Jesus realized that the time for him to return to heaven was drawing near so he set out for Jerusalem “determined to carry out his role.” Passing through a Samaritan village the people wouldn’t receive him because it was clear to them that he was “determined to go on to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51-52). It is clear from these verses that Jesus was totally committed to the task assigned him by the Father. He had come into the world to lay down his life as a redemptive sacrifice and now the time had some. We was focused on that crucial event soon to happen. He was determined to get to Jerusalem and determined to carry out his role.
What we see here is a remarkable personal commitment to a redemptive task that goes way beyond our ability to imagine. God had assigned him the task of bearing the sins of the world, and he was determined to carry it out.
Since Jesus is the model for Christian living, what does this say about how we are to live? Obviously, we are to approach the difficult tasks of life with determination as he did. But isn’t determination simply an expectation of any secular code of ethics. Many years ago Bonaparte said that “resolute determination is the truest wisdom.” Long before that, Buddha said that the sure way to reach Nirvana was to “walk the eightfold noble path with unswerving determination.” So in what way is determination a Christian ethic? And the answer is, In no special way if you mean an ethic that belongs solely to the Christian faith. The vast majority of ethical maxims in the western world are equally applicable in both worlds. The interesting fact is that the so-called secular code of western civilization is based on the Judea-Christian ethic clearly stated in the biblical record. It is not by accident that we in the west enjoy a level of moral expectation that honors women, responds to humanitarian needs, and plays a major role in that which is beneficial to all.
Jesus faced his coming test with determination. Hebrews says of him that he was “tempted in every way, just as we are — yet he did not sin” (4:15). In the garden of Gethsemane he wrestled with the decision. With tears he pled, “Abba, Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me” yet concluded, “Not what I will, but what you will (Mark 14:36). Jesus’ determination becomes our model for what it means in life to face every difficult choice with a strength of conviction that remains firm to the very end.