God's still small voice whispered one word into my soul. It was a word I do not use so I questioned what I was hearing. Then I heard it again: "Resolute!" I checked the meaning: "Determined, fixed and firm in purpose, steadfast, faithful." Next, I looked up the word in the Bible concordance. Bingo! It became obvious that God wanted me to write about the journey Jesus took to the Cross. Luke 9:51 in the NIV says, "As the time approached for Him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem." The Amplified Version puts a little more meat on the bones of this verse: "Now when the time was almost come for Jesus to be received up to heaven, He steadfastly and determinedly set His face to go to Jerusalem." Finally, we have The Passion Translation that fills in any missing pieces for our understanding of what Luke wanted to convey. "Jesus passionately determined to leave for Jerusalem and let nothing distract Him from fulfilling His mission there, for the time for Him to be lifted up was drawing near."
A footnote in The Passion Translation explains, "His exaltation into glory was through the sacrifice of His life on Calvary's cross. Nothing would turn Him aside from being our Sin-Bearer and Redeemer." In my opinion, our author, Luke, seems to have understood the scope of the mission of Jesus more completely than the writers of the other gospels. Luke must have also comprehended that Jesus knew His mission on earth from the very beginning. Imagine Jesus as a young boy reading Holy Scriptures that described His life and death! He would have seen the prophetic nature of the Psalms and remembered their author, David.
According to an explanation of Psalm 22 in The Passion Translation, it contains 33 prophecies that were fulfilled when Jesus was on the Cross. The Psalm begins with the cry that He made while on the Cross. "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but You do not answer, by night, and am not silent." (Verses 1-2) This cry would have reminded Jesus that He would be separated from His holy Father because He was bearing our sins. In verses 6-8 we read about the character of the crowd around Him. "But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: 'He trusts in the Lord; let the Lord rescue Him..." The description of the horrors of the Cross continues: "I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned into wax; it has melted away within me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death." (Verses 14-15) "...They have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing." (Verses 16-18)
David's lament is quite detailed and shockingly brutal. Yet Psalm 22 ends with words that I think would be encouraging and remind Jesus of the goal for His suffering. "Posterity will serve Him; future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim His righteousness to a people yet unborn—for He has done it." (Verses 30-31) Psalm 110 is another prophetic psalm of David. Look at verses 1-3: "The LORD says to my Lord: 'Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.' The LORD will extend Your mighty scepter from Zion; You will rule in the midst of Your enemies. Your troops will be willing on Your day of battle. Arrayed in holy majesty, from the womb of the dawn, you will receive the dew of Your youth."
Jesus did confirm with His Father, while in the Garden of Gethsemane, that the Cross was the only way to accomplish His mission. "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but Yours be done." (Luke 22:42) He was strengthened by an angel sent from heaven, and when He finished praying; Jesus resolutely gave Himself into the hands of those who would nail Him to the Cross. How could He do this? Because of HIs Love! Love gave Him the strength, courage, and determination to accomplish the mission. "...For the joy set before Him He endured the Cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." (Hebrews 12:2-3) We are the joy set before Him!
Joan E. Mathias