Face Like a Flint

Opening thoughts: Okay, so I started reading tonight in Luke a continuation from last night, and right off the bat I was struck between the eyes with something really HARD .. a FLINT. If you don’t know what a flint it is a type of rock that is measured at 7 out of 10 on the “Mohs scale of mineral hardness” It’s very hard, therefore has been used as ancient tools, lighting gun powder etc. If you were able to wear a suit that was made entirely out of flint into battle, and still be able to move … nothing could penetrate you. What if our faces were made of flint?? Just a thought … This is where we transition into tonight’s continued study on Luke chapter 9.

Scripture: Luke 9:51-56 ESV

A Samaritan Village Rejects Jesus:
[51] When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. [52] And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make preparations for him. [53] But the people did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. [54] And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” [55] But he turned and rebuked them. [56] And they went on to another village.

Taken Up: I was not very good in school. I know that’s hard to believe since my grammar is good 🙂 Truth is all my posts are edited by Danae for grammar and punctuation, she cringes when I tell her that I couldn’t wait for her to edit and I just had to go ahead and post it! I didn’t have a problem with school work, it was the tests that I had the issue with. Tests always revealed how much or little I knew (usually the latter).  A smart person will prepare well in advance for a test, they study, they drill themselves, then they get someone else to ask them questions just to see if they’re ready for it. I remember often times when I studied for a test that I would be called on by my friends to hang out, watch a movie, eat popcorn and relax. Many times I remember giving into those temptations and dropping my studies, forgetting all about the test until it was too late.

Jesus knew that His time was drawing near to be taken up (“When the days drew near for him to be taken up”). But what does it mean by taken up? I mean, taken up does not sound that bad, does it? This would be the greatest test of His human existence. This is what He came to earth for, to be the sacrificial Lamb for the unworthy lawbreakers of the world, like you and me. So, for Jesus to be taken up didn’t just mean a quick trip to heaven, it meant denial of self, being beaten to a pulp, carrying His cross and being horrifically murdered at both the hand and the will of God. This was a test that anyone would not look forward to.

Set His Face Like Flint: Have you ever heard the term “Game Face”? This is the definition taken from the Urban Dictionary: “a confident swagger you bring out when you are about to get ready to tackle something difficult, or when you are about to take on a challenge. Or when you are getting ready to get down to hard business.” Have you ever had to do something so hard that you knew you just had to suck it up and go for it. History is filled with people who have had their arms, legs, fingers and more cut off all without anesthesia, that’s because there was none. These people would be informed about the procedure they would be undergoing, some would be liquored up and some would prefer to stay sober. The point is, they knew what needed to be done and because they feared death more than getting their leg chopped off they would put their “Game Face” on, bite the stick, and let it begin.

Jesus knew exactly what awaited Him and because He knew His time was drawing near He set His face toward Jerusalem. The prophet Isaiah prophecies about this event

Isaiah 50:7 ESV
[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.

Jesus knew that God was in total sovereign control. He knew that in the end God would not leave Him in the ground DEAD. No one had ever been raised from the dead in body up to this point, this would be the first. Jesus set His face like stone toward His place of death because it was the will of God, and He was totally confident in the Father’s will.

He Sent Messengers: I remember growing up getting into scraps with my sisters. Most times it was my fault but the odd time it was theirs. I still remember clearly standing in my bedroom waiting for my correction:-) I would stand in front of my dad explaining my side of the story and how it was really not my fault at all. On the odd occasion that the story passed as true, I would be released and told to, “Go get your sister and send her in here”. As a kid I remember feeling relieved that I escaped a spanking and joyful that my sister was about to receive one. When I delivered the message I was usually not greeted with a friendly face but rather one of hostility. I was behind enemy lines and it wasn’t safe.

Messengers are often treated poorly. The phrase “Don’t shoot the messenger” speaks for itself. This was a literal term used in the day when men and kings in authority would kill anyone that brought bad news to them. Wicked men would spare only those who would flatter them with their words. In the text we read “And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make preparations for him”. Jesus sent His disciples ahead of Him as messengers. They were to go to the Samaritan village and prepare housing for them so that they could rest. He had a task at hand and He had His face set like Flint toward completing it. When His messengers got to the village they were rejected because they found out that Jesus was not there to stay with them, but that He was headed for Jerusalem, and because there was so much conflict between Samaritans and Jews they rejected Jesus and would not allow Him to stay.

We Are His Rejected Messengers: Anyone who professes to bear Christ’s name is to bear His message. Most times we will be the objects of wrath for the message we bear. Too often today the church has made an effort to soften the message of repentance toward God and faith in Christ alone in order to minimize the suffering that goes with proselytizing. John the Baptist was murdered for Christ’s message; so was Peter, Paul, Stephen, James, John, Timothy, Luke, Thomas, Jude, James, Matthew and all the rest of them as well… They were murdered because they bore the message of Christ. The message that proclaims God’s holiness, our wretchedness, God’s wrath, our need for repentance, and the Good News of the amazing grace. This not so popular message has been responsible for the death of Millions upon Millions of messengers who all had their ‘Faces set like Flint’.

Matthew 10:22 “and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”

Enduring Until the End: I love how this passage in Matthew just nails it! You will be hated by ALL for My name’s sake. That’s a really encouraging word. I’ve never seen that one as a church slogan.  🙂 Our command is not to win a popularity contest, it’s to obey God and be the messenger of Christ according to His command to us. Are you preaching a message that everyone loves? If you are then you likely have the wrong gospel. Do you ever open your mouth and tell your friends that they are on the path of destruction, mention hell, and then show them their liberty through the Cross? Or do you just tell them that “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life if you will just pray this short prayer”? Because that’s not the gospel. I’m going to challenge you right now to set your Face Like Flint and go into every village to prepare that place for Jesus coming.

Final Thought: We are not called to bring judgment down on people if they reject the message. This is what the disciples wanted to do when the village rejected Christ,And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” [55] But he turned and rebuked them. [56] And they went on to another village. We are simply called to proclaim the Gospel and leave the results up to God. If they reject us, they reject Christ and we move on to another village to prepare them for Jesus. I hope that you are encouraged to go out and share the gospel with everyone you meet.

Preparing The Way
~ Shane Martin