THE FACE OF JESUS
Luke 9:51; Matthew 17:2; Matthew 8:34 Luke 22:61
Princeton Christian Church 25 July 2021
This morning, let me begin by asking you the question, “What does Jesus look like?” Your answers to that question would likely be not all the same. Your description of Jesus’ features would pretty much all be different. In our description of Jesus’ physical features, most of us would think, in our minds, of the paintings we have seen of Jesus. And that is how we comprehend Jesus’ physical appearance.
But, this morning, I want us to look at Jesus’ face. We don’t know exactly what He looks like. His time on earth was before “that Kodak moment” came into being. We have always relied on those paintings created in the minds of artists throughout the centuries.
So, today, we will see Jesus with four different faces.
I. Jesus has a Determined Face. We find that face mentioned in Luke 9:51.
“When the days were approaching for His ascension, He was determined to go to Jerusalem.”
At this time He had accepted the task that was before Him. In Luke 9:22 we see that he said He must suffer many things, be rejected, be killed, and then to rise again.
We can ask ourselves – would we, knowing death was right around the corner, go toward it without fear, without making excuses for not going?
Through the years others have has a determined face as well. Determined to face the task before them. Paul, designated to go preach to the Gentiles; early Christians who were persecuted and forced to go underground to save their lives.
Even in the history of our great nation men like the founding fathers and many others whose determined face caused them to stay the course to accomplish the task before them. Work is never accomplished without a determined attitude, one which will not sway in rough ties, or grumble when things go wrong.
In our daily walk with Jesus, if we expect to see Him face to face, we must walk steadily onward with our face lifted up toward Him, the goal of our lives.
II. Jesus has a Shining Face. In Matthew 17:2 we see “He was transfigured before them and His face shined like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.”
He was literally glowing. That glow in his face radiated gentleness and tender compassion.
In the New Testament account of Jesus’ life here on the earth, we see children gathering around Jesus because they recognized His gentleness. People who are troubled see peace and tranquility in His face, knowing they can bring their burdens to Him. People who are in sorrow seek comfort from Him. Those who are burdened with sin seek His forgiveness.
In contrast – as you go about your daily lives – do you read the faces of the people you encounter during an ordinary day? If you read the faces of many what will you see? Frustration, distress, fear, confusion, a lack of hope?
How encouraging it is when you meet someone in your daily walk, whose face reflects that inner light that comes from knowing Jesus!
Jesus lived near to God. This is why His face was so radiant. When we live as near to Him, as He desires us to, we cannot help but reflect that same light in our faces. But we must live close to the source of light – that is, God, and his ways if we are to have the shining face of Jesus for our own.
III. Thirdly, Jesus has a Serene Face - Now, what is a serene face? The dictionary definition is: utter calm; unruffled repose or quietude. In Matthew 8:24 we see Jesus in just that condition. A storm at sea was going on all around Him and his disciples. Yet, he slept in the boat – calm, unruffled, no anxiety. How could He do that? He was in complete control. While His disciples were afraid of the winds and the waves, Jesus slept peacefully.
We often get caught in storms or trials of life. These cause us to worry, become stressed, confused, trying to figure it out for ourselves.
Jesus was capable of holding His peace even during times when enemies were muttering evil and hateful words about Him. Even when His close followers doubted and betrayed and denied Him, He remained calm.
Don’t we tend to become unglued when we hear that someone has said something against us? And we would probably become anything but calm if someone turned us over to those who would harm us or even kill us.
We lose our composure too easily; fear takes residence in our hearts and minds because we are uneasy with our lives. We have not found, or we have forgotten where our strength comes from. But, we can know this when we turn to Christ for guidance, and when we do, our fears are removed. He is our strength in the storm. He calms us as He calmed the storm at sea. Just as He spoke to the sea, “Peace, be still.” He tells us also when we realize that He is where our own serenity lies and peace can be ours.
Jesus was serene because the Father was ever-present with Him and He knew this; it was real to Him. When we come to accept the reality of God’s presence with us, we too can experience the calm, clear attitude of Christ.
IV. And, then, we see that Jesus has a Searching Face
The best example of Jesus’ searching face is seen in Luke 22:61. Jesus is on trial. Peter is waiting in sight of Jesus. He had fulfilled Jesus’ prediction and had denied Jesus three times. The Scripture says, “The Lord turned and looked at Peter, and Peter remembered the word of the Lord. How He had told him, “Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.”
Can you remember a time in your childhood when your parents had only to look at you in a certain way to scold you for doing something they disapproved of or for something they knew was harmful to you? Those of you here who are now parents most likely have given your child that same searching face that was capable of looking deep into the soul of that child.
We have all seen the searching face of Jesus. Though not physically, it may have been the conviction of our conscience. We are aware that He is there looking at us, actually looking through us. We are moved either to shame for what we have done, or we are moved to repentance for the forgiveness of our sin.
There is a curiosity about seeing what Jesus really physically looks like. But, more important than His physical features are the attitudes and characteristics which are present in His face as He looks upon us.
Have we followed the examples we have seen in Jesus’ face? Are we determined to fulfill any assignment He gives us? Are we radiating an inner light because we are living close to God? Does our face remain calm in crisis because we know Jesus is present and with us? Does His penetrating searching look cause us to act in repentance?