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"He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem [to the cross]." (Luke 9:51)

Introduction

Have children or teens present line up outside and race (giving no clear instructions) See how many stop and say - "where to?" etc. Use this to emphasis the fact that many times we race around in life but do not have a clear goal. Ask: "Where are you going?"

In Luke 9 we see how Jesus had the goal of the cross. Luke 9:51 says "He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem." (to the cross).

Glory

Three of the disciples (Peter, James and John) were privileged to see the glory of Jesus on the mountain. This is referred to as the "Transfiguration." The appearance of Jesus was changed and His robe was white and glistening. Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus and they spoke together about the death Jesus was to face in Jerusalem. Peter wanted to build three tabernacles (tents for worship) as his weak attempt to try to capture the moment and not let it slip away. God spoke to them at this time and said about Jesus: "This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!"

What was the purpose of this experience for those three disciples? Perhaps it was to remind them that they served the living God. There could be no shadow of a doubt of Whom they served. Also, Jesus was encouraged and strengthened by this before He experienced the strain of facing the crucifixion.

Do you know the glory of God in your life? Do you know His presence, His peace, His encouragement? Jesus prayed for us as recorded in John 17:22, "And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one."

Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 3:16-18: "Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror, the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord."

God alone is truly great. Many times the glory of God is described in the Bible as "bright" and "shining." When we give glory to God we are praising Him for His greatness. Jesus is the perfect revelation of the glory of God. He shows people what God is really like. People who come to know God in Christ share His glory. This means that God changes them so they become more and more like Christ. (John 1:1-18; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18; 4:6)

Think of it! Jesus wants us to share His glory! What an awesome thought! Peter, James and John saw with their own eyes the glory of Jesus. We, too, can know His glory in our lives, not by what we see with our physical eyes, but what we can experience of His love and presence in our lives.

Goal

Jesus never got side-tracked from His goal of the cross. Yes, He healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, raised dead people and many other miracles. His purpose was to "seek and save the lost." John wrote the reason for his record of the events of the time of Jesus: "These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through believing, you may have life in His name." (John 20:31)

As the time for the crucifixion got nearer, Jesus continued to "set His face toward Jerusalem."

Are you following God's plan for your life? Or are you getting "side-tracked" from following Him? There were those who knew Jesus and let other things (good things) side-track them from following the Lord. In verses 57-62 some said, "I will follow You wherever You go." Jesus reminded them that He made no promises of an easy life. He Himself did not have a place to lay His own head. (He had no home of His own). Another person said, "Let me first go and bury my father." (That might seem a legitimate reason for not following straightaway. But, there was no mention that the father was dead!) In other words, that person wanted to wait until his father was dead and buried and then he would follow Jesus. If we truly want to follow Jesus, we must give Him complete loyalty. Following Jesus comes before our jobs, income, social commitments, education, and family relationships. And, to follow Christ means we must be faithful to the end. None of this half-baked easy believism type of faith, but total commitment. Our service for the Lord must take first place in our lives or it does not take place at all.

Ask yourself - Am I doing what is God's best preparation for Heaven and for serving God here or is it going to side-track me from God's goal for me? Will what I am doing help me keep God first in my life or will it side-track me from serving God? Am I busy doing good things but not God's goals for me?

Grace

Jesus did not stay on the mountain with his three disciples. He came down to where the people were. He never lost sight of the needs all around Him even though His ultimate goal was the cross.

Straight after coming down from this wonderful experience of the transfiguration, Jesus was met by a huge crowd with a demon-possessed child. Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit and healed this child. Then Jesus faced petty bickering by the disciples squabbling over who was going to be greatest! And, He faced rejection of the preaching done in a village of the Samaritans.

Life goes on. We cannot stay in our "mountain-top" type experiences. We must face the challenges of everyday life, just like Jesus did.

We must never lose sight of the needs all around us. We must never spend our time just gazing into the sky revelling in the glory of God that we forget the needs God wants us to help with all around us. Usually our problem is not that we spend too much time praying and reading God's Word. We usually don't spend enough time to hear from God what He wants us to do. But, then we need to do what He shows us to do. We can't help with every need, but God will give us areas of service if we are willing to serve Him. Ask Him to show you how you can serve Him. There are those who need encouragement, maybe a meal or visit, and especially our prayers. There are needs in the church needing to be filled. There are needs of teaching, leading, singing, cleaning, gardening, visiting, etc. What are you doing in your life that is directly affecting people and pointing them to the Lord?

The followers of Jesus saw all the mighty miracles He did and they "were all amazed at the majesty of God." (Luke 9:43) If we do whatever we do for Jesus, others will see the majesty of God in our lives, too, because they will see that we do it for the love of Jesus.

How?

How can we share in Christ's glory, have His goal and live by His grace?

Jesus said, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me." (Luke 9:23)

Jesus is not talking about denying ourself some thing, but deny ourself, our ambitions, our self-interest. Self must no longer rule our lives. When He says we are to "take up our cross" we are to live dead to self-centeredness. This wasn't just to the twelve disciples He was speaking, but to all who desire to follow Him. This is for you and me.

Are you madly racing through life, but you don't know His goal for you? Are you experiencing His glory, His peace and presence in your life? Have you asked Him to clean up your self-centered life and give Him 100% loyalty? Why don't you do that now? He will bless your life and reward you with the knowledge of His presence in your life here and in eternity you will delight in being in His presence forever and ever.

Note:

Unless otherwise stated, all Bible quotations are from the New King James Version.

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