Jesus set his face in the direction of Jerusalem. The whole focus of his life, the whole focus of his mission, the whole purpose of God stepping into time and space, bearing flesh and walking among us, was found in Jerusalem. The garden, the cross, the grave, the resurrection.
Jesus’s ministry was so much more than moral teaching and holy living – that simply isn’t enough. It isn’t even close enough to rescue sinners from the curse that plagues us. Moralism and religion are no match for sin and depravity. We simply do not need a reformation of behavior; we need a transformation of nature. This can only be accomplished with a cross and a tomb. A payment had to be made for the law was broken, a debt was owed and morality wasn’t going to settle the score.
Jesus set his face toward Jerusalem because there simply isn’t any good news for sinners apart from an atonement, a payment for our sins, an offering of a spotless lamb that was truly sufficient to take away our sins and make us whiter than snow. Take away the cross and you take away Christianity; eliminate the cross and you completely neuter Christianity. The good news is ruined and all you are left with is useless good advice. He set his face toward Jerusalem for a reason – to go toe-to-toe with sin and to rescue sinners, to battle death and to conquer the grave!