Shelby G. Floyd
In the gospel according to Luke, Jesus resolutely determined to go to Jerusalem to face the suffering, humiliation, crucifixion, resurrection, and his ascension back to his heavenly Father in heaven.
He Steadfastly Set His Face
The biblical writer Luke in his account of the life of Christ 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). In Luke 9:53 his proposed journey to Jerusalem is expressed by similar words: “…His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem.”
The expression “set his face” is found in several of the newer translations and in many of them it is not found. In fairness, in some of them where this expression is not found, it is found and explained in a footnote. In some they do not even have footnote that this expression is found in the Greek text in which the New Testament was written.
Why am I writing about this? The point I am trying to make is that this expression “set his face” is found in the original Greek language in which the New Testament was written on our behalf. That language is: “autos to prosopon autou esterixen,” literally “he resolutely set the face.” (Luke 9:51). Because 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!
Why was he so resolute that he set his face to go to Jerusalem? It was because he was swamped for time – his time would soon be over to live upon the earth. His time on earth was expiring soon and then he would be received up after his trial, cruel mistreatment, crucifixion on the cross, burial in a new tomb, and then raised from the dead on the third day. He then would later appear to his apostles and disciples and give them the great commission to go into all the world and to preach the gospel to all people (Matthew 28:18-20). Then he would be received up into heavenly glory to be with his Heavenly Father:
“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).
I HAVE SET MY FACE LIKE A FLINT
Every Bible student recognizes the statement in Isaiah chapter 53 as referring to the Messianic Savior. He describes in great detail the humiliation, suffering and crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ. But we have in the book of Isaiah another great statement that describes the same event that Jesus went through as revealed in Isaiah 53– and that is Isaiah 50:5-9:
The Lord God has opened My ear;
And I was not rebellious,
Nor did I turn away.
6 I gave My back to those who struck Me,
And My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard;
I did not hide My face from shame and spitting.
7 “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.
8 He is near who justifies Me;
Who will contend with Me?
Let us stand together.
Who is [a]My adversary?
Let him come near Me.
9 Surely the Lord God will help Me;
Who is he who will condemn Me?
Indeed they will all grow old like a garment;
The moth will eat them up. (Emphasis sgf).
Therefore, the prophecy of Isaiah 50:7 adds another dimension as to how Jesus set his face to go to Jerusalem. He was so determined and so resolute that his face was set “like a flint!” That simply means that his determination to carry out God’s will was like a rock. Nothing could stop him from carrying out his God-given commission to be the Savior of the world.
Therefore when you read the word of God, make sure that whatever translation you are using, it expresses the entire thought as found 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 as they are changing a lot of other things also. The devil is hard at work trying to change the United States Constitution, the education system, the moral standards, and the landmarks and institutions that have stood us in good ways for over 200 years as a nation. Therefore it should come as no surprise that the devil is also at work trying to change the word of God. And that is the only thing that can defeat him. Remember when Satan tempted Jesus, he refuted him and drove him away by quoting the word of God, saying, “it is written!” (Matthew 4:1-11). Friends, “set your face like a flint” to live out 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.