Imagine the baby in the manger. What does He look like? I’d like to think of the sweetest face with a glow of glory. Some insist on a halo. Zero in on the face. It probably wasn’t the other-worldly face we’d like to imagine, it probably was very normal, like any sweet baby. But I submit to you that it was a face of stone – focused on the job at hand. Though He’s 100% human I wouldn’t doubt that, at least on the inside, He was already thinking about what He came to do…since He was all the while God.
“Little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes.” [discuss]
At 12 in the temple, He was about His Father’s business.
Don’t you know that throughout His life and upbringing, He was laser-focused on the cross. In a carpenter’s shop, He saw nails all the time. Did He roll one between his thumb and finger, anticipating the pain?
Each time He witnessed a sin being committed, did He calculate the suffering payment that He would eventually be making?
We're actually at the end of Jesus' public ministry, and everything we read from this point forward describes the events of just about the last week before the cross. All of Jesus' attention is now turned toward the job He was born to do, to die in our place. And so He comes to Bethany, in route to Jerusalem.
He has been to Jerusalem many times before, but most often we find Him just outside of town, and gazing at it from a little distance. One time He lamented, "O, Jerusalem, Jerusalem."
And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it...
Is He just fond of this place? I think He is thinking about what He has come to do in that place.
An interesting prophetic quote of Jesus before He was born:
... therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.
8 Behold, I have made thy face strong against their faces, and thy forehead strong against their foreheads.
9 As an adamant harder than flint have I made thy forehead...
Look at this from the parallel passage to today's text...
And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,
Today we would say He was stone-faced. He was resolute to go to Jerusalem to the cross. He is singularly focused. He will not be detoured, sidetracked, or stopped.
And none of us will ever accomplish much for God if we aren't stone-faced about it. We must live on purpose, for a higher purpose, and if we aren't resolute about it, we will waste our lives.
We have 3 great enemies fighting against us, and all 3 of them are resolute and stone-faced. The world's pull is very strong. The temptations of our own flesh are powerfully real. And the devil has set traps all over to trip us up, so he can nail us with his fiery darts.
We must be vigilant, stone-faced, and resolute to live for Jesus. I'm amazed at how little it takes to get some to quit. Some professing Christians are so easily swayed.
ill.--Johnny told his friend that his dad has a list of people he can whip, and that his dad is on the list. His friend told his dad, who was quite perturbed, and confronted Johnny's dad. "I heard you have a list, and my name is on it." "Yeah, that's right." "Well, I don't think you can whip me...whatcha gonna do about it?" "No problem, I'll just scratch your name off the list."
How about sticking to your guns? We need some determination, resolve, and that stone-faced quality of Jesus who put His hand to the plow with no looking back. This same Jesus has charged you and me to put our eyes on the prize, to run the race, and not to lose focus until we have crossed the finish line!
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Jesus' goal - His focus: to die on a cross. Is He insane? Who would look forward to that? Why would He want to do such a thing? It was for love!
And how long did Jesus have it in His heart to do this for us? When did He set his face like flint to go to the cross? That clock ticked for 40 centuries, from the time of man's fall in Eden all the way to Calvary...and yet it was in His heart BEFORE there was a clock to tick...before there was time. For from eternity past, before man had even been created, God determined how He would redeem what would become His fallen creation, and even chose a certain day that it would all come to a head. It was on the Passover.
Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.
Why the Passover? It was an annual Jewish feast, a celebration of God's deliverance from Egyptian slavery. It was the 10th and final plague, a fatal plague, the death of the firstborn. The angel of death would pass through on a specific night, and visit every home, taking the life of the firstborn, with the exception of the Jews if they simply followed some basic instructions - to sacrifice a lamb, and apply the blood on the 3 points of the door, forming a cross. If so, the death angel would 'pass over' you, sparing your home.
It had nothing to do with how moral they were, or good works they did. Only the shed blood of the lamb on the wood would suffice.
Here is the theme of the entire Bible: It is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world!
Adam and Eve sinned. Their boys inherited that sin nature. Both were told to bring a sacrifice for their sins. Abel brought a lamb, Cain brought fruits and vegetables / Abel’s offering was accepted, Cain’s rejected…what made the difference? The blood of the lamb!
That’s Gen. 4:4—it was a lamb for one man in those days.
Next we come to Ex. 12, where God told every family to take one lamb, sacrifice it, and apply its blood to the top of the doorpost and the sides (what were they forming? A cross!)
Now it’s a lamb for each fam.
Lev. 16—God told the high priest to kill a lamb for the sins of the whole nation (this was done once a year for hundreds of years)
A lamb for the whole land.
Here’s the best part:
Jn. 1—Jesus is introduced…Behold, the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world!
All the other lambs were leading up to this, they were just pictures of the perfect Lamb to come.
The Lamb to span all eternity!
And every lamb sacrificed in those days was a picture of THE Lamb of God to come, Jesus Christ...and every year on the Passover they remembered, and from eternity past Jesus set His face like flint to apply His blood on the wood on that Passover.
The religious leaders were fed up w/ Jesus, and decided that they must kill Him, but by all means, NOT on the Passover.
3 Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas,
4 And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him.
5 But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people.
Get the picture, millions of Jews are gathered in Jerusalem at Passover time, many of them from the region of Galilee where Jesus was from, and so the leaders wanted to wait for the crowds to leave town, lest there be a riot. But Jesus has said it will be on the Passover. Question: Whose will is going to be done?
"In this corner, the Jewish leaders, weighing in with their predictions of how it will go down in the later rounds...and in this corner, the God of the universe, who created all that is, and grants those leaders the strength to kill Him, but only when He says so." Jesus is taking a dive, but He won't be the loser...He's going to deliver a knockout blow, and you'd be smart to bet on His will being done, the way He wants, and WHEN He wants!
God's will is not going to be thwarted...and without even understanding the implications, and that they were fulfilling OT prophecies, they killed Jesus, the Lamb of God, their Messiah, on the Passover.
"When man thinks he rules, God overrules."
ill.--in the frigid waters around Greenland there are hundreds of icebergs. Some small and some large. The small all move in one direction, and the large in another. How is this possible? There are two forces at work. The small 'bergs are being moved by the surface winds, and the large ones have so much submerged beneath the surface, they are being moved by the ocean currents.
Let's apply this to life. The surface winds represent everything that man can do, the changeable, unpredictable pattern of life. The ocean currents represent God's sovereign purpose in our lives. And it's a small view of life to think we can just decide how it's gonna go. I'm here to announce today that the winds of change have no chance against the mighty currents of God's sovereign will.
God's will is going to be done on earth, as it is in heaven. It's not up to the President, or Congress, or Iran, or the United Nations, or the Federal Reserve, or the IRS, the CIA, the FBI, or AT&T! Your life is not in the hands of your boss, or the doctors, or the bill collectors, or the Ohio Lottery [you can't win if you don't think!]
We're in the hands of Almighty God, and we're in good hands if we believe, and we're in powerfully crushing hands if we do not. But one thing's for certain, He is in control and His will be done!
So, make sure you are in His loving hands, and not under His wrathful hand. Are you saved and know it? You were saved on purpose, for a purpose. Are you resolved, with a face of stone, to go in that direction, with no looking back?
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