He Steadfastly Set His Face

Frank Garner
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In a previous article, we considered the zeal of the Lord to accomplish His plan of redemption for mankind. Now, let us consider the zeal displayed by our great example, Jesus Christ.

One aspect of zeal is the earnest desire to accomplish the goals set before us. In the case of the Lord Jesus, His zeal, His great desire, was to do those things commanded Him by the Lord God for the redemption of mankind from Satan and sin. Jesus' task was to preach the good news of the kingdom, proclaim the kingdom to the world, and to give himself as a sinless, perfect sacrifice for mankind's sin once and for all.The task would not be easy. Jesus' divine nature did not diminish the difficulty of the task he willingly accepted. He came to the earth in the form of humanity with all its pains, weaknesses and frailties, yet He remained sinless. He addresses the difficulty in Luke 12:50. He said, "I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!" What pain He suffered! He knew the end of His mission on earth. At every turn, He moved steadily onward to accomplish the task He had accepted. He was divine, sinless, the savior of mankind to be sacrificed on the old cross at the hands of an unbelieving, ungrateful people. He was pained (grieved), but His zeal to complete the plan for man-kind's salvation remained unshaken.Jesus' purpose was more than just a task or job to do. Fulfilling God's plan was Jesus sustenance. In John 4:31 and 34 we read, "In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat....Jesus saith unto them, my meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work." Today, we might say Christ was personally driven to finish God's work. The Word calls it zeal.

This zeal was evident at an early age. After being lost by his parents for three days, (Jesus wasn't lost. He knew where He was!) Jesus was found in the temple "sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions." He received the appropriate parental scolding from His mother. "And he said unto them, how is it that ye sought me? Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" (Luke 2:49). "I must" he says, and at such an early age he knew it. What a great example for the young Christian today! The Father's business came before any other thing He might do.

It seems that Jesus' tasks were ordered. He had a zeal to preach the kingdom as widely as possible. When the people of Capernaum desired Him to stay, He responded, "I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent" (Luke 4:43). Some today might find it more convenient and comfortable to stay around close, but that was not what Jesus had to do. Luke 8:1-2 tells us, "And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him, and certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene,out of whom went seven devils, and Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance."

Jesus knew He had only a certain time to accomplish the tasks given to Him. This fact could have been a stimulus to His zealousness. In John 9:4-5, He stated, "I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." With only a short time, Jesus was zealous to spread as much light as humanly possible. We too are given only a short time to "let our light shine before men." Let us have the zeal to be about it.

We might let criticism or hostile opinions prevent us from being about the Lord's business. Our zeal might flicker and diminish with such trials. Jesus' zeal did not. When Pharisees came to Him warning that Herod might seek to kill Him thus suggesting that Jesus move on, He replied, "Nevertheless, I must journey today, tomorrow, and the day following, for it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem" (Luke 13:33 NKJV). Jesus' task was to journey and teach for these three days, and trust in the prophecy of old. He would not die outside of Jerusalem.

Finally, as Jesus traveled along the road to Jerusalem to the events that awaited Him, He did not linger, nor did He delay. It was time. In Luke 9:51 we read, "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." His pace was so determined that His disciples marveled. "And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus went before them: and they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid" (Mark 10:32). He hurried on to accomplish the tasks awaiting Him in Jerusalem. He truly desired to finish the work. Can we even hurry along to accomplish the pleasant tasks that God has given us? What about the condition of our zeal? Let us remember always that Jesus "gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works" (Titus 2:14). -POBox 841, Princeton, TX 75407