Lenten Reader | Day 1


As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 
-Luke 9:51
At this point in his gospel, Luke writes, “Jesus resolutely set out (literally, 'hardened his face to go’) for Jerusalem.” In other words, Jesus shifted his attention toward the holy city. It may seem a bit premature this early in the story, but Jesus was determined, now, more than ever, to accomplish the purpose for which he had been born.

Nothing could stand between Jesus and the cross, yet everyone tried. First, there was Herod, who sought him as a child. Then, there was Satan, who attempted to distract him with the kingdoms of this earth. Large crowds wanted to take him out. Even, Peter tried to get in the way. But Jesus overcame them all, determined and deliberate to “finish the work the Father had given him to do” (John 17:4) by aligning himself to the cross for our salvation.

The first eight chapters in Luke describe Jesus’ ministry in the northern region of Galilee, the place where he called his disciples to follow him. It’s not until chapter 19 that Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem, where he was crucified and raised to life. It’s here where Jesus sends out his disciples to make more disciples of every nation. In the space between the calling and the sending (chapters 9-19), Jesus transformed and shaped his followers in the despised region of Samaria.

Some of the greatest stories that have ever been told came out of this journey between Galilee and Judea. And this is the basis for the content of our Lenten Reader. Without them, we would know nothing of a “good Samaritan” or a “prodigal son,” darkened in our understanding of love for neighbor and the forgiveness of a Heavenly Father.

So, it’s my prayer that you will allow the Lenten Reader to form you and shape you in the coming weeks, just as Jesus intended for his first disciples on their journey through Samaria — all while setting your sights, or “hardening your face,” to the cross of Christ.

-Jon Welch