The Face of Jesus

Les and I spent the afternoon at the Philadelphia Museum of Art absorbing the beauty of Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus.

The exhibit focuses on how Rembrandt’s style of depicting Christ changed over his lifetime. Rather than stick with the established approved style, which highlighted Jesus’ divinity, Rembrandt used a live model and highlighted Jesus’ humanity, particularly his compassion. The oil paintings used to show the face of Jesus in different poses were probably based on a young Jewish man in Amsterdam. The seven shown in the show were used as models for his life of Jesus paintings and etchings. Jesus is shown healing, teaching, reaching out with compassion to the poor, his face lit by love.

How do you see the face of Jesus? According to Matthew 25, we see the face of Jesus in the face of the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and the imprisoned:

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’”

Am I as enthralled with the the face of Jesus in this setting as I was in the museum? Does his compassion light my face as I live as his hands and feet in my community?

Where are you seeing Jesus these days? And how are others seeing him in you? Please use the comment box to share your answers with me.

It’s not all about the priceless art. In God’s eyes, it’s about the priceless people.



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