“When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51)
There have been times in my life where I have been accused of being a little stubborn. I’ve heard it from my mother, from my Fraternity brothers, my friends from Seminary, and even from my wife. I suppose if all these voices surround me with choruses of stubbornness, maybe I should heed an ear to their song.
Case in point: When I was traveling to St. Louis this past December to catch my flight to Texas to get married, I was instructed by my GPS to take an exit I was not accustomed to. I knew how to get to the airport and didn’t really NEED the GPS. It was mostly a guideline. So I kept on going, regardless of the cars exiting off I-70, regardless of the onslaught of rain, regardless even of the signs which said I-70 was closed. I ended up being stuck on the highway for an hour at a standstill and trying to cross 3 different bridges before turning back and going the suggested route. I didn’t miss my flight (it was cancelled and I got on one the next morning), but it was an exercise in my stubbornness.
When I read this past Sunday’s Scripture passage, Luke 9:51-62, I felt like Jesus was having a little bit of his own exercise in stubbornness. We read “he set his face to go to Jerusalem.” He made up his mind. There was no other place he had to be. He was going to face the music. Nothing could stand in his way.
A Samaritan town who didn’t want to listen to his message because he was Jewish? Fine. Let’s not worry about them anymore than we have to.
A guy wants to go wherever he will go? Alright, but unlike the foxes or the birds, Jesus doesn’t have a home. He goes where the Spirit wills him, and that’s Jerusalem.
A different man wants to do his duty as a Son and wait by his dying father’s side to bury him? Sorry man, but leave him (Jesus, that’s pretty cold). You’ve got one thing to do: preach about God’s coming Empire.
A final guy wants to say goodbye to all who are in his house? Not okay. Jesus’ eyes are on the prize, and all who follow him must look forward not backward.
Doesn’t Jesus sound a little stubborn here? I mean, what does he want from us? Complete and utter devotion? Our lives to be wholly patterned after his grace, mercy, and love?
The simple answer is “Yes!” As Christians, followers of Christ, Jesus demands nothing less than our whole and entire lives. It’s hard. Sometimes we want to turn and look back, but Jesus has set his eyes to Jerusalem and his paradoxical glory in death to follow. Nothing will stand in his way of following God’s Will and nothing should stand in ours.
I guess stubbornness is not always a bad thing after all.
Thanks be to God.