Shelby G. Floyd
Jesus determined to go to Jerusalem to face the suffering, humiliation, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension back to his heavenly Father. The biblical writer Luke described it like this: “Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51 NKJV). Two verses later he described his proposed journey in similar words: “…His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:53).
He Steadfastly Set His Face
The expression “set his face” is not in some new translations. In fairness, in others it is a footnote. However, some do not use a footnote that this expression is in the Greek text of the New Testament.
Why am I writing about this? The point is this expression “set his face” is found in the original Greek language of the New Testament. That language is: “autos to prosopon autou esterixen,” literally “he resolutely set the face” (Luke 9:51). Many of the translations simply say, “Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” This does not fairly represent the language of the original text. To “set the face” is a figure of speech that is very expressive of how “resolute” he really was!
Jesus Was Resolute In Willpower
Why was he so resolute that he set his face to go to Jerusalem? It was because he was swamped for time! His time upon the earth would soon be over. He faced a mock trial, cruel mistreatment, crucifixion on the cross, burial in a new tomb, and then the resurrection. Later he appeared to his apostles and gave them the great commission to go into all the world and to preach the gospel to all people (Matthew 28:18-20). Afterward, God received Him up into heavenly glory:
Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11 who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:9-11 NKJV).
He Set His Face Like A Flint
Every Bible student recognizes the statement in Isaiah chapter 53 that refers to the Messianic Savior. The prophet described the humiliation, suffering and crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ. But Isaiah also described that Jesus was resolute and set his face like a flint when he faced suffering and death:
“For the Lord God will help Me;
Therefore I will not be disgraced;
Therefore I have set My face like a flint,
And I know that I will not be ashamed”
(Isaiah 50:7; Emphasis SGF)
This prophecy adds another dimension to how determined Jesus faced his trip to Jerusalem. He was so determined that he set his face “like a flint!” That means he determined to carry out God’s will like a rock. Nothing could stop him because he was set to be the Savior of the world.
Therefore when you read the word of God, make sure that the translation expresses the entire thought in the original language—“the jot and the title!” The common people today, as they have always been, are leery of people changing the word of God. Much change goes on, some good and some bad! The devil is hard at work to change the United States Constitution, the education system, and the moral standards. We do not want the landmarks and institutions of two centuries changed! And that includes the Bible!
Friends, “set your face like a flint” to believe the Bible and live the Christian life!
Copyright © 2023 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved
Shelby G. Floyd, Minister, Heartland Church of Christ, 1693 West Main Street, Greenwood, Indiana 46142 firstname.lastname@example.org