2002-09-05 - Goals
Luke 9:51 And it came about, when the days were approaching for His ascension, that He resolutely set His face to go to Jerusalem;
Jesus is in the final weeks of His earthly ministry. He has performed many amazing miracles, taught the crowds that followed that God loved them and wanted a relationship with them, and prepared His Disciples little by little for the time when he would leave them and return to Heaven.
He came with an agenda. It has been said that He came to die for us. And while that is completely true it is an oversimplification. An agenda is a list of goals. Of course a list can have just one item on it, but that was not the case here. There was a layer of spiritual dust that had formed on the understanding of Who God was in relation to the people. The ritual and customs that had been built up over the years had created distance between the common man and God. One interpretation of the Sabbath day explained that you should not leave your home for the day. A loophole was created that said if you tied a string to your door and ran it down the street to your friend's door the two buildings were connected and you could go between them. The law had been alternately watered down and rigidly applied. The woman caught in adultery was dragged before Jesus to be stoned immediately. Jesus reintroduced forgiveness and mercy against that rigidity. Even then he gave the woman a goal saying, "Go and sin no more."
Jesus' life was a process of teaching and mending from the time He was 12 years old and speaking to the elders in the Temple to the time He left this earth after his brutal crucifixion in our place. His goal was to set mankind free from sin and death. But there was so much groundwork that had to be done before the act of redemption that He came and lived among us to do it. Jesus satisfied the Law with His death and resurrection, but He also put the Law in a different light. He changed it from "Thou shalt not …" to "Love God and your neighbor." If you will love your neighbor you will never wrong him. If you will love God there will be grief over sin coupled with forgiveness and mercy. There will be a desire to, "Go and sin no more." coupled with the understanding of grace upon grace that has been poured on His children.
We set goals for our days even if it is just in the form of a chore list. Set a few goals for your spiritual life. Make them specific, not general. Make them attainable. Determine to pray for five minutes every morning. Make it a priority and do it. And check your progress regularly. "How am I doing?" Maybe keep a diary to track prayers and answers. My martial arts instructor has a phrase he uses: "The goals we set are the goals we get." If you never set goals you will never attain them. Only by setting goals do most of us create the motivation for measurable progress.
Jesus here sets Himself a goal to reach Jerusalem. He had work to do there. He determined that he would not be side-tracked. One version I read said, "He set his face like a flint toward Jerusalem." He was resolute and fixed on the target. It was one more goal along the way toward the ultimate goal and purpose of opening the door of salvation to mankind.
Grace & Peace,
All verses are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.