The Steadfast Face, Luke 9. 5
David Taylor, Kirknewton
a) As seen in the Lord
There are certain very interesting verses in scripture that tell us something about the face of our Lord. In 2 Corinthians 4. 6 we are told of the shining face that gives the light of the knowledge of the glory of God. In Matthew 26. 67 we have the scorned face that was spat upon. In Matthew 26. 39, we have the submissive face, when He fell on His face and prayed that God's will would be done. And in Revelation 6. 16, we have the searching face that caused men to hide from His presence. But we want for the moment to think of His steadfast face.
In Luke 9. 5 we read, 'When the time was come that he should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem'. Here we see the resolute mind, the purpose of heart and the holy determination of our Lord. What did it mean to him to go to Jerusalem? Why press on so diligently? It meant Gethsemane, the common hall, Golgotha and the grave. This set purpose of mind was ever present in our Lord. In Psalm 40. 6-8, it is said of him prophetically, 'Mine ears hast thou opened ... 1 delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart'. This is quoted in Hebrews 10. 7-8.
b) As seen in others
There are a number of expressions in the word of God that suggest the same thought in others. We have the words of Ruth to Naomi, 'Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee . . . thy . . . people shall be my people, and thy God my God', Ruth 1. 16. When Naomi saw she was steadfastly minded she left off speaking to her. Her mind was fixed.
In the well known story of Daniel and his three companions, Dan. 1, we read that the master of the eunuchs gave them foreign names, and appointed their food and drink, but Daniel purposed in his heart he would not defile himself with the king's meat. The chief eunuch could see difficulties in arranging this, but these were overcome and Daniel did not eat the king's meat. His mind was definitely set. Again, in Daniel 6. 10, when no one was allowed to ask any petition from anyone save the king, Daniel still had his window open toward Jerusalem and prayed as at other times.
In Acts 11, when it became evident that the hand of God was at work in Antioch, Barnabas was sent there to help in the work, and when he had seen how great a number had believed and turned to the Lord he was glad and exhorted them all that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.
In the story of Lot in Genesis 13, when it became necessary for him to separate from Abram, we have this significant phrase in verse 12, 'He pitched his tent toward Sodom'. These words indicate that the purpose of his heart was for a wrong cause, for he was likely to increase his riches in that well watered plain.
c) As seen again the Lord
In Hebrew 12. 2 we read, 'Who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame'. We may ask, 'What joy could possibly be before his mind, while thinking of the cross? Perhaps there were many, e.g. the joy of doing the Father's will, and the joy of seeing heaven filled with people redeemed by His blood. In Isaiah 53. 11, we are told that, 'He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied'. These and other joys were before His mind while pressing on to the loneliness and pain of the cross. So, beyond all His sorrows was this holy joy causing Him to press on with firm resolve, a steadfast mind and unwavering purpose of heart.
In John 13. 1, We were told that, 'Having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end'. Many waters could not quench His love nor the floods drown it. When death stood between Him and His people, love was triumphant. The love that drew salvation's plan, and brought Him from into this world of woe, remained steadfast through death.
In Luke 2. 49, the Lord said to His mother, 'Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?' So, at the very beginning of His life on earth His mind was set, He came not to do his own will, but the will of him that sent Him, John 6. 38. Again, in John 4. 34 he said, 'My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work'. In John 17. 4, he could say, 'I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do'. At all times His mind was fixed and his purpose firm and unalterable.
In Isaiah 42, we read prophetically concerning him, 'Behold my servant, whom 1 uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth'. And, 'A bruised reed shall he not break, and a smoking flax shall he not quench'. This was true of our Lord while here on earth; He was kind to the lost, the last and the least. He expended himself on the bruised reeds and the smoking flax of the sons of men. He bore their griefs and carried their sorrows in life, as Isaiah 58, tells us, and He brought new life to all who trusted Him. Again, in Isaiah 42, we read, 'He shall not fail' that is, be broken like a reed; 'nor be discouraged', or quenched like the smoking flax, 'till he have set judgment in the earth'. Here again we see The Steadfast Face; here, too, the purpose of heart, that ever presses on to the goal.