Author’s Note: Interested readers can find all previous volumes of this series here.
Today we conclude a two-part Bible Study series. Part 1 explored what the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) revealed about the Face of God, and in Part 2, we will discuss the New Testament.
To recap, last week I quoted Shroud of Turin expert Russ Breault from his presentation, “The Seven Secrets of the Sacred Shroud” (accessed free with password: shroudencounter3768) when during “The Face” segment he says:
“Something dramatically changed between the Old and New Testaments. In the Old, no one ever saw the face of God. In the New, everyone saw the face of Jesus. John [the Apostle] told us the glory of God was manifested in Christ.”
Breault is referring to the following passage:
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).
First, let’s try to define “his glory” – power, love, magnificence, splendor with awesomeness beyond human understanding. (Cue song: “Our God Is An Awesome God” performed by Michael W. Smith.)
Any time I see a spectacular sunrise or sunset, I always think, "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork" (Psalm 19:1).
And the Apostle Paul reiterates John (1:14) when he wrote:
For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God's glory displayed in the face of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6).
Let’s repeat, “God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” Now that is awesome!
Even more amazing, considering last week we read in Exodus, God said to Moses, "you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live" (Exodus 33:19-20).
However, also last week in 2 Chronicles 7:14, we discussed how God asked his people to “Seek his face.”
Now in the New Testament, we see how all signs point to seeking God through Christ. By believing in Him and how He died for our sins, not only will you live with “Christ in you, the hope of Glory,” but you will have eternal life.
The following passages summarize why God wants us to seek His face through Christ. (The bold was added for emphasis.)
For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time (I Timothy 2:5-6).
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23).
The face of Jesus is a “gift of God” depicted in works of art throughout the centuries. Although what he looks like varies depending on the medium used, when and where it was created, and by whom.
Most important, and unlike in the time of the Hebrew Bible, now we are “allowed” to see “His” face and live eternally. Moreover, recently what Jesus “really” looked like has been a hot topic.
Thankfully, the controversial, botched 1988 carbon-14 dating has been seriously challenged and come under increasing scrutiny. Since 1988, practically every year, more scientific evidence is revealed pointing to faulty conclusions that the Shroud dated between 1260 and 1320, which maligned and demeaned this Holy Cloth. So much so that any mention of the Shroud might turn off many readers.
However, if you are looking to “seek His face” and want to explore the mysterious properties of the “man’s” image as seen on the linen cloth – or think the Shroud is fake but want to know more – mark your calendar for Feb. 18, 2021. That is the day a groundbreaking, high-tech exhibition called “Mystery and Faith: The Shroud of Turin” is scheduled to open at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C.
Whether or not you believe the Shroud face is that of Jesus, the face speaks to anyone who looks upon it with reverence.
But only you will know in your heart, soul, and mind if the face on the Shroud is the face you are seeking when you are searching for the meaning of life, healing, the will to live, forgiveness of sin, and eternal life.
The New Testament tells us that the face of God is seen through the face of Jesus, and you can seek his face.
Finally, always remember why:
For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting (John 3:16). Amen!