By Sandy Shaw
Many of us recoil from new things - from new experiences - from new challenges - from new demands. We see nothing of that attitude as Jesus Christ began a new phase as He set His face to go to Jerusalem.
We read the details of this in Luke Chapter 9 and verses 51 to 62, where Jesus Christ is preparing to go to Jerusalem. Jesus Christ is preparing to go home - via the Cross and the grave. This is new. We have never been here before.
The time has now come for a change in the ministry of Jesus. Jesus has been preaching and teaching - healing the sick - casting evil spirits out of people - and ministering to the various needs of those men and women who came to Him.
Now, Jesus sets His Face to go to Jerusalem. Jesus is determined to face whatever lies ahead of Him. Jesus makes that decision to face the suffering which He knows awaits Him. Jesus is determined to face the Cross. He knows He has to suffer. He has read from Isaiah, and Jesus knows what Isaiah prophesied concerning Himself. He knows He has to suffer pain - the agony of the Cross. Jesus realised He had to experience rejection - humiliation - shame - and Jesus is so positive in His determination.
Jesus is making His way to Jerusalem - and ultimately to Calvary - to be crucified - to shed His Blood to wash away our sin - to die as the sacrificial Lamb of God - our Passover Lamb. All this begins with a very specific decision. There are times when each has to face and make very specific decisions and these times are seldom easy.
There is no other way by which a man can be rescued - saved - salvaged - redeemed - forgiven - washed - born again - and anointed with the Holy Spirit.
There is no other way. This is going to become a more and more vital issue over these next months and years, in our various nations. It will become more and more difficult to proclaim that Jesus Christ is the only way to God. In these multi-faith and multi-cultural days Jesus Christ the Son of God remains unique. There is no-one like Him and there never will be.
For all this to happen - for man to be forgiven and born again - Jesus first has to die. Jesus has to die temporarily - that we may have life eternal.
Jesus resolutely decides to go to Jerusalem. He sets His Face. Jesus makes this decision, and once this decision is made everything else follows and flows. There are times when we have to make a decision, and then, everything else can follow and flow. It might not be easy to make that decision. It would not have been easy for Jesus. It might not be pain-free. It certainly wasn't pain-free for Jesus. But that decision in the Will of God has now been made.
This is what Jesus does here. We too have to make certain decisions at times. It can all sound so simple, but it is not always that simple. The only Person Who could do all this for mankind - is Jesus. This is why God the Father sent Jesus into the world, and Jesus is determined to do the will of the Father. When God calls us to do something - we should have a similar positive determination.
This new demanding challenge was at the very heart of the Will of God. To be in such a position can mean pain and suffering, but it is the best place to be.
Sandy Shaw is Pastor of Nairn Christian Fellowship, Chaplain at Inverness Prison, and Nairn Academy, and serves on The Children's Panel in Scotland, and has travelled extensively over these past years teaching, speaking, in America, Canada, South Africa, Australia, making 12 visits to Israel conducting Tours and Pilgrimages, and most recently in Uganda and Kenya, ministering at Pastors and Leaders Seminars, in the poor areas surrounding Kampala, Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu.
He broadcasts regularly on WSHO radio out of New Orleans, and writes a weekly commentary at http://www.studylight.org entitled "Word from Scotland" on various biblical themes, as well as a weekly newspaper column.
His M.A. and B.D. degrees are from The University of Edinburgh, and he continues to run and exercise regularly to maintain a level of physical fitness.