When the days drew near for him to be taken up,
he set his face to go to Jerusalem.
Emmy Award Winner Dead of Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound. Former Miss Universe Enters Rehab for the Fifth Time. Headlines like these are so common they barely capture our interest. Many of them have a common theme: a person who experienced extreme popularity couldn’t handle it. Fame can make people do crazy things because they let it define them. Their self-worth becomes dependent upon the opinions of others, and when those opinions change, they are devastated. Whereas they once believed they were superior, they come to believe they are inferior—based solely upon their current level of popularity. We may never be in the headlines, but we have a tendency to do that too.
Jesus knows all about it. He catapulted to stardom, and then His adoring fans abruptly turned on Him. But one striking feature defined His walk through this world: “He set His face toward…” Jesus never let the opinions of others alter His course. They could love Him or hate Him; neither fazed Him. He loved people, but did not let their opinions define Him. One day they tried to make Him king; another day they tried to shove Him over a cliff. Jesus knew that popular opinion was not a reliable guide, so He never based His actions upon His current popularity—or lack of it. He set His face toward the cross, toward the plan of God, toward His purpose, and refused to look back. If we follow His example, we don’t let the opinions of culture, our peers, or even family, alter our course. We set our face toward God’s plan, knowing that we are always and only who He says we are.
When we set our faces toward obedience to God, no one can alter His plan for our lives.