Year after year, people list resolutions for the new year. Often they include losing weight, getting back to the gym, stopping smoking, getting out of debt, etc. Yet, the majority of individuals fail to achieve their goals. A study in 2015 found that only 64% last longer than one month and a mere 46% remain committed to 6 months. Another source notes that almost 80% give up at some point during the year.
Resolution: a firm decision to do or not do something. Such a solid intent should not be so easily broken or given up. Yet, they are…by countless numbers every year…and by me. (One of my goals for this year was to get back to writing.) And then there are those who stick to their decisions – who keep their promises and reach their goals.
Luke 9:51 records his resolve when it came to the events of the crucifixion. The Message states he “gathered up his courage and steeled himself for the journey to Jerusalem.” Other versions record that Jesus “”resolutely set out for Jerusalem (NIV), he “\determined to go to Jerusalem” (CEB), and that he “set his face to go to Jerusalem (ESV).
The wording in Greek means “to make a decision, with emphasis upon finality—‘to decide firmly, to resolve, to make up one’s mind definitely’… ‘to decide firmly,’…‘to decide and to refuse to change one’s mind’ or ‘to decide and not to change.” (Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 359.) The ESV phrasing that he “set his face” is a Hebrew expression for firmness of purpose in spite of danger.
This irrevocable decision kept Jesus focused on his purpose. It was the Father’s will that His Son suffer and die for our sins. Jesus knew this…and he determined, he resolved to achieve his goal…in spite of danger.
Jesus knew he was going to be betrayed and beaten…he set his face. It was going to be messy and painful and He knew you and I would cost him his very life – yet still he went willingly to the cross.
He had opportunities to give up or ditch the plan. Satan offered him alternatives (Matthew 4:1-11). He resisted the easy way out. His prayer in the Garden firmed his resolve in spite of the difficult task before him (Luke 22:41-44). Jesus was steadfast in achieving his purpose until, on the cross, He said “It is FINISHED.”
Jesus didn’t quit. His resolution, his resolve, his determination secured our salvation.