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.
 "When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts
to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people,  "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 NKJV). 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 NKJV).
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 Your go unless You bless me!" (Gen 32:26 NKJV).
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 NKJV).
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).
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.  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.  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."  Now when
she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there,
and did not know that it was Jesus" (John
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."  Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She
turned and said to Him, "Rabboni!" (which is to say, Teacher). ........."
 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 NKJV).
Why didnít Mary
Magdalene know that it was Jesus?
On the Road
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. 
And they talked together of all these things which had happened. 
So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew
near and went with them.  But their eyes were restrained,
so that they did not know Him.  And He said to them,
"What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as
you walk and are sad?"  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?"  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,"  and how the chief priests and our rulers
delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him.  "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.
 "Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb
early, astonished us"  "When they did not find His body, they came
saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said He was alive.
 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."  Then
He said to them, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all
that the prophets have spoken!"  "Ought not the Christ to have suffered
these things and to enter into His glory?"  "And beginning at Moses
and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the
things concerning Himself" (Luke 24:13-27 NKJV).
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.  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.  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.  Then their eyes were opened
and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight. 
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?"  So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem,
and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together,
 saying, "The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!"
 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 NKJV).
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."
 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and
His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the
Lord.  So Jesus said to them again, "Peace to you! As the Father
has sent Me, I also send you."  And when He had said this, He breathed
on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive
the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any,
they are retained."  Now Thomas, called
the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 
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.
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.  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 NKJV).
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 NKJV).
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.  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.  Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our
sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.
 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.
 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
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 (NKJV): "They pierced My hands and My feet; 
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 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."
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 NKJV).