While in Japan I had the privilege of hearing my youngest son preach in his pastor’s absence. He had the congregation greet one another and, then, share something Jesus did that they would like to do. For me, I wanted an upturned ear like Jesus had. Jesus lived with an ear always tilted up to the Father, always listening for what the Father would say to Him. Jesus always obeyed that word. He went where the Father asked Him to go. He said what the Father told Him to say. He did what the Father asked Him to do. Jesus had a sensitive, listening ear and an obedient heart.
This morning as I read Luke 9:51-53 and Isaiah 50:4-7, I saw this truth powerfully illustrated. I love it when Bible passages link arms and inter-lace fingers.
Isaiah chapter fifty is prophetic, speaking of Jesus 700 years before He came to earth to live among us. I hear Jesus’ voice in these ancient verses.
“The Lord God has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I might know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught. The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious; I turned not backward. I gave my back to those who strike, and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard; I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting. But the Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame” (Isaiah 50:4-7 ESV).
Clearly Jesus speaks of His harsh treatment prior to the crucifixion. These words that foretell details of His life hundreds of years in advance stun me. But even more stunning is the upturned ear and His surrendered life. Jesus “set his face like a flint” to obey, whatever the cost.
The content of this passage created a tightly woven fabric of thought for me when I laid it beside my morning reading in Luke.
“When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he SET HIS FACE to go to Jerusalem…But the people did not receive him, because his FACE WAS SET toward Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51,53 ESV).
Jerusalem meant the Cross. Jesus knew this. His disciples, too, knew that Jerusalem meant danger. They tried to dissuade Jesus from going but Jesus set His face, determined to do what the Father asked.
What an amazing and glorious mystery that our Heavenly Father speaks to us, too. He gives us His Holy Spirit to indwell us and deliver the message to our spiritual ear. So let us tip our ears inward to listen for the Holy Spirit’s promptings, ready to set our face to do what He tells us.
Live the mystery.