Isaiah 50:7    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.

Luke 9:51   When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.

Our expectation of the future determines the way we will face it. How would you face the future if you knew what really would meet you around the invisible corner of time? Hope is something that uniquely belongs to human beings. Jesus fully knew what awaited Him on this journey to Jerusalem (see Mark chapter 9 and following, John 11 and following, Luke 9 and following, or Matthew 16 and following ). If he chose to go towards Jerusalem, it would lead an inevitable future: your forgiveness, His death.

Determination (look forward)

Israel had long awaited a deliverer. They awaited a Messiah who would rescue them; what this rescue would look like no one knew. Would it be religious freedom? A new definitive interpretation on religion? Would it be political freedom? A freedom from oppression and aggression from foreign rule? Would it be social freedom? Would everyone final be free from want and need?

The beauty of the Incarnation is that it leaves all previous understandings of the Messiah in tatters. Jesus’ rescue would be such that the world had never seen. The dreams of religious, political or social freedom held by all would be mere appetizers for the greatness of the miracle that Jesus would accomplish in Jerusalem.

The coach Vince Lombardi once commented, “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack in will.” Jesus’ rescue is incredible because only he had the resolve to say, “Father, not my will but Yours be done.”

Determined (look back)

The only way to have the resolute determination to face your future and embrace it is to look back. Look back and see the story of relentless grace pursuing you. Easter is the story that long before you ever knew and loved God, He knew and loved you.

The Real You

“25 And he cried to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a log, and he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet. There the LORD made for them a statute and a rule, and there he tested them,26…I am the LORD, your healer.”

     Exodus 15:25-26

Read Exodus 15:22-27

Have you ever had a knee jerk reaction when driving? Perhaps someone cut you off. Perhaps the other driver was engaging in some aggressive driving. What is your first reaction? If you are like me you may voice you frustration with a grunt, a sigh or even get angry at the other driver. I remember doing this sort of complaining. Immediately, I apologized and made excuses for myself. I told my wife, “It wasn’t really me. It was just my Mediterranean upbringing.”

Who we really are is revealed when we are pushed to our limits.

In this story the people of Israel have successfully escaped the clutches of Pharaoh. They are now free, hot, tired and thirsty. When they finally find a desert well. They discover its waters, like so many other desert wells, are bitter. They feel let down.

Their response: murmur. There are over a dozen passages in the Pentateuch where such ‘murmuring’ is mentioned. They grumble against Moses. They grumble against God.  By their grumbling reaction, Israel showed only too clearly their true nature when under test.

Here is the first of successive heart surgeries where God wants to heal Israel. God desires to change Israel in such a way that when pushed in extremis—to its visceral limit—it will ooze not bitterness but sweetness.

God proclaims that he will turn the bitter into sweet. Many years later in a Garden called the “Olive Press” (Gethsemane).  The real personality of a person pushed to the extreme will be revealed. It is only when olives are crushed that they yield a beautiful and healing oil. Jesus, when pushed to his extreme limit, shows us the true healing of the heart that God desires to effect in humanity. He wants to take our grumbling and bitterness and turn it into something beautiful and sweet. It is in the waters of testing, that Jesus transforms our will into something beautiful.

Today let God heal you.


“Father, as I go through the pressures of life, may I discover the who I really am. May I also become who you really desire me to be. Test me. Try me. Purify me. Fashion me more in your image that I may be able to say ‘Your will be done’ rather than ‘My will be done.’ I ask this all for the sake of your Son, Jesus.  Amen.”