“As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:51)
Today is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week, the day when we remember the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. We read about this in Matt 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-44 and John 12:12-19, and we often comment on the fickleness of the crowds (shouting acclamation and praise on the Sunday but baying for His blood by the end of the week) and the humility of the King in riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, fulfilling prophecy but underlining for us the nature of God’s kingdom and how it radically differs from the ways of the world, with Jesus choosing humility and submission instead of arrogance and personal exaltation.
Yet I am drawn today to a Scripture tucked away in Luke’s Gospel way before the excited bustle and organisational excellence of Palm Sunday, a verse which reminds us that nothing happens without the right attitude or without steadfast commitment: “As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:51)
Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. He alone knew what lay head: the suffering, the rejection, the betrayal, the agony of bearing our sin, the pain He would have to endure. Some versions of the Bible describe ‘resolutely’ as ‘setting His face like flint.’ This was no whim, no fad, no impulse. Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. There was determination, steadfastness, a commitment to God’s plan of salvation which started way before the time of prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane when He prayed for God’s will, not His own, to be done.
Jesus did not arrive in Jerusalem on a donkey by chance. His life was not a random series of events. He resolutely determined to do life God’s way and to embrace God’s purposes and plans. The song ‘My Way’ would never have been found on Jesus’s lips.
Commitment to God’s ways is costly: it cost Jesus His life. It will be costly for us too, perhaps, in different ways. But with resolute determination and unwavering trust in God, we too can journey on in life with inner strength and steadfast determination. Palm Sunday was another stage in the journey of Jesus towards crucifixion and death. We acknowledge that the One who comes in the name of the Lord is blessed and we seek to follow, always, in His footsteps.