelenting determination to save His people. So Asaph calls on God to rise up and champion His cause to see His righteousness, justice, and glory fill the earth. The day of the Lord is coming. It is inevitable. God’s answer to the ills of the world is a spirit-filled, faithful, determined, and obedient church. The purpose He had for Jesus is now our purpose. He is looking for a people, though downtrodden by the world, will lift their heads to God, praise His name, and declare Him as Lord of all. He is looking for a church that will lay aside their comforts and their cares and seek first His Kingdom. The question is, will we stand with the Lord’s determination, and faithfully endure in the work He has called us to do?