Luke 9:51 In My Mind I’m Gone to Jerusalem

Garden of Gethsemane

*A Koinonia Fellowship is focused on the God’s Presences

When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.” [NRSA: Lk 9:51]

Why one verse?

This verse is the central turning point in the Gospel of Luke. Everything in the first half of Luke is leading to this moment, and everything following leads to the cross.

We all are grateful for the formative works of grace, the loving relationships, the moments of study, service, and worship that shape our lives to the point in which we recognize God’s love for us personally. Our moment of salvation was accomplished in Christ millennia ago, but there are moments in our own relationship with God in Christ that we accept and acknowledge this in our lives personally.

And within this moment we may at first begin this transformation spiritually, physically, or mentally, but today we make the turning point in Jesus’s life and ministry and learn more about our own journeys.

This one first holds the most dramatic actions of Jesus “setting his face on Jerusalem.” 

It is not that Jesus has learned everything at this point, and no further testing or temptation would follow, it is the defining moment that we dedicate the remaining days on this earth to the work of God in our lives.

I had grown up going to church all my life. I mean my earliest memories are being with church families, doing church activities, worship and fellowship dinners. I played at the church, I ate at the church, I took naps at the church. I had a desk in my father’s office made where I did my work while he did his. I am privileged, not because I’m (white-middle-class-educated-male), I’m privileged because I have been surrounded by people devoted to serving, worshiping, seeking Christ from my earliest years. 

On one hand, there are those who are overloaded by this and rebel after a childhood of church. 

I found strength from Sunday school teachers, youth leaders, confirmation leaders, choirs, drama teams, worship teams, and summer camp… In fact, it was a camp Glisson that I put all the pieces together and recognized all the words, songs, and services were calling me personally to the heart of Christ. 

Every day since that Thursday evening, I have been growing toward God’s heart. Now some days I have grown stagnate and even run the other way at times, but I have never been out of God’s sight and grasp. 

The mission trips, the call to ministry, the school work, the line of congregations, dissertation, and daily work of being a United Methodist minister can point back to a pew, on the second row on the right-hand side of the chapel, where the heart was turned toward Christ. 

Your journey has been different from mine, and no one person’s journey is to that of someone else. My advisor at Gammon Seminary, Jonathan Jackson, was a classmate of Martin Luther King Jr.  He shared that he struggled to be like Martin but could never live up to the dedication that Martin expressed and he felt that he had failed himself and God. In his heart he heard God speak, clear as day, telling him. I only needed on Martin and I only need one Johnathon Jackson, set your path on becoming Johnathon. 

Jesus spent much time preaching, healing, teaching and traveling, until Luke 9:51. When he set his face on Jerusalem, he had a singular mission. 

What did it mean to head to Jerusalem?

For Jesus particularly it meant the precious gift of the cross and his glory and grace for us. But, why did thousands journey to Jerusalem through the years and millions still today?

Why Jerusalem?

  • Jerusalem is the place where Abraham offers his adult son, his only son, as an offering to God. 
  • Jerusalem is the place of the temple, the art, the holy of holies, the dwelling place of God where God’s people came to worship, make offerings, and find the home that was guided by the Holy Spirit to rest. 
  • Jerusalem is the place of pilgrimage. The spiritual journey of walking in the steps where generations of previous worshippers and servants have traveled to learn, find, and celebrate God’s power and grace.
  • Jerusalem is filled with demarcations of other religions and that is no different as Egyptian, Babylonian, Roman, and Muslim faiths and cultures have known its power and significance. 
  • Jerusalem for Jesus was the fulfillment of God’s love revealed on the cross.
  • We could have political discussions about Jerusalem today, and 
  • Jerusalem for us is the tourist destination for some, territory to defend and protect for others, but what is it for us in Rock Spring?

Jerusalem is a witness of God’s promises and presence fulfilled

  • It is the call to worship
  • It is the reminder that God has a purpose for us in Christ
  • It is the living history to shape our present and our future.
  • It is the promise of restoration, resurrection, and return to take us home.
  • Jerusalem is the place that Christ has promised to first reveal himself when he comes. 

Off all the signs to anticipate it is not weathers, wars, and fammon: THE sign is the coming of Christ for the children of God, for the church, for the elect, for the righteous. 

What’s the big deal about Jerusalem?

If we say we have no need for Jerusalem, we have no need to be looking for Christ.

The Koinonia Fellowship is the people of Christ who anticipate Christ’s return today and every day until he comes.

  • Jerusalem continues to be a place of learning and preparing
  • A place of prayer and service
  • A place of worship and spiritual connection…

The key is looking there for the moment Christ’s face is revealed again to us. 

  • We know Jesus in the words of a song
  • We know Jesus in the words of scriptures
  • We know Jesus in the hands of loving service
  • We know Jesus in the symbols and rituals of our faith
  • We know Jesus in the fellowship of the Church…

But there is coming the moment that Jesus’s face will be set upon those who he will come to take with him to the place he has gone to prepare for those who believe and trust.

It is much more important to seek the face of Christ than the signs of the end.

  • For all those who wonder if the wars and rumors of wars,
  • The unrest in ours and all the nations of the world
  • The signs of nature and politics that begin to fit into place,

Therefore, our task is to not wait to find for ourselves that moment of turning and yield, giving ourselves to accepting Christ

And for those who have accepted we are called to lead, encourage, and disciples others who are struggling to find Christ for themselves.

The church may be in a stressful and even oppressed time, yet we are all-the-more needed to help a word that is lost in politics, fear, worry, shame, sin, and self to find that Christ indeed has died and lives for them.

Imagine facing these weary days without the promises of Christ? We cannot be true to Christ and ignore the spiritual hunger and spiritual blindness of those wandering through these days. 

Our mission, work, and calling is now and always to make disciples of Jesus Christ, which means helping people turn their hearts to Christ, the cross, Jerusalem, and grace God has revealed for us all.

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