The Face of Jesus

by: Bill Bratt


King David desired to build a temple for God, but God would not allow David to do so. The job passed on to Davidís son Solomon (2 Chronicles 6:7-9). After Solomon completed and dedicated the Temple, God appeared to Solomon: "Then the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said to him: "I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. {13} "When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, {14} "if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land" (2 Chr 7:12-14).

Notice that in Solomonís day, Godís people were to humble themselves, and pray and seek Godís face, and turn from their wicked ways. To seek Godís face denotes His presence. God is always fully aware of what is going on. He knows our thoughts and our actions. It is interesting to note that God told Moses "You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live" (Exo 33:20). Obviously if we as humans, in reality, saw God face to face, we would be burnt to a crisp because: "our God is a consuming fire" (Heb 12:29).

It is also interesting to note as to what is recorded about Jacob in Genesis 32:22-32. Jacob wrestled all night long with God and desired that God would bless him: "And He said, "Let Me go, for the day breaks." But he said, "I will not let You go unless You bless me!"" (Gen 32:26).

Because Jacob prevailed, God changed his name: "And He said, "Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed"" (Gen 32:28).

Continuing in verse 30: "And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: "For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved."

Talking to our best friend "face to face" is much more intimate than talking to them on the telephone.

Seeking Godís face is to desire an intimate relationship with our Creator, to be in His grace and favor desiring His blessings. "The blessing of the LORD brings wealth, and he adds no trouble to it" (Prov 10:22 NIV).

After the Resurrection of Jesus

The disciples of Jesus had spent three and one half years with Jesus. They had seen Jesus, face to face, and had a very intimate and close relationship with Him. Letís focus in on some accounts after the resurrection of Jesus when His disciples had first seen Him.

Letís begin with Mary Magdalene: "But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. {12} And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. {13} Then they said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him." {14} Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus" (John 20:11-14).

Notice that she did not know that it was Jesus. Letís continue in verse 15: "Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, "Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away." {16} Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to Him, "Rabboni!" (which is to say, Teacher). {17} ........." {18} Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her" (John 20:15-18).

Why didnít Mary Magdalene know that it was Jesus?

On the Road to Emmaus

Letís look at the occurrence where Jesus appears to two of His disciples on a journey to Emmaus: "Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem. {14} And they talked together of all these things which had happened. {15} So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. {16} But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him. {17} And He said to them, "What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?" {18} Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, "Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?" {19} And He said to them, "What things?" So they said to Him, "The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, {20} "and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. {21} "But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened. {22} "Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us" {23} ""When they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said He was alive. {24} "And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see." {25} Then He said to them, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! {26} "Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?" {27} And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself" (Luke 24:13-27).

In this occurrence the disciples eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Jesus.

Letís continue in verse 28: "Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and He indicated that He would have gone farther. {29} But they constrained Him, saying, "Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent." And He went in to stay with them. {30} Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. {31} Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight. {32} And they said to one another, "Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?" {33} So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, {34} saying, "The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!" {35} And they told about the things that had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of bread" (Luke 24:28-35).

Jesus appeared to the Disciples behind Closed Doors

The next occurrence that we will look at happened at sunset, as the first day of the week is ending and Jesus appeared to the disciples behind closed doors.

"Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, "Peace be with you." {20} When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. {21} So Jesus said to them again, "Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you." {22} And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. {23} "If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained." {24} Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. {25} The other disciples therefore said to him, "We have seen the Lord." So he said to them, "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe"" (John 20:19-25).

Notice in this passage that Jesus showed the disciples His pierced hands that had been nailed to the cross and His side that had been pierced by a spear of a Roman soldier (John 19:34).

Also notice Thomasí comments in verse 25 that he would not believe unless he could see the wounds of Jesus for himself.

Jesus as He appeared to His disciples in His resurrected "human form" still had the wounds from the nails in His hands and His pierced side.

The Face of Jesus

Could it be that the reason that Jesusí disciples didnít recognize Him was that the face of Jesus was not the face that they remembered! Jesus had been beaten (Mark 14:65), scourged (Mat. 27:26), had a crown of thorns plunged on His head (Mat. 27:29) and He was crucified (Mat. 27:35).

The prophet Isaiah prophesied that Jesus the Messiah, the Sin-Bearing Servantís visage or appearance would be so marred, injured, destroyed more than any other man: "Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently; He shall be exalted and extolled and be very high. {14} Just as many were astonished at you, So His visage was marred more than any man, And His form more than the sons of men" (Isa 52:13-14).

Isaiah again speaks about the "face" of the Messiah: "I gave My back to those who struck Me, And My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting" (Isa 50:6).

Letís notice why Jesus was beaten: "For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him. {3} He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. {4} Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. {5} But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. {6} All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all" (Isa 53:2-6).

Jesus was beaten severely and it is "by His stripes we are healed" (1 Peter 2:24).

David wrote Psalms 22 which was a prophecy of our suffering Messiah on the cross. Letís look at verses 16-17 : "They pierced My hands and My feet; {17} I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me." Read all of Psalms 22 to get the total impact of what Jesus Christ was going through on the cross.

The Apostle Paul mentions the face of Jesus in 2 Cor 4:6 (NKJV): "For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."

In conclusion: Jesus is compassionate and can sympathize and have pity on us in our weaknesses (Heb. 4:15).

Jesus was the Lamb of God (John 1:29) who was slain (Rev. 5:6) and He died for us (John 3:16; Rom. 5:8).

If we could look into the marred and beaten face of Jesus, we would realize the amount of love, compassion and mercy that Jesus had for us to endure the beatings, scourging, the crucifixion and death so that we could attain salvation and live eternally with Him.

"Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ .... Amen" (Eph 6:24).