June 2019- His Face (continued)
The Submissive Face
As we continue to look at the mention of the "Face" of the Saviour in Matthew’s Gospel, we come to Matthew 26:39 and we are reminded of another aspect of the moral glory of our Lord Jesus: His submissiveness in relation to God His Father. In this chapter we see Him coming to a place called Gethsemane. What lies before him is the hatred and rejection by men, the cruelty of the cross, and the ignominy of death. Knowing all this, He goes in to pray to His Father, telling His disciples in verse 38, "My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death": tarry ye here, and watch with me", and then in the following verse we read that He "fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt".
What we have before us in this portion of Scripture is the absolute obedience and voluntary submission of the Lord Jesus. The Psalmist would remind us in Psalm 40 of His delight in doing the will of God. In the face of the impending cup of wrath which He had to drink, He was not rebellious, as Isaiah 50:5 would tell us, but He said, "Nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done" (Luke 22:42). The submissive nature of Christ was seen not only in these words here but also in His deeds. Luke would remind us in chapter 9:51, that He set His Face to go to Jerusalem, and when His hour was come the Lord Jesus according to the will of the Father went forth to the cross and became "obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" (Phil 2:8).
The Slighted Face
In Matthew 26:67 we read: "Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands". Spitting in one’s face was an aggressive act, and to those who had been spat upon it brought shame and humiliation. The One whom God had crowned with glory and honour, whom Isaiah had seen as being seated upon a throne, high and lifted up, and whose train had filled the temple (Is 6:1), Him did the sons of men shame and humiliate.
In considering that lovely Face which was spat upon, our mind goes to the Servant Songs of Isaiah. Twice in chapter 50, Isaiah talks about the Lord’s Face: in verse 6 the Lord prophesies of a coming day, when He says, "I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting". Then in verse 7 He says, "therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed". How uplifting it is to our souls, that the Lord Jesus, knowing that He would be spat upon, "set his face like a flint", enduring all the humiliation and shame for us, yet said, "I shall not be ashamed". Isaiah would remind us of how much our Lord suffered when he said that "his (the Lord’s) visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men" (Is 52:14).
Thus, as we are "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13), can I encourage you that, what Peter, James and John saw on that glorious day on the mount, will one day be our privilege. John would remind us in Revelation 22.4, "And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads". It will be a Face that will shine as it shone on that day on the Mount of Transfiguration, for John would tell us in verse 5: "And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light". So, as we contemplate that Glorious Face, what a lovely prospect we have that one day we shall see "His Face".