Open Your Bible
Luke 9:43-45, Luke 9:51-52, John 10:14-18
Text: Luke 9:43-45, 51-52, John 10:14-18
When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.
Luke 9:51, ESV
My in-laws live in Michigan. It’s a solid 9-hour drive from our house in Tennessee to enjoy their mild, midwestern summers and wonderland northern winters, but it is absolutely always worth it.
Well, almost always. There is usually a moment—at about hour 7.5—where we’re past Cincinnati but still super far from Toledo and the kids have both used up all their charming travel puzzles and games, they’ve gotten whiney from too much screen time, and we’ve cut them off from snacks because snacks make them thirsty and drinks make them potty and we have made enough stops already forgoodnesssake.
That’s the moment when we front-seaters exchange exasperated-slash-desperate looks of “why did we think driving was a good idea?” and “couldn’t we have left the kids in Tennessee with friends and enjoyed a quiet drive just the two of us?” I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t go over very well with the grandparents.
But once we finally get there, we’re always so glad we came. We know it the moment we make that right turn onto their street to see Granddad and Groovy waving and grinning, with the pool all clean and heated and good things cooking in the oven. The being there always makes it worth it, but the getting there just about kills us.
Enter my brilliant and blessed son, Oliver. I guess he was probably five at the time he invented the “Rocket Boost”, and it is now everyone’s favorite way to travel. The Rocket Boost is simple: close your eyes, force yourself to sleep, and next thing you know, you’ve completely slept through Kentucky! (Or Connecticut, or wherever it is you’re passing through.) Rocket Boosting is the best basic travel trick we know; even I have been known to sneak a Rocket Boost in the passenger seat from time to time!
Friends, today we are doing a little Rocket Boost of our own. You may remember our Lent study is divided into three parts: Return, Repent, and Remember. We left you on Friday repenting and lamenting in 586 BC with the Israelites, worshiping and crying out amid the rubble of the destroyed Temple. Today we Rocket Boost about 600 years forward—past the Babylonian Exile, the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls under the leadership of Nehemiah, and 400 years of silence between the Old and New Testament—and when we open our eyes, we will see the in-the-flesh Promised Messiah prophesying of Himself, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19).
So, let’s stretch our arms, sit up straight, and renew our focus on the road—it’s time to “Remember” the narrative of our Savior’s last days. Over the next 3 weeks we will follow the Son of God from the moment He sets His face to Jerusalem, to the time the New Holy Temple—the One the Israelites cried out for in Lamentations and the One who forever eliminated the need for a curtain of separation between us and God—is indeed raised again in three days, just as He said.
As we begin this time of remembrance with Jesus “setting His face to Jerusalem”, let’s acknowledge the gravity of this moment. Jesus was setting His sights on the place where He would die for sinners in accordance with the will of God. He knew what awaited Him. As John Piper put it, “Jerusalem meant one thing for Jesus: certain death.” Jesus set His face toward Jerusalem out of obedience to the Father and love for sinners—you and me.
The world was under a curse of death, and our only possible rescue required a Man who was both Offerer and Offering. He couldn’t come as an Offering only, served up by an angry crowd as He fought tooth and nail to escape, or doing everything in His power to avoid Jerusalem altogether. No—He had to be the Offerer as well. Jesus’ life was His to give, and in turning His face toward Jerusalem, He was setting into motion the final days of our Great Rescue.