When the days drew near for him to be taken up,
he set his face to go to Jerusalem.
Luke 9:51 (ESV)
Although this particular hinge in the narrative of the Gospel of Luke takes place well before the passion of Jesus and the events we commemorate in Lent, it is nonetheless the beginning of the end.
Jesus knows, from here on out, the road to accomplishing his mission on earth will be filled with suffering. But what courage can we take from the phrase; “set his face to go to Jerusalem”? This is the literal translation from the original Greek; other versions have translated it: “resolutely set out” (NIV). Jesus resolutely sets his face toward the inevitable difficulty, pain, and suffering.
There are many difficulties that people in our Navajo community face. Some do not know how they will make it through the month without employment. Others try very hard to make it through each day without the crutch of drinking.
Jesus’ example comforts us. He resolved to do what He knew would be hard and carried it through to the end. Jesus resolutely set out to do what we can never do. He set his face to accomplishing our salvation, through his suffering and death. Where our resolutions are often no more than good intentions, Jesus set his face and finished the task (John 19:30).
Through this Good News, the life that Jesus won for us, we can also set our faces to do the difficult work ahead of us. The Christian life is not a life of ease (and Native Ministry is certainly not an easy job), but it is a blessed one. May the joy of knowing Jesus as your Savior encourage and equip you as you set your face to the tasks ahead. When you see a job to do, may God bless you with determination and passion, knowing that where you fall short, He will pick up the slack.
I thank you, my dear Savior, that you accomplished what you set out to do: to win my salvation and the salvation of the whole world. I pray that you strengthen me to set my face to accomplish the difficult things in my life. Amen.
Vicar Tim Norton
Navajo, New Mexico
Read & Reflect: March 6-11
Read: Proverbs 3:5
Reflect: Though we grow in our faith, it can still be difficult to accept that we don’t (and won’t) understand everything. God’s ultimate plan is so much bigger than us, and it is in those hard times that we have to rely on Him and accept that God knows what is best. As a child, do you remember having complete faith in your parents? You knew that they would be there when you needed them. If we could rely on our parents with such faith, how much more can we trust our perfect Heavenly Father?
Read: Isaiah 41:13, Matthew 11:28-30
Reflect: We are not meant to go through this life alone. God is ready, willing, and able to help. He wants to help, so let Him. What burden do you need to give to God today? Which worry can He take from you, to free you up to focus on living life for Him?
Reflect: When you trust in God, your life is blessed. You will see the goodness of God all around you. You will not fear the dry-spells. You show that trust by sharing God’s love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness in everything you do. Which fruit of the Spirit do you struggle with the most? How can you focus on it today? Ask God to help you see the opportunities to use that gift to bless others throughout the day.
Read: John 15: 4-5
Reflect: Whatever God is calling you to do, you cannot do it on your own. To bear fruit, we must remain in Him. To succeed in the big, difficult, worthy tasks, we must trust that Jesus will take our lives and accomplish what we cannot. Without Him, we can do nothing. Study the Scripture. Ask for His guidance and wisdom. Is there a task God has put on your heart?
Read: Isaiah 40:28-31
Reflect: We all grow weary, but our God does not! When you start to falter or want to give up, turn your eyes upon Jesus—your strength, your power, your Savior! When do you feel most tired or rundown? Have your Bible or a page of encouraging scripture nearby. There is no better pick-me-up than the re-realization of Jesus’ love for you!
Read: Exodus 14:13-14
Reflect: Before you go any further, stop! Take a few minutes to be still and quiet. It is impossible to hear God’s voice if you never stop to listen. Know with confidence, God wants to fight for you and with you, as you share Jesus’ love and shine his light in your world.