"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

I Have Set My Face to Love Like Flint

Six months before crucifixion, Jesus "determined to go to Jerusalem" (Luke 9:51 NAS) to die. In the original Greek, the word determined is literally "set His face" to go to Jerusalem. I imagine Dr. Luke is intentionally referencing a Messianic prophecy from Isaiah 50:7 - "Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame."

When Jesus went to the cross to die for us, He demonstrated real love. "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). If you wish to know real love, you must look at Jesus' love for us, for "in this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins" (I John 4:10).

When I think of Christ's love for me, I consider it to be:

1. Intentional - "I have set My face like flint" to die for Wade Burleson.
2. Unconditional - "I have set My face like flint" to deliver Wade Burleson.
3. Sacrificial - "I have set My face like flint" to draw Wade Burleson.

I am convinced about two faults with the modern church. First, we spend so much time talking about our love for God, that we lose the proper perspective of real love. Love, as it is to be, is seen in Christ's love for us, not our love for God. Second, we lack love for one another because we've never been captivated and enthralled with an understanding of His love for us.

Intentional love comes from within the One loving. Christ's love is like an artesian spring; it is not pulled out of Him because of my loveliness, but flows from within Him because He is love.

Unconditional love thinks nothing of the weakness of the one being loved, or expects reciprocating love, for the One loving recognizes that real love is an action of worth, never an attitude of want.

Sacrificial love is the kind of love that endures pain, burrows through suffering, endures all things for the ones being loved. Christ's love for me is intentional, unconditional and sacrificial.

No Greater Love

How should we like it were the stars to burn
With a passion for us, we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.

If I think this only brings pain,
I’ve yet to learn love’s true gain.
For when I give without any pull,
It’s a sign my heart is already full.

This is the reason I bow my knee
And ask to know God’s love for me.
If your affection ever turns cold,
My love for you will never grow old.

W.H. Auden and W.W. Burleson (2014)


Dave Panzera said...

The example and action of God's love for us is the proper focus Wade....For we cannot love God in return without it. We cannot hope to even like Him let alone love Him without Him first loving us.

Likewise, He gives us examples for us to follow and on occasion a charge. I reflect on Ephesians 5:25 where God is speaking about the marriage relationship and to the man He said that he (the husband) was to love his wife as Christ loved the church AND GAVE HIMSELF for it. A love that is unto his own death if necessary. A love so deep and so complete that even if death were required it would be given.

I think the song by Newsboys fits so well with this..."Amazing Love, how can it be? That You my King should die for me! Amazing love, I know it's true, and its my Joy to follow You...in all I do, let me honor You!"

Pege' said...

Dave..I too enjoy that song by the Newsboys..it originally was written
by Charles Wesley, music by Thomas Campbell. The Hymn is called "And Can It Be".

One of my favorite stanzas,

He left His Father’s throne above
So free, so infinite His grace—
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, should
die for me?

Dave Panzera said...

Many thanks Pege' as I love to be accurate and whats more to see some of the historical significance and influences in peoples lives as that original song was to the Newsboys!

Christiane said...

Belovèd, let us love:
love is of God;
in God alone hath love
its true abode.

Belovèd, let us love:
for they who love,
they only, are his sons,
born from above.

Belovèd, let us love:
for love is rest,
and he who loveth not
abides unblest.

Belovèd, let us love:
in love is light,
and he who loveth not,
dwelleth in night.

Belovèd, let us love:
for only thus
shall we behold that God
who loveth us.

Horatius Bonar (1808-1889), Supplement of the Baptist Psalms and Hymns, 1880

Anonymous said...

What does it mean to "set my face like flint"? Is this a figure of speech? The meaning is unfamiliar to me.

Rex Ray said...


EXCELLENT! Church bulletin board material.



BTW you asked my take about Paul a while back; what did you think?

Wade Burleson said...


It comes from the Bible (Isaiah 50:7) and is a reference to the Messiah "determined" to go to the cross for you. It is also used in Luke 9, but translated "determined" in the NAS and NIV.

Ancients used flint to make arrowheads and weapons. It was hard rock, able to penetrate anything, and the favorite choice of craftsman for the making of dependable weaponry.

Wade Burleson said...


I'm not sure I saw your take on Paul - where is it?

Gordon said...

Mea Culpa !

Rex is probably referring to comments made by me and by him on your January 8, 2016 blog.

By the way, I went to nearby Dartmouth a few days ago (Agatha Christie country) but there is not yet any monument to the memory of the Earl for having kept King George 2 waiting. The State of Georgia is named after this same King George 2 but I doubt whether the 'Peach State' will contribute any money towards erecting another English eccentricity !

Rex, please elaborate on your reply and consider whether Paul practised a form of cultural 'situation ethics' at times to further the Gospel. To my mind,James seems to have been unable to differentiate between practise and principle.

Rex Ray said...


Gordon is right. I made the mistake of thinking I was continuing to talk with Dave Panzera.

I’ll answer your question after you answer mine. :)
Will write more later as I’m in the middle of replacing LED lights on a star on a archway I made for my father 30 years ago.

Rex Ray said...


You said, “James seems to have been unable to differentiate between practice and principle.”

There is a reason for that.

Mary’s husband wanted his first born son to be righteous so James was raised a Nazirite.
“This is the ritual law of the Nazirites…Whenever Aaron and his sons bless the people of Israel in my name, I myself will bless them.” (Numbers 6:21, 27 NLT)

Hegesippus, who lived immediately after the apostles, wrote: "James, the brother of the Lord…has been called the Just by all from the time of our Savior to the present day....He was holy from his mother's womb; and he drank no wine nor strong drink, nor did he eat flesh. No razor came upon his head; he did not anoint himself with oil, and he did not use the bath. He alone was permitted to enter into the holy place; for he wore not woolen but linen garments. And he was in the habit of entering alone into the temple, and was frequently found upon his knees begging forgiveness for the people, so that his knees became hard like those of a camel.” - Church History II.23.5-6

James either didn’t realize Calvary did away with his job, or he liked the prestige since he still had it when the Scribes and Pharisees said:

“Persuade the people that they be not deceived about Jesus, for all the people and we ourselves are ready to obey thee.” They put James on the pinnacle of the temple. James said, “He sitteth on the right hand of the Most High, and shall come in the clouds of heaven.” (Foxe’s Book of Martyrs)

James was thrown down but the fall didn’t kill him. After a trial, he was stoned and killed with a club.

King Agrippa fired the Priest that ordered James to be stoned. Many blamed the destruction of Jerusalem by God’s wrath over the murder of James.

The book of James mentions God 77 times and his brother 9. I believe James thought Jesus backed the law for salvation. (You can’t belong to Jesus if you show favoritism. Obey Christ’s command of love your neighbor. You break Christ’s law by favoring the rich. Be judged on what Christ wants you to do.)

This quotes many Scriptures about “James the Just vs. Apostle Paul.”

Gordon said...

Thanks Rex. I can see you have done your homework on James.

James plus the Jerusalem Church plus the Judaizing Christians set their faces as a flint against the revelation given to Paul that old things had passed away. To them, all things had not become new, nor fulfilled and changed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ under a New Covenant. Culturally, Paul could still identify himself as a Jew when he wanted to, but theologically he had moved to much higher ground to incorporate the essence of the Old with the spirit of the New. In Christ Jesus all believers are one.....and culture, gender, age, etc. are neither qualifications or disqualifications for receiving God's grace by faith.

This tension between James and Paul is still evident today when Christians limit the grace of God and to cling to the Mosaic ritual as a condition of salvation and sanctification.

Rex Ray said...


WOW! You said, “This tension between James and Paul is still evident today when Christians limit the grace of God and to cling to the Mosaic ritual as a condition of salvation and sanctification.”

I think your name should be ‘Flash Gordon’ of church history because you agree with me. :)

Twenty two years ago, I printed a thousand copies of a twenty page pamphlet. The cover had:

“The Truth of Acts”
“Two Denominations”
“The devil’s greatest victory was confusing his greatest defeat…Calvary”.

I wrote, “The purpose of my pamphlet is to show the Bible is an accurate account of God’s message. The people in the Bible are much like today…white and black hats. Sometimes they switch hats and sometimes the white ones fall off their horses. The reader must rely on other Scriptures and the Holy Spirit to know the truth.”

I thought if Catholics believed it they would become Baptists, but I couldn’t get Baptists to believe it. :)

Linda Prechtl said...

I am looking for some good resources for explaining bible language in bile times. So many times I read something and wonder, "What made them say that that way?", for instance when Zippora called Moses a bridegroom of blood. I want to understand what the bible says by understanding how the people who were actually reading it at the time it was written would have understood it. Any help would be appreciated.

Rex Ray said...


You’ve heard, “If one step ahead of others; you’re a leader. Two steps ahead; you’re a pioneer. Three steps ahead; you’re a martyr.”

That’s the way I feel about my pamphlet because I believe I connected the dots why Paul prayed, “I pray God that IT may not be laid to their charge.” (2 Timothy 4:16 KJ) This chapter was Paul’s final words.

This is the same prayer he heard Stephen pray: “…Lord, lay not this sin to their charge…” (Acts 7:60 KJ)

James prayed the same prayer. “While they were smiting him with stones, a priest, said to them, “Leave off, what do ye? The Just man prayeth for you.” (Foxe’s Book of Martyrs p. 11)

The big question; what sin was Paul’s “it”? With Stephen and James it was murder.

The clue is the first part of Acts 7:60, “At my first answer [trial] no man stood for me…”
David’s murder of Bathsheba’s husband was not supporting him. James and the elders called Paul “dear brother” (Acts 21:20 NLT) but did not support Paul at his trial. One word from them and all charges would have been dropped.

As the prison years went by and not one visit from James or the elders, I believe Paul connected the dots.

Istoria Ministries Team said...


There are several books which can help you, but for a FREE and quick (and effective) understanding of oriental customs (of which you speak), I'd check out -

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for answering that so quickly. I just downloaded it and I'm excited to check it out. I have logos 6 so if there are other good ones available on there those would be great too.

Linda Prechtl said...

That was me IMT. Anonymous was an accident :)

Linda Prechtl said...

Ok I'm starting to feel like a pest! I am listening to the Revelation Series that Wade taught. In the lesson on the changing of the guard, I am try g to understand from scripture how to explain the "heaven and earth" reference. Help!!

Istoria Ministries Team said...

Answer: (Part One)

The term “heaven and earth” is apocalyptic wording. That’s not to say the term heaven and earth never refers to material creation; it is just used figuratively among the Jewish people.

Remember, Jesus was a Jew. As such he was raised hearing the Old Testament prophets taught in the synagogues. These prophets utilized spiritual language. As the prophet of and to Israel (Matthew 15), Jesus wasn’t only familiar with the language of the prophets, He used the same language. How did the prophets use the term heaven and earth?

See Isaiah 51:16. "Heaven and earth" is used to refer to God CREATING THE COVENANT with national Israel (we call it "The Old Covenant"), and it is not a reference to the literal creation of the heavens above us and the earth around us. God said to the Israel. "I have put my word in your mouth and have covered you with the shadow of my hand, to establish the heavens, to found the earth, and to say to Zion, 'You are my people'". [NASV] [Unfortunately, the New International Version incorrectly translates this verse. Check several translations.]

Israel broke their covenant with God. See Isaiah 24. The prophet Isaiah predicted "the passing of heaven and earth" in chapter 24 because of Israel's rebellion. He said the earth would be utterly broken down, clean dissolved, and completely removed, v.19. Now this sounds like the destruction of material creation but closer examination reveals it to be speaking of the destruction of Israel's Covenant World under the imagery of "heaven and earth". Note verse 5 gives the reason for the destruction – “they have broken the everlasting covenant.” What covenant was that? It was the Mosaic Covenant! God was going to destroy "heaven and earth" because Israel had broken her covenant with Jehovah!

What is the point? God gave to Israel an agreement. He gave them His law, the Mosaic Covenant. He told them to "obey and be blessed." Israel failed. But the true Israel (Jesus Christ) came to "fulfill the Law, every jot and tittle," (see Matthew 5:17-18). God "established heaven and earth" and "laid the foundation of the earth" when He entered into covenant with national Israel. But He destroyed "heaven and earth" when He abolished the covenant with Israel and inaugurated a "NEW heaven and earth" when He came and "fulfilled" the Law (obey Me and be blessed) Himself, and gave all the blessings of obedience to those with faith in Him.

Istoria Ministries Team said...

Answer (Part Two)

"Heaven and earth" is a Hebraism similar to "it's raining cats and dogs" is an English idiom that serves as an adjective of the impact of the rain. It's not LITERALLY reigning cats and dogs, but the rain is intense. God did not LITERALLY create "heaven and earth" when He entered into covenant with national Israel, but it was an IMPORTANT agreement. God uses this "heaven and earth" language to represent the importance of HIs agree with Israel.

Now if God destroyed THAT Old Covenant (i.e. "heaven and earth") and gave a NEW covenant, would He not thereby be CREATE a "NEW heaven and a NEW earth"? This is precisely the thought in the New Covenant Scriptures! Old Israel's covenant was about to pass away – (see II Corinthians 3:10; Hebrews 8:13; 12:25). The New Covenant of Christ was being given (Ephesians 3:3; Hebrews 2:1). Since the giving of the Old Covenant created "heaven and earth," the giving of a NEW Covenant would mean a new heaven and earth (II Peter 3) was revealed.

The fall of Jerusalem was far more than the passing of the capital of Judaism—it was the dawning of a new age! Matthew 24:29-34 refers to the judgment upon the Jewish people for violations of the Old Covenant. In AD 70 the salvation that comes through simple faith in Christ was fully revealed, Colossians 3:1. It is because of what happened then, as the consummation of the work started on the Cross, Hebrews 9:26-28, that you and I can have confidence in the Word of God and the God of the Word. Christ did come in judgment of the Old World in AD 70 and fully established the unending New Covenant Heaven and Earth. This is when all things foretold by the prophets was fulfilled and that is how heaven and earth passed away! The Old Covenant Law is gone—forever.

Jesus is our Lawgiver. Hear Him! Listen to His Spirit. He commands us to love one another as He has loved us (John 13:34).

Istoria Ministries Team said...

John Owen's Answer (Part One) based on a sermon from II Peter 3:13 - "But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells."

The apostle makes a distribution of the world into heaven and earth, and saith they were destroyed with water, and perished. We know that neither the fabric nor substance of the one or other was destroyed, but only men that liveth on the earth; and the apostle tells us (ver. 7) of the heaven and earth that were then, and were destroyed by water, distinct from the heavens and the earth that were now, and were to be consumed by fire; and yet as to the visible fabric of heaven and earth they were the same both before the flood and in the apostle's time, and continue so to this day; when yet it is certain that the heavens and earth, whereof he spake, were to be destroyed and consumed by fire in that generation.

We must, then, for the clearing of our foundation a little, consider what the apostle intends by the heavens and the earth in these two places.'

1. It is certain that what the apostle intends by the world, with its heaven, and earth (vers. 5, 6), which was destroyed ; the same, or some-what of that kind, he intends by the heavens and the earth that were to be consumed and destroyed by fire (ver. 7) ; otherwise there would be no coherence in the apostle's discourse, nor any kind of argument, but a mere fallacy of words.'

2. It is certain that by the flood, the world, or the fabric of heaven and earth, was not destroyed, but only the inhabitants of the world; and therefore the destruction intimated to succeed by fire is not of the substance of the heavens and the earth, which shall not be consumed until the last day, but of person or men living in the world.'3. Then we must consider in what sense men living in the world are said to be the world, and the heavens and earth of it. I shall only insist on one instance to this purpose among many that may be produced: Isa. li. 15, 16.

The time when the work here mentioned, of planting the heavens and laying the foundation of the earth, was performed by God was when He divided the sea (ver. 15) and gave the law (ver. 16), and said to Zion, Thou art my people; that is, when He took the children of Israel out of Egypt, and formed them in the wilderness into a church and state; then He planted the heavens and laid the foundation of the earth: that is, brought forth order, and government, and beauty from the confusion wherein before they were. This is the planting of the heavens and laying the foundation of the earth in the world.

And since it is that when mention is made of the destruction of a state and government, it is in that languaue which seems to set forth the end of the world. So Isa. xxxiv. 4, which is yet but the destruction of the state of Edom. The like also is affirmed of the Roman Empire (Rev. vi. 14), which the Jews constantly affirm to be intended by Edom in the prophets. And in our Saviour Christ's prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem (Matt. xxiv.) He sets it out by expressions of the same importance.

Istoria Ministries Team said...

John Owen's Answer (Part TWO)

It is evident, then, that in the prophetical idiom and manner of speech, by heavens and earth, the civil and religious state and combination of men in the world, and the men of them, were often understood. So were the heavens and earth that world which then was destroyed by the flood.'

4. On this foundation I affirm that the heavens and earth here intended in this prophecy of Peter, the coming of the Lord, the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men, mentioned in the destruction of that heaven and earth, do all of them relate, not to the last and final judgment of the world, but to that utter desolation and destruction that was to be made of the Judaical church and state; for which I shall offer these two reasons, of many that might be insisted on from the text:-'(1.) Because whatever is here mentioned was to have its peculiar influence on the men of that generation. He speaks of that wherein both the profane scoffers and those scoffed at were concerned, and that as Jews, some of them believing, others opposing, the faith.

Now there was no particular concernment of that generation, nor in that sin, nor in that scoffing, as to the day of judment in general ; but there was a peculiar relief for the one and a peculiar dread for the other at hand, in the destruction of the Jewish nation ; and, besides, an ample testimony both to the one and the other of the power and dominion of tile Lord Jesus Christ, which was the thing in question between them.'(2.) Peter tells them, that after the destruction and judgment that he speaks of (vers. 7-13), " We, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth,' etc. They had this expectation. But what is that promise? Where may we find it? Why, we have it in the very words and letter, Isa. lxv. 17. Now, when shall this be that God shall create these new heavens and new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness? Saith Peter, " It shall be after the coming of the Lord, after that judgment and destruction of ungodly men, who obey not the gospel, that I foretell."

But now it is evident from this place of Isaiah, with chap. lxvi. 21, 22, that this is a prophecy of Gospel times only; and that the planting of these new heavens is nothing but the creation of Gospel ordinances to endure for ever. The same thing is so expressed Heb. xii. 26-28.'

This being the design of the place, I shall not insist longer on the context, but briefly open the words proposed, and fix upon the truth continued in them.'

First, There is the foundation of the apostle's inference and exhortation, seeing that all these things, however precious they seem, or what value soever any put upon them, shall be dissolved, that is, destroyed; and that in that dreadful and fearful manner before mentioned, in a day of judgment, wrath, and vengeance, by fire and sword; let others mock at the threats of Christ's coming: He will come- He will not tarry; and then the heavens and earth that God Himself planted, -the sun, moon, and stars of the Judaical polity and church, -the whole old world of worship and worshippers, that stand out in their obstinancy against the Lord Christ, shall be sensibly dissolved and destroyed: this we know shall be the end of these things, and that shortly.'

There is no outward constitution nor frame of things in government or nations, but it is subject to a dissolution, and may receive it, and that in a way of judgment. If any might plead exemption, that, on many accounts, of which the apostle was discoursing in prophetical terms (for it was not yet time to speak it openly to all) might interpose for its share.'*

RRR said...

Of course the crucifixion is very personal and intimate to me too. I do know that Jesus died for me and that I am a recipient of God's grace and redemption. But lately I've been thinking about the crucifixion on a much broader basis that I'm sure all of you probably had already concluded.

I see the crucifixion as being more of a restoration where mankind again has the possibility of having an intimate relationship with The Almighty, Creator of the Universe-God as was the case prior to the fall of mankind. I believe it resulted in the possibility of us "walking" with God as Adam and Eve walked with Him prior to their introducing the first sin into this realm. All due to God's "breathing-in" His Holy Spirit into the souls of born again followers of the resurrected Christ as was not possible prior to the crucifixion. So the love of God is experienced as was not possible prior to the crucifixion.

Rex Ray said...


With me, you hit the nail on the head better with 165 words than the previous 2,030 words. Keep up the good thoughts.

In about 30”, this RRR is headed to a hospital to get a hernia fixed.


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