(As we approach) 2023, many of us set out the new year with resolutions. Resolutions vary from person to person. Some resolve to quit smoking, while others resolve to take more vacations. Undoubtedly, the most popular resolution that people make is to lose weight. During January, gym membership skyrockets to over 15% nationwide, only to significantly drop a couple of months later. Why? Because as sincere as people may be, we just lack the commitment to see our resolutions accomplished. However, Jesus isn’t that way. He is the only one who completes every task he undertakes and does so with intentionality.
For example, take Mark 4:35-41. Here, we see that Jesus intends to cross the other side of the Sea of Galilee. Although it was late and the vessel was caught in a storm, Jesus would not be abated. Instead, Jesus intentionally went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee to show that he was sovereign over the wind and the waves. Another example is the woman at the well in John 4:1-45. As he travels through Samaria, he finds a well to rest at and encounters a woman who desperately needs to drink from the living water Christ offers. The conversation is striking, and Jesus knows her spiritual condition and chooses his words to bring her hope. When you read the gospels, you see that Jesus was not haphazardly wandering through the regions of Palestine, nor was he a victim of circumstance. Instead, the opposite is true. Jesus knew exactly what he was doing at all times because he resolved to do it.
Yes, Jesus had a resolution that was the singular focus of his life and ministry. In Luke 9:51, we read, “he set his face to go to Jerusalem.” This phrase “sets his face” is connected with an Old Testament passage in the book of Isaiah. Isaiah, chapter 50, is the third of the suffering servant songs and foretells the emergence of the Messiah and what he has come to do. Isaiah 50:7 says, “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 shall not be put to shame.” What does “set my face like flint” mean? Flint is not only extremely hard but also an incredibly sharp stone. When used as a description, it illustrates unwavering and unyielding conviction. Before verse 7, Isaiah 50 describes the suffering and agony that this servant will endure. Yet, difficulty and anguish do not deter him, for he has set his face—resolved—to accomplish the task before him.
Fast forward centuries, and this suffering servant with a face like flint has a name. Jesus sets his face toward Jerusalem, where he will meet the end of his life. He tells his disciples in Mark 10:33-34 that he will be delivered, suffer torture and great humiliation, and be condemned to death. Yet, with suffering, agony, and death, he remains undeterred and goes anyway. Can you imagine if Jesus did not go to Jerusalem? What if he decided to avoid Jerusalem out of self-preservation because the cost was too high? If that happened, the world would be forever lost.
Jesus resolved to go to Jerusalem because he would give his life as an atonement for sins, secure redemption, offer forgiveness and open heaven to many through his blood. Jesus had one resolution, and that was to save people.
This article is not intended to guilt us all into keeping our resolutions for 2023. Yes, we should be people who follow through on our commitments and setting goals for the next year is a good thing. But let’s be honest and realize that we will fail in some areas in 2023. There will be some things that will be left unaccomplished and goals that we did not quite meet. However, through all that, we should be reminded of the One who never fails and always follows through. When we compare ourselves to Christ, we see how different we are, but, in the process, we see how willing he was to save a people like us—imperfect, unreliable, and who do not follow through. 2023 will be a year like the others before it. It will be full of unmet and unrealized resolutions. Yet, we know that 2023 has a Savior all because One accomplished his resolution to save.
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