Rev Michael Barnes, 3/3/19
Jesus set his face to go to Jerusalem. (Lk 9:51). ‘Setting one’s face’ is an unusual expression; it means single-minded, resolute focused, determined… For Jesus, it was also fateful. Confronting the religious and political leaders in Jerusalem would cost his life.
This moment marked a turning point in his ministry. Afterwards, there was no turning back.
Turning points mould our lives. Choices made at crossroads come to define us, setting us on one path to the exclusion of others.
Often, the significance of such a choice is not evident at the time. It only becomes apparent with the benefit of hindsight.
After my HSC, I took a gap year. I didn’t decide to do so; it was my parents’ decision. My father had a sabbatical year at Cambridge University, and it was determined that the whole family would travel with him.
This year changed my life. I was thrown into new situations that broadened my thinking, enriched my experience and left me unsettled. It was a rich experience, and it threw me off course for several years. Perhaps, you can recall similar moments.
To understand the significance of Jesus ‘decision, we need to take a step beyond this. What I did was not premised on implementing a radically new vision, or challenging the authorities of my day. While unsettling, what I did was inherently safe.
Jesus was not.