I have always enjoyed watching TV programs of ancient civilizations, History’s Mysteries, and the like. The other day I found a reshowing of the Shroud of Turin on the History Channel that promised to reveal the face of Jesus. I watched as the scientists and computer engineers reconstruct the face from the cloth.
I waited anxiously for the outcome. What would the computer generated picture reveal? Experts from all sects of Christianity weighed in; archeologists were giddy with data, the history of the shroud explained, etc., etc. I finally found myself yelling at the TV, “Just show me the picture already!”
Even so, I knew that there would be a 99 percent chance that the face on the cloth would not be Jesus. John 20:6-7 says, “And so Simon Peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself.” (emphasis mine)
If the one percent chance turned out to be true, a portion of me didn’t want the shroud to reveal Christ. Although the cloth would authenticate the Biblical accounts of Jesus, people would see it as a symbol of worship. The cloak would become an idol and a distraction from the Savior who lived-loved and sacrificed his life for us. People would come from everywhere to touch it, make claims of miraculous healings, or even spark an unexpected moment of uncontrollable weeping.
Nevertheless, I still wanted to see him.
After an hour and a half of torturous delay, I saw the face emerge from a flat surface to a detailed three-dimensional picture. (Watch the short video here) It was everything the program had publicized it to be.
I suddenly found myself crying uncontrollably! I replayed it several times. The more I looked, the more I cried. I know, I had a strange sappy moment, but that could have been Him.
As I stared at the image on the screen, a strange peace came over me. I felt that all in the world was right again. All my suffering, pain, and hardship had all been worth it. For a moment, in my mind, I had seen the face of my Redeemer, and all would be okay.
I can’t imagine the moment in heaven when we will see the face of Jesus. I hope to be as the Apostle John who laid his head on Jesus’ bosom and rested.
Psalms 105:4 says, “Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face continually.” Commentators note that to ‘Seek his face’ is a longing for intimacy.
Likewise, Psalms 27:8 says, “When You said, ‘Seek My face,’ my heart said to You, “Your face, O Lord, I shall seek.” The MacArthur Bible Commentary says, “God’s face indicates His personal presence or simply His being. Seeking his face is a primary characteristic of true believers who desire fellowship with Him.”
Even without knowing the man on the Shroud of Turin, the cloth can encourage us to seek the face of Jesus, who is the reason why we can boldly approach the throne of God.
In Charles Spurgeon’s Treasury of David, he provides a quote about Psalms 27:8, which says, “God is willing to be known. God delights not to hide himself. Therefore, we may observe by the way, that when we’re in any dark condition, that a Christian finds not the beams of God shining on him, let him not lay the blame on God. The fault is altogether in us; for God says, ‘Seek my face.'”*all Scripture taken from the NASB