What I See, When they See!
Recently, one of my fellow chaplains shared a discussion she had in a Bible study at the jail. The ladies were all wondering about the expression upon Jesus’ face, and it got me thinking — just what did people see when they looked at Jesus?
For instance, what did Peter see when he stared into the face of Jesus walking toward him on the water? More to the point, what was the expression upon Jesus’ face as He invited Peter to do the impossible — step out of a boat in the middle of a raging storm and “Come”?
Was Jesus smiling? Was He excited to see Peter’s faith in action as he trusted explicitly in the unspoken promise of that one little word — “Come”? Was it a look of amusement, knowing how this scene was going to play out — that Peter was about to get very wet? What did Peter see in the face of his LORD?
Or here’s another one. Peter is huddling around a fire just trying to stay warm. Suddenly, he finds himself confronted by a servant girl, “You also were with Jesus of Galilee.” It happens again and again until, finally, Peter “began to call down curses, and he swears to them, ‘I don’t know the man!’” Immediately, the rooster crows, and Peter looks up to see Jesus looking straight at him.
What did Peter see this time? What was the expression upon Jesus’ face? What was this look that sent Peter running out into the night weeping and filled with bitter despair? Was it a look of disgust and incredulity, disappointment and hurt? Was it sadness and concern for Peter’s soul?
And how about the widow of Nain? She had just lost her only son and (with her husband already gone) her only means of support? As they were making their way out of the city for the burial, Jesus brings their funeral procession to a halt by reaching out to touch the young man’s coffin. What did this grieving mother see through her tears?
Was it a look of profound sadness? Was it a look of righteous anger toward sin which had so corrupted this beautiful world that Jesus had created for mankind to enjoy forever? Was it joy-filled anticipation, knowing what He was about to do for this truly devastated woman? What did she see when she looked into the face of her Savior?
While I cannot tell you what Peter or this grieving widow saw, I can tell you what I see when I share the Gospel with the inmates in prison. When they come face-to-face with Jesus on the pages of Holy Scripture, when they see that literally every word Jesus ever spoke, and every action He ever took, could be summed up in a single word — love — here’s what I see:
- I see watery eyes and free-flowing tears, as they begin to grasp the truth about sins forgiven — about a loving Savior who even forgives their sins.
- I see relief, as the Holy Spirit lifts the crushing burden of guilt that their own sinfulness has placed upon their shoulders — guilt that many have been carrying around for years.
- I see peace and contentment — gifts from a loving Father in heaven who never gave up on his prodigal sons and who never stopped waiting for them to simply trust in His love and return to Him in repentance.
- And, I see joy. That’s right, joy! Joy that fills the hearts of these often forgotten and overlooked souls. Despite their circumstances, despite the fact that many of them will be incarcerated for years and years to come, they feel blessed by God.
This Lenten season, as we journey with Jesus to Calvary’s cross and are reminded, once again, that everything Jesus said and did was the very embodiment of love, please, consider partnering with us in this ministry of sharing Jesus’ love. Join us in bringing the message of the Gospel to these often forgotten and overlooked souls, so that they, too, might see the loving face of their Savior.
Chaplain Joseph Radsek