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A Face Like Flint- the Way of the Disciple by Bryan Craig

March 29, 2024

 

“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 50:5-7 ESV

 

Today is Good Friday.  It is the Day of the Cross.  It is the day when our Lord, our Master, the Way, the Truth, the Life, the One who calls us a friend if we abide with Him, the Word incarnate…this man was brutally executed for all to see.  It has been said that every pastor only needs to preach one message, the Cross of Christ.  I’ve also heard that we Christians must never stop “brooding” over the Cross, which means to hang on to its meaning, no matter how menacing, burdensome or oppressive it may be to us.

I’m always struck with emotion when I truly brood over the Cross.  And when I think of the fact that He suffered this atrocity for ME, it’s more than I can bear.  Recently I’ve read some verses about Jesus and His mission that have really affected me.  In the verse above, Isaiah 50:5-7, Isaiah is prophesying “The Lord’s Servant”, the One whose back would be struck and whose beard would be ripped out and whose face would be spat upon.  Isaiah was speaking about Jesus’s thousands of years before He was even born.  And he says that this servant has “set his face like flint” toward this mission of suffering.  This denotes an unwavering commitment and determination.

Fast forward to Jesus on the scene in Samaria:

“When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make preparations for him. But the people did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem.” Luke 9:51-53 ESV

Yes, this is the same one Isaiah described, the One who would not waver from his destiny to save the world.

On the night He was betrayed, right after He washes the disciple’s feet and has the Last Supper with them, and Judas leaves to betray Jesus, these are the words spoken:

“Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once.”  John 13:31-32 ESV

Once the betrayal was set in motion, Jesus knew His mission was nearly complete.  And then He gives them a new commandment:

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”  John 13:34-35 ESV

In the midst of His betrayal, knowing that His face was set like flint toward intense suffering and abuse, He talks about Love.  The disciples had no idea how much He loved them.  Washing their feet was a shocking act of love, but as John 13:1 says, He would “love them to the end.”  He would love them all the way to the Cross.

He loved us all the way to the Cross.

So what is our response?  Can we live a life of Love, as He commanded, loving others to the end?  Can we set our faces like flint to complete this mission, no matter how difficult, how uncomfortable, or what it might cost us?  This is the way of the Disciple of Christ, to be a Living Sacrifice each day, putting God first, others second and us last.

As you brood on the Cross today, think about your life and your mission.  And remember Jesus’ words, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23 ESV