Can you explain how Jesus “set his face” in Luke 9:51?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Luke chapter 9 conveys these Divine words: “[51] And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, [52] And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. [53] And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.” The Lord Jesus has departed Galilee (northern Israel) bound for Jerusalem (southern Israel): He must therefore pass through Samaria (central Israel). He is looking toward Jerusalem out in the distance, having already made up His mind to establish it as His destination. The Samaritans are displeased with Him, thus refusing to lodge Him as He journeys southward (see our “Was Jesus Christ a dispensationalist during His earthly ministry?” study linked at the end of this article).

Just a short time prior in chapter 9, we read: “[20] He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God. [21] And he straitly charged them, and commanded them to tell no man that thing; [22] Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day…. [30] And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias: [31] Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease [departure, death] which he should accomplish at Jerusalem…. [43] And they were all amazed at the mighty power of God. But while they wondered every one at all things which Jesus did, he said unto his disciples, [44] Let these sayings sink down into your ears: for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men. [45] But they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not: and they feared to ask him of that saying.”

Verse 51 says Christ “stedfastly set his face.” That is, He is resolute or determined to go to Jerusalem, despite the impending danger of which He most assuredly is aware. Jerusalem is ultimately where He will be murdered—and He knows it. Yet, His earthly ministry has about six months left, so He must be about His Father’s business in teaching, preaching, and healing. In fact, Luke chapter 9 apparently overlaps with John chapter 7, the Lord going to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. This would be the autumn just prior to the spring (Feast of Passover) during which He will die. In Luke chapter 17, verse 11, we find Him on His final pilgrimage to Jerusalem (this is Passover).

Also see:
» Was Jesus Christ a dispensationalist during His earthly ministry?
» Why did Jesus offer Himself to Israel if He knew they would reject Him?
»  Did little boy Jesus know He was going to die?