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DETERMINED TO SUFFER

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Saturday Evening, March 21, 2015

“And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51).


Dr. John Gill said, “Now the time was up, that Jesus must leave the low-lands of Galilee, having finished his work there, and go into the higher country of Judea, and so up to Jerusalem...After this, he never went into Galilee any more...and was determined to go to Jerusalem...though he knew what he was to meet with and endure; that he should bear the sins of his people, the curse of the law, and the wrath of God; that he should have many enemies, men and devils to grapple with, and undergo a painful, shameful and accursed death; yet none of these things moved him, he was [stedfastly set] on going [there]” (John Gill, D.D., An Exposition of the New Testament, The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1989 reprint, volume I, p. 589; note on Luke 9:51).

“And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51).

“He stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem” to die on the Cross. I will bring three thoughts from this text.

I. First, Christ went to the Cross on purpose.

Christ’s crucifixion was not an accident! No! He had already told the Disciples,

“The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day” (Luke 9:22).

Again, He had already told them,

“Let these sayings sink down into your ears: for the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men. But they understood not this saying, and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not: and they feared to ask him of that saying” (Luke 9:44-45).

Although the Disciples did not understand that He was going to Jerusalem to die on the Cross, Christ knew it and understood it. For the third time in Luke’s Gospel, Christ said,

“Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again. And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken” (Luke 18:31-34).

The Disciples expected Jesus to be enthroned as the King and Messiah of Israel. They simply could not understand why He had to die on the Cross. Why? Luke 18:34 says that “this saying was hid from them.” It was not until Christ rose from the dead that He opened “their understanding...And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day” (Luke 24:45-46). Thus, the Disciples had no understanding of the Gospel (I Corinthians 15:1-4) until Christ rose from the dead (cf. John 20:22, 24-28).

But Jesus knew why He was going to Jerusalem. The Apostle John said that Jesus knew “all things that should come upon him” (John 18:4). Yet “he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem” to die on the Cross (Luke 9:51). He knew that God would crush His soul in Gethsemane with the weight of our sins – until He sweat a bloody sweat and cried out for God to save Him from death that night, that He might go to the Cross in the morning. He knew that Pilate would scourge Him, and every time the whip lashed His back, and every time the Blood poured out, and the flesh was torn off of His bones, the scourgers would laugh and mock Him, making His pain more intense and horrible. And Christ knew that He was going to Jerusalem to be nailed to a cross. He knew that they would drag Him from the place of scourging and drive nails through His hands and feet. Then, when the soldiers lifted up the Cross, He would hang for hours, naked, in the hot sun before He died. Yes, Jesus knew all of this; He knew He was going to Jerusalem to suffer, bleed, and die. Yet “he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51). He was not forced to go! No! He went willingly,

“...who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).

Jesus Christ, “for the joy that was set before Him,” “set his face to go to Jerusalem” – to die on the Cross! Stand and sing the chorus, “In the Cross.”

In the cross, in the cross,
   Be my glory ever;
Till my raptured soul shall find
   Rest beyond the river.
(“Near the Cross” by Fanny J. Crosby, 1820-1915).

You may be seated. Yes, Christ went to the Cross on purpose.

“And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51).

II. Second, Christ went to the Cross to leave us an example.

I know that old-time Bible-rejecting liberals, like Harry Emerson Fosdick, overemphasized that point, because they had no other point to emphasize! But it is a point that is in the Bible – so we should sometimes preach on it. Simon Peter was no liberal, and he said,

“Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps” (I Peter 2:21).

Christ “stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem” to suffer and die. And every real Christian should be willing to follow His “example” (I Peter 2:21). Every truly converted Christian ought to willingly go through trials and hardships as Christ, our great example, did.

I know that the so-called “prosperity gospel” is very popular right now. Benny Hinn, Joel Osteen, and many others on TBN, preach “prosperity” constantly. But it is only a passing fad. You won’t be hearing it very much (if at all) ten years from now. During the rise of world-wide terrorism, that is only just beginning, many people will realize that the “prosperity gospel” is a false teaching. The real Gospel calls true converts to a life of self-denial and cross-bearing. Jesus said,

“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23).

Notice that Jesus said, “If any man.” He wasn’t talking about a special group of “super saints.” He said,

“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23).

Don’t get me wrong. I do not believe that human works enter into our salvation. Salvation is all of grace, “not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:9).

“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).

When God is working in you, you will be willing to deny yourself and take up the cross, and go through the anguish of conviction, and come to Christ, and go through trials and heartaches as a Christian because,

“We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).

Someone may say, “If it’s so hard, why would anyone want to become a Christian?” The answer is simple.

“Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power” (Psalm 110:3).

I know that a great many Christians in the Third World have been tortured and imprisoned for their faith. Yet they do not give up Christ. You can read about them on the Internet at www.persecution.com. By God’s grace, you may become like them, as they are like Christ, who “set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51) – for “Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps” (I Peter 2:21). It is by suffering that we grow into mature Christians. God uses the trials and tribulations of the Christian life to make us holier and stronger in the faith. The Apostle Paul said,

“We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Romans 5:3-5).

Then you will be enabled to sing that chorus. I know some of you don’t mean it now, but by God’s grace, some day some of you will mean it. Please stand and sing it again!

In the cross, in the cross,
   Be my glory ever;
Till my raptured soul shall find
   Rest beyond the river.

You may be seated. Yes, Christ went to the Cross to leave us an example – to show us that we need to follow Him no matter what it costs!

“And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51).

III. Third, Christ went to the Cross to atone for our sins.

Jesus told James and John,

“For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them” (Luke 9:56).

Jesus told Zacchaeus,

“The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).

By His death on the Cross, Jesus can save you from judgment, and sin, and the wrath of God. Jesus can save you by dying in your place, to pay for your sins, on the Cross. Jesus deliberately “set his face to go to Jerusalem,” and die on the Cross to atone for your sin. The prophet Isaiah said,

“The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).

“By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities” (Isaiah 53:11).

Christ went to Jerusalem to die in your place, to pay for your sins. That is called His “vicarious atonement.” Dr. Charles Hodge said,

Vicarious suffering is suffering endured by one person in the [place] of another (Charles Hodge, Ph.D., Systematic Theology, Eerdmans, 1946 reprint, p. 475).

As Isaiah put it,

“He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5).

And the Apostle Paul said,

“Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures” (I Corinthians 15:3).

Christ’s death on the Cross satisfies the justice of God. Christ’s death satisfies the law of God. Christ’s death appeases, propitiates, the wrath of God. Thus, Christ’s death reconciles God to us sinners. Christ’s death liberates us from the power of evil. That is why Jesus came down from Heaven. That is why Jesus “set his face to go to Jerusalem” to die on the Cross (Luke 9:51). His death on the Cross will atone for your sin, and you will be saved for all time and all eternity! How we pray that God will draw you to Jesus! Please stand and sing hymn number 3 on your song sheet.

How clearly all His torturing wounds The love of Jesus show.
Those wounds from whence encrimsoned rills Of Blood atoning flow,
Of Blood atoning flow.

How doth the Blood-stained thorny crown Christ’s beauteous head transpierce!
How do the nails those hands and feet Pierce through with tortures fierce!
Pierce through with tortures fierce!

O, come, All ye in whom are found The deadly stains of sin;
Come, wash in His all-saving Blood, And ye shall be made clean;
And ye shall be made clean.
   (“Jesus Wounded” by Edward Caswell, 1849;
      to the tune of “Majestic Sweetness Sits Enthroned).

(END OF SERMON)
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Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Jesus Wounded” (by Edward Caswell, 1849;
to the tune of “Majestic Sweetness Sits Enthroned”).


THE OUTLINE OF

DETERMINED TO SUFFER

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51).

I.   First, Christ went to the Cross on purpose, Luke 9:22, 44-45; 18:31-34;
Luke 24:45-46; I Corinthians 15:1-4; John 20:22, 24-28; John 18:4;
Hebrews 12:2.

II.  Second, Christ went to the Cross to leave us an example, I Peter 2:21;
Luke 9:23; Ephesians 2:9; Philippians 2:13; Acts 14:22; Psalm 110:3;
Romans 5:3-5.

III. Third, Christ went to the Cross to atone for our sins, Luke 9:56; 19:10;
Isaiah 53:6, 11, 5; I Corinthians 15:3.