As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.
Determined to Save
There are different ways to describe people who are deeply committed to their mission. Sometimes they are called pit bulls, or maybe it is said of them that they have a laser focus. They’re the type of self-starters who carry out their assigned duties with no holds barred, and give 110 percent. Or perhaps they are described as true believers and people who are willing to do anything to get the job done right and on time. The point of all these descriptions is simple and straightforward: these folks are not halfway committed to their cause, they are bound and determined. Nothing and no one is going to stop them.
We might not naturally picture Jesus that way, as someone stepping over anyone who gets in his way to fulfill his mission. It’s more likely that we picture him the way Christian artists have traditionally portrayed him, as a soft, gentle, good shepherd type who wouldn’t hurt a flea. But while it’s true that Jesus is the world’s ultra-gentle Good Shepherd, who carries his lambs close to his heart (Isaiah 40:11), he’s also the mightiest of warriors, a singular soldier in God’s salvation army. He has a mission, and he is bound a determined to fulfill it.
That’s how St. Luke pictures Jesus for us today, as a man who “resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” And why was he going there? To die for the sins of the entire world.
Being bound and determined to face your death is not at all natural for human beings, especially when it promises to include the kind of brutality that Jesus’ death entailed. But not only was Jesus willing to endure that kind of death, he was bound and determined to do so.
And why? Because of his unchanging and unconditional love for you and me and every sinner. Yes, Jesus is bound and determined to save us not because we’ve deserved it; but because we need him to do it so desperately.
And nothing will stop him from carrying out his saving mission perfectly.
Jesus, thank you for being so bound and determined to save me and all sinners. Lead me always to trust in your unfailing love and salvation. Amen.