Running With Mark 42

Day Forty-Two – February 8, 2020  


Luke 17:10-20 New Revised Standard Version

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn Drawings and illustrations, 1655

What would you do if you knew you were going to die?

I think I would like to spend as much time with my family as possible.  I’d love to be in the mountains with them, reveling in God’s creation.


During his 3 years of ministry, Jesus knew what the outcome would be.  He knew he would lose his life for loving the world as he did.


The gospel writer Luke often uses this phrase: “he set his face” to go to Jerusalem.  (Luke 9:51, Luke 9:53).  Jesus visibly and consciously chooses to walk the path that was ahead of him.


“On the way to Jerusalem” (v. 11a).  Earlier Luke introduced Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem with these words: “When the days drew near for (Jesus) to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem” (9:51).  Jerusalem, of course, is where Jesus will die in accord with God’s plan.  Luke reminds us periodically that Jesus is on this journey (9:53; 13:22; 17:11; 18:31; 19:11), which will end when he arrives at Jerusalem in 19:28.  With each reminder of Jerusalem, we who know the rest of the story see the cross looming in the distance.[1]


Yet, even though he knows what is ahead of him, Jesus is still fully in the present, preaching, teaching and healing.  On the way to Jerusalem, he heals ten lepers of their disease.  Only one returns to say, “thank you”.  Yet Jesus pressed on. 


In many ways Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. reminds me of Jesus having his face set to Jerusalem.  Dr. King’s face was set toward the vision of civil rights and dignity for all.  Dr. King was also a pacifist and spoke out strongly against the war in Vietnam.


King said this of his belief in non-violent, pacifism:

“True pacifism,” or “nonviolent resistance,” is “a courageous confrontation of evil by the power of love” (King, Stride, 80).


Dr. King had been the recipient of hateful messages and death threats toward himself and his family. He had endured wrongful, shameful treatment.  He had witnessed his fellow civil rights activists being beaten, attacked with firehoses and billy clubs.  Many of us would have stopped.  We would have retreated home.  We would abandon the cause, not because we no longer believed in it, but because we were afraid for our lives.  Yet, Dr. King, like Jesus heading toward Jerusalem, chose to press on. 


Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered a powerful message that has come to be known as “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop”.  To watch the video, click on this link:

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr – I’ve Been to the Mountaintop


He preached it on April 3, 1968, the day before he would be assassinated. In his sermon, he said this:

Now, it doesn’t matter, now. It really doesn’t matter what happens now. I left Atlanta this morning, and as we got started on the plane, there were six of us. The pilot said over the public address system, “We are sorry for the delay, but we have Dr. Martin Luther King on the plane. And to be sure that all of the bags were checked, and to be sure that nothing would be wrong with on the plane, we had to check out everything carefully. And we’ve had the plane protected and guarded all night.”

And then I got into Memphis. And some began to say the threats or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers?

Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop.

And I don’t mind.

Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!

And so I’m happy, tonight.

I’m not worried about anything.

I’m not fearing any man!

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!!


How are you engaged in works of justice?

Have you paused to thank God for your life?



Because of Your Love

Let All Things Now Living



Prayer Focus:

Pray that you, like Jesus and Dr. King, will be “a courageous confrontation of evil by the power of love”


Grace and peace,
Pastor Karen Bruins