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Quiet Talks About Jesus by S. D. Gordon

The Face of Jesus

Jesus was God letting man see the beauty of His face and listen to the music of His voice, and feel the irresistibly gentle drawing power of His presence. Jesus was very winsome. He drew men. He said that if He were lifted up He would draw men. They who heard that could believe it, for He drew them before He was lifted up. He drew the crowds. Yet many a leader that has drawn the crowds has led them astray. He drew men -- men of strongest mentality, scholarly, cultured, thoughtful men, and every other sort. Yet men have often been befooled in their leaders. He drew women. Here is a great test. Men may be deceived in a man. But woman, true strong woman, pure womanly woman, because of her keen discernment into spirit and motive, cannot be deceived, when true to her inner conviction.

He drew children. This was the highest test. The child, fresh from the hand of God, before it is appreciably hurt by parents or surroundings, is drawn to the pure and good. They are repelled by selfishness and badness. They draw out the best. They are drawn only by the true and beautiful and good. That is, in the early years, before the warping of a selfish, sinful atmosphere has hurt them. This is an infallible test. This told most His winsomeness.

Bad people were drawn to Him. That is, bad in their lives. Rarely indeed is a human so wholly bad as to be untouched by true goodness, by sincere love. Here is the touchstone of service. He touched that spot in the lowest, and by His presence increased the hunger of their hearts for purity and for sympathy up toward purity.

His enemies -- a very small group, but in a position of great power, holding the national reins -- His enemies were drawn to Him, by a drawing they fought, but could not resist. They admired Him while hating Him. His presence disturbed because it accused the opposite in them. They recognized the purity, the love, the rugged honesty, the keen insight, the poised wisdom, and they hated Him the more intensely, so committed were they in the practice of their lives to the opposite of these. Jesus was very winsome. It was to be expected of Him, for He was a man unstained and unhurt by sin. Man, God's sort of man, is winsome, for he is in the image of God. It was to be expected of Him, for He was God. And God is winsome. Did men but know God they would throw themselves at His feet in the utter abandon of strong love.

Jesus' personality must have been very attractive, because of the man living within. He found expression in it. The spirit of a man finds expression in his presence. He goes out to others through his presence. From what we know of Jesus His presence must have had something distinctly impressive about it. He would have a gently majestic bearing. He walked upright like the king He was. He had the true dignity that is not conscious of its dignity.

Jesus must have had a remarkable face. One's presence centers peculiarly in the face. It comes to bear the imprint of the man inside. A man cannot keep out of his face the dominant spirit of his life. The sin of the life, the purity of the heart, is always stamped on the face. The finer the nature the plainer is the facial index. That is the reason women's faces reveal the inner spirit more than men's. Quite apart from His features, the inner spirit of Jesus must have made His face beautiful with a manly fascinating beauty. Yet in all likelihood those features were finely chiselled and the skin clear, and with the transfiguring power of the spirit within, that face must have been a great face in its beauty.

Jesus' face must have borne the impress of His experiences. The early home experience would bring out patience and simplicity and sympathy. Those forty days in the wilderness would intensify the purity and strength, and bring evidence of struggle and of victory. The Jordan waters, with the voice of approval, would deepen the mark of peace. Constant contact with the sick and suffering would bring out yet more the tenderness and gentleness. Constant teaching of undisciplined folk would intensify the patience. Constant contact with sin would intensify the unflinching sternness of purity. The Transfiguration would deepen the spirituality, with possibly an added glory-touch. Gethsemane wrote in the deep lines of intense suffering, with the intangible spirituality of victory and great peace. And, at the last, Calvary with its scars marked in a beauty of suffering and of spirituality refined beyond description. A marvellous face that human face of Jesus.

Indeed, the glory of God was in the face of Jesus as He walked quietly among men. Looking into that face men saw God. That simple, gentle, patient, pure face, with its deep peace and victory and yet its yearning -- that was God looking out into men's faces.

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