Picture of Pastor Gettys

Sermon delivered October 4, 2008 by Pastor Don Gettys

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Biblical quotations are from the New International Version NIV unless otherwise noted. Divine pronouns and titles are capitalized.

The Face of Jesus

Psalm 33:18-21

(RealAudio Version available)

I would like for you to come to Steven Reike’s scripture reading, in Psalm 33, and where does this tell us that the eyes of the Lord are?  Psalm 33 and verse 18.  “The eyes of the Lord,” where are they?  “They are on those who fear Him.”  Who love Him.  Who trust Him.  His eyes are on you.  He's watching you.  So where should your eyes be?  Well look at Psalm 34.  It’s in the next column in mine, and if you look at verse 5, “Those who look to Him are radiant.”  So where should we be looking?  To Him.  Where is He looking?  To us.  It's a mutual admiration society, sort of, isn't it?

I would like to speak to you about the face of Jesus.  I urge you to behold the face of Jesus, and you say, “Well how can I do that, I can't even see him.”  Well the Bible tells us we ought to be doing that.  He's looking at us.  We ought to be looking at him and if we do our faces will be radiant. 

There was a burglar who invaded a home.  I hate home invasions, especially when it's my home.  We’ve never had that problem here.  We’re so thankful to live in peaceful Collegedale where nothing bad ever happens.  But there was a burglar who invaded somebody's home and he was ransacking a room, and loading up all sorts of things in bags and boxes, and he was having a terrible time.  And the reason he was having a bad time was because there was a picture on the wall, in that room, of Jesus, and it seemed like Jesus’ eyes were looking at him wherever he was in the room.  So finally he went over to the picture and took it down and turned around and leaned it against the wall and then he continued his work.  Well he had the right idea but it didn’t last very long, did it?  If only he would have remembered Jesus a little bit sooner, maybe the evil would not have happened.

Now look at Psalm 27, back just a couple pages from where you are.  Psalm 27, verse 9, says, “Do not hide Your face from me.”  God wants to look at your face.  And then look at verse 8.  “My heart has heard You say, ‘Seek My face’, and my heart responds, ‘Lord, I will seek your face.’”  God wants you to seek His face.  How do you do that?  How do you seek the face of God?  How do you seek the face of Jesus?  Has anybody here ever seen Jesus?  Raise your hand if you've seen Him.  I'm going to put mine down as well.  I don't know of anybody alive that has ever seen the face of Jesus Christ.  As people went out of church this morning, Marilyn Vallieres showed me a picture of what she thinks Jesus looked like and it's a very good picture.  It’s one of the oldest pictures that we have, and we don't really know.  Nobody knows.

One day I was visiting in the home of one of my deacons in Covert, Michigan, and I said, “What do you think Jesus looks like?”  He said, “Well, I think His face,” the deacon said “would be very wrinkled.”  I said, “Really?  I hope not.  I’ve got enough wrinkles myself.  Why do you think He would be with a lot of wrinkles?”  He said, “Well, after worrying about the human race, that He created, for the last 6 thousand years, it's very wrinkled, I'm sure.”  Well, I don't know about that.  

What does Jesus’ face look like?  Well, fortunately there are clues in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, and if you'll come over to Matthew, chapter 26, in your Bible, there is a clue.  Matthew 26, and verse 39.  It says, “Jesus fell with His face to the ground and prayed.”  He fell on the ground with His face toward the ground.  Have you ever prayed with your face right at the dirt, almost?  This tells me that Jesus had a face that was bowed in prayer, often.  Jesus has a humble face.  A praying face.  Jesus is a Man of prayer.  Jesus was earnest.  He was a believer in prayer.  Sincere prayer.  Humble prayer.  The people of Nazareth, we are told in Desire of Ages, often heard Jesus singing in the carpenter shop.[DA73]  They would walk by the carpenter shop and they could hear music coming out of the carpenter shop and it wasn't somebody playing a saw.  It was Jesus singing.  I kind of like to hear people singing or humming as they work.  My grandmother Jordan used to hum as she cooked and whatever she was doing.  I kind of like that.  That's a good quality.  And we are told that Jesus had a wonderful voice.  It was melodious,[DA173, WM94&288, 2T617] we are told, and you can look up all these references on the web, in the sermon.  The voice was often heard in prayer.  Jesus voice, you're going to hear His voice.  If you die before Jesus comes you are going to hear His voice.  The very first thing you'll hear is your name.  He's going to call your name and for you to come out, come up, out of the grave on resurrection morning.  I’ve thought that Jesus’ voice would be very pretty, very unique. 

Here's something else in Psalm 34.  If you come back to Psalm, the book of Psalms, the 34th chapter, and if you look at verse 15, it says, “His eyes are on the righteous,” but look at verse 16.  “God’s face is against evildoers.”  Psalm 34:16.  God’s face is looking at the righteous, but it's against the evildoers, and I believe that Jesus had a happy face.  I believe that Jesus was a happy person, but when He looks at evildoers, He's not very happy.  Not very happy. 

I ran across what is purported to be an old letter written by Publius Lentulus to the Roman Senate about the time that Jesus lived.  And I want to read you the copy of this letter.  It says, "There appeared in these days a man of great virtue, named Jesus Christ, who is yet among us; of the Gentiles accepted for a prophet of truth; but his disciples call him the Son of God.  He raiseth the dead, and careth for all manner of diseases. A man of stature somewhat tall and comely, with a very reverend countenance, such as the beholder must both love and fear.  His hair was the color of a chestnut full ripe, plain to the ears, whence, downward, it is more orient, cutting and waving about his shoulders.  In the midst of the forehead is a stream or partition of his hair, after the manner of the Nazarites; forehead is plain and very delicate, his face without spot or wrinkle,” so my deacon was wrong, maybe, at least 2 thousand years ago.  “Beautiful, with a lovely red; His nose and mouth so forked as nothing can be represented, His beard thick, in color like His hair, not over long; His look innocent and mature, and His eyes, grey, quick, and clear. ...”  Interesting.  Interesting description.  I don't know what Jesus looks like, but I would say that is a close resemblance, probably.

Jesus, in Matthew 17, point number 2, has a shining face.  I believe that.  Look at the account here in Matthew, Chapter 17, in your Bible, and I’d like for you to notice verse 2.  This is on the mount of transfiguration, and Jesus took Peter and James and John and they followed Him up there and there He was transfigured before them, and His face shone like the what?  Like the sun.  He had a bright face.  Any time He was with His heavenly Father, any time, there were a lot of times in His life, I am sure, that His face beamed with light.  Maybe there at Jacob's well.[DA190]  Maybe standing before Pilate, I think His face, we are told, looked like the sunshine, a sunbeam was lighting it up.[DA726]  As Jesus prayed, His face was irradiated with a celestial brightness,[MB102] and when Jesus drove the money-changers out His face was stern to them and illuminated by the presence of God.[DA158]  The money-changer’s eyes were riveted on Jesus’ face and they went out of there in terror like a herd of white-eyed cattle stampeding away.  

The face of Jesus was bad news for the wicked, but it was good news for the righteous.  Good news.  I think it was kindness.  Jesus loved children.  Jesus said, “Suffer the little children to come unto Me.”  I can just picture the little children sitting on Jesus’ lap stroking His face, can't you?[FE68]  They loved Him and He loved them.

Look, at First Chronicles in your Bible.  First Chronicles, Chapter 16, back here, and I would like for you to notice verse 11.  First Chronicles 16, verse 11.  It says, “We are to seek His face,” how often?  Always.  “Continually.”  We’re supposed to seek His face.  How do you do that?  How do you seek His face?  Nobody has ever seen Him so how do we do this? 

I think one way is by the Scriptures.  That is why I read the Bible every day.  I study the Bible every day.  Why do I do that?  To seek the face of Jesus.  Because I want to see what Jesus looks like.  I want to discover more fully who Jesus is.  I wouldn't dare begin a day without immersing myself in the Scriptures.  I love to do this, and I don't see how we can do anything else.  In fact, the Bible says there, “Seek His face continually.”  Always.  We also do it by thinking about Jesus.

I would like to challenge you, just before you to go to bed, the last thing you do before you go to bed is not to check your e-mail, not to surf the web, but to read something about Jesus and then go to bed with that thought.  Just see what you dream about.  Just see what you think about.  You won't be counting sheep.  You'll be counting on your Shepherd.  You'll be seeing Jesus.

Another way that we do this is by meditating about Jesus throughout the day.  Just immersing your life in Jesus.  By praying to Jesus, we can communicate with Him and receive, I think the Holy Spirit helps us to receive divine messages from the Savior.  So behold Him all day long. 

I think Jesus had a happy face.  There was a pastor who had been pastoring his church for 12 years, and they had a first church and a second church, and right after first church all the kids would go out to their Sabbath School departments and they would file up the aisle, past the pulpit and on out to their departments.  And what he would do, this was the sort of the highlight of his day.  As the children would come by they would look up to him and he would smile at them and it was just kind of neat.  And so one day he was doing this and just relishing every moment of it and the kids would all come by and he was smiling at them.  And apparently he messed up, because a little curly-headed four-year-old girl ran out, she got out of the line and ran back to her mommy and threw herself sobbing on her mother's lap and he thought, what is all that about?  

So after the service he went and talked with the mother and said, “What is wrong?  What did I do?”  And she said, “Well, the little girl told me that, she said, ‘I smiled at God, but God didn't smile back.’”  You know, he represented God.  And he didn't smile back.  Apparently he was smiling at somebody else and missed her.  He didn't smile back.  Well, his lack of a smile caused the little girl’s whole world to go dark. 

I think we all want to see.  How about you?  You know, do children come up to you?  Do they stroke your kind, happy face?  Or do they stay away from you?  I hope they stay near you.  I hope they see Jesus in you.  Or are you like one of the Pharisees maybe, and they don't see Jesus in you.  The Pharisees, I think, grew up in a dill pickle jar.  They were the most unhappy lot that you could ever find.  Would it crack your face if you were to smile?  Folks, when we meet Jesus we’re going to meet a Man of happiness.  We’re going to not meet somebody that grew up in a dill pickle jar.  We’re going to meet somebody who lives in a honey jar.  Somebody who's kind and thoughtful and happy.  A happy person.

Look at Second Chronicles in your Bible.  Second Chronicles Chapter 7.  Now you've probably memorized this as a Christian.  Second Chronicles Chapter 7, and verse 14.  It begins with the word ‘if’.  "If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek” what?  Seek what?  “Seek My face.”  There, we’re commanded to seek His face, aren’t we?  We’re supposed to do what?  We’re supposed to humble ourselves, pray, seek My face, “and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”  Part of this is seeking His face.  We are to seek the face of Jesus. 

There's a great secret of life, and that is, a Christian needs to seek the face of Jesus.  Steps to Christ, page 120 says, “Many think that Christ was devoid of warmth and that He was stern and severe and joyless.  That He wept and was never known to smile, when the reality is just the opposite.”  He was filled with joy. 

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, he taught a class on how to preach, to preachers, to students who were learning to preach, and Charles Spurgeon said this.  He said, “When you speak of heaven let your face smile.  But when you speak of hell, you can use your ordinary face.”  So we need to have a smile on our face.

John Rockefeller once said, “I have millions and I'm not happy.”  W. H. Vanderbilt said, “The care of 2 hundred million dollars is enough to kill anyone.”  I'd sure like to try.  He said there's no pleasure in it.  Andrew Carnegie said, “Millionaires seldom smile.” Would that be true?  Millionaires seldom smile.  I don't know about Buffet.  I don't know about these people, but I will tell you, Jesus was a trillionaire, He is a trillionaire, and I just think that He is a happy person.

In fact, we know this.  Come to Matthew, chapter 25 in your Bible.  Matthew 25.  This is the parable of the 10 virgins and it speaks about the master and I think this is a portrayal of Jesus Himself.  Look at Matthew 25, verse 21.  It says, “Come and share in your master's happiness.”  Your Master is a happy person.  Come and share in your Master's happiness. 

There was a student at a well-known college who had to use some very odd shaped crutches that he came to his classes in.  These were weird shaped, and he would attend class, but he was a cripple.  He was an unusually happy person, despite his ailment.  You know, you don't have to be unhappy if you have some ailment about you, and one day somebody asked him, “What is wrong?  What is the problem?”  He said, “Well, I have infantile paralysis.”  And they said, “Well, how can you be so happy?”  He said, “Well, the infantile paralysis may have affected my body, but it never got into my heart.”  Never got into my heart.  Don't let the devil touch your heart.  Some so-called Christians have faces that are so gloomy and such a loooong faces.  Looks like they grew up between the slats of the vertical venetian blinds.  Let's have joy-some faces.  I believe it would be easier to be better if we would get our face right.  If you get your face right, you're going to act right.

Now let me illustrate this.  There was a criminal.  You know that disfigured criminals have a harder time in life.  People that are beautiful have an easier time, I think, in life.  I don’t know why that is, but there was a pilot project that was financed by a group of plastic surgeons, and the conclusion of these surgeons was that disfigured ex-convicts are less likely to be successful in life and that if they looked better they would be less likely to lapse back into crime.  

And so they took the case of a facially scarred 23-year-old inmate with a long history of arrests.  He’d been in and out of jail so many years.  Time after time.  He was described as particularly vicious, assaultive, and one of the most venomous inmates that Riker's Island prison had ever had.  Have you been to Riker's Island?  There’s Alcatraz out west and Riker's Island off of New York. 

In fact his scar was inflicted by a razor blade and it started on his right cheek and went across his nose and down across his lips and his chin.  Terrible scar.  The plastic surgeons did surgery on this man.  They restored him and it ended up really well.  He really looked good, and finally came his time to get out of jail.  He got out of jail, and he went to college.  He got married and he was a success in life and never came back to jail again.

So, the point of that is, Jesus is a great plastic surgeon.  Let Him do surgery on your face, and He does that by moving into your heart.  You get Him in your heart.  The secret is not to struggle with the defects of life but to just invite Jesus into your heart and everything will be changed.

Point number three.  Jesus had an injured face.  His face was scarred.  Now you might guess that, by the crown of thorns, but look at Luke, chapter 22 in your Bible.  Luke 22 is a description, basically, of the betrayal, the arrest of Jesus; and look at verse 64, clear near the end of the chapter.  This is one of the longest chapters in Luke.  Verse 64.  “And when they had blindfolded Him,” these are the Roman soldiers, “they struck Him on the” what?  “On the face and asked Him, ‘Prophesy, who is it that smote Thee?’”  They were striking Him on the face with their hands or who knows what, and striking him hard.  The Roman soldiers did not have any mercy, and I think His face was scarred not just from thorns.  An innocent, cheerful Jesus was kidnapped.  He was beaten.  His back was lacerated.  He had scars on His body, and I wonder how He felt during that time.  I wonder how He felt.

Well, there's a description in Desire of Ages, and let me just share this with you.  “There stood the Son of God wearing the robe of mockery, the crown of thorns, stripped to His waist, His back showing the long cruel stripes from which the blood flowed freely.  His face was stained with blood.  His face bore marks of exhaustion and pain, but never had it appeared more beautiful than now.”  Isn't that amazing.  “Every featured expressed gentleness and resignation and tenderest pity for His cruel foes.”[DA735]  That's how He thought.  He had a face of kindness toward people, and on the cross Jesus said, “Forgive them for they know not what they do.”  He didn't hold any animosity toward those people.  He had a face of kindness toward them.  So I don't think He has a face of wrinkles.  He might have scars on His face.  Isaiah 53, verse 5 says, “He was pierced for our transgressions.  He was crushed for our iniquities.  The punishment that brought us peace was upon Him and by His wounds we are healed.”  We are healed by His wounds.

One time, the Prince of Wales visited a hospital where there were 36 severely injured people and they said, “You don't want to go see them.”  He said, “Yes I do.”  And so they let him in and he visited 30 of the men and he said, “Where are the other six?”  “Well, they’re too disfigured for you to see.”  “Well, I want to see them anyway.”  So he went in to a room and there were five really disfigured men, and he talked with them and visited with them and he said, “Where's the last one?”  “Well, you don't want to see him!”  “Yes I do.”  So he came into the room where the last man was, and he was terribly disfigured.  He had served his country, and almost killed.  Excruciating pain, and the Prince of Wales knelt down, touched his face.  He said, “Your wounds have paid for my freedom.  I appreciate you.  You were wounded for me.”  And the Bible says, “He was wounded for our transgressions.  He was bruised for our iniquities.  The chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we were healed.”  What Jesus went through for us.  How wonderful of a Person we… 

You're going to see Jesus someday.  You're going to see Jesus face-to-face and when you see Him you’re not going to see a person that’s sad, you’re going to see one of the happiest People you've ever met in your whole life.

Come to the book of Revelation, chapter 22.  Our last scripture for the day.  Revelation 22, and I want to read this beautiful 4 verses beginning with verse 1.  Revelation 22.  “The angel showed me the river of the water of life as clear as crystal flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city.  On each side of the river stood the tree of life bearing 12 crops of fruit.  Yielding its fruit every month and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.  No longer will there be any curse.  The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city and His servants will serve Him and they will” what?  “They will see His face.”  That's right!  “They will see His face and His name will be on their foreheads and there will be no more night, because Jesus will be the Light of the place.”

You're going to see Jesus face.  You’re going to see His face soon.  Are you going to be there?  Are you going to be present on that day?  You'll see His face then if you try to behold His face now.  If you behold Him every day, you read of Him, you plant His word in your heart.  If you focus on Jesus today, you will see Him then.  And so my plea to you right now is, behold Him every day in your life.  Study Jesus.  Pray to Jesus.  Fill your life with Jesus.  Fill your thoughts with Jesus.  The last time of the day, fill your mind with Jesus, and you'll have sweet dreams.  It’ll change your life because Jesus will come in.

Let's sing our closing hymn, number 206, Face to Face.

Hymn of Praise:  #229 All Hail The Power of Jesus Name
Scripture: Psalm 33:18-21
Hymn of Response:  #206 Face to Face

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McDonald Road Sermon transcribed by Steve Foster 10/19/08