In the May 2017 issue of Living Lutheran, the cover included 16 images of the face of Christ from different artists. Editor Jennifer Younker noted, “When I look at the cover I’m amazed that, even though all the images are very different, I instantly recognize them as the face of Christ. Although each individual visual is influenced by its regional, ethnic and cultural lenses, the cover evokes the freedom and salvation we receive from Jesus Christ and shows that Christ’s love transcends all perceived physical differences” (Editor’s Note, Living Lutheran, May 2017, p. 4).
This cover and these comments got me to thinking about how I personally envision the face of Christ. For me, I picture a warm, loving, kind face smiling back at me with a look that says everything will be fine because he loves me.
How do you see the face of Christ in your mind’s eye? How does that image affect how you feel about him and about your relationship?
The thought comes to mind for me of Peter right after he denied Christ three times and how Christ looked at him and he knew he had failed his master. Then after the resurrection when Christ appeared on the shore, Jesus looked straight at Peter and said three times with forgiveness in his voice, “Do you love me?” That look of acceptance and renewed relationship must have been just what a repentant Peter needed to see and experience. He was still loved and cared for by Christ and Christ had a mission for him.
In our own lives, there are times when we have failed Christ when we don’t want to look at him or are afraid to look his face. But when we come to him confessing, he will never turn his face away from us, but will welcome us with a face that says, “You are mine and you always will be.”
As we spend our days here on earth, we have this assurance from St. Peter to remind us of the love of Christ that carries us through:
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 1 Peter 1:8
Through the eyes of faith, we have seen the Lord and that is all we need until we see him face-to-face in heaven.