The thoughts make the face
(J.R. Miller, "The Face of the Master")
"His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance!" Revelation 1:16
We have no picture of Jesus Christ. The paintings of Him which artists have given us, are only their conceptions of His appearance. None of these paintings, however noble and worthy they may be, are to be thought of as true portraits of the Master's face.
Yet the face of Jesus Christ must have been very beautiful. It is sin that disfigures the human countenance, and there was no sin in Him. His life was spotless and pure.
They tell us that the thoughts make the face. We cannot altogether hide our inner life from men's eyes. What goes on in the depths of our being, comes up to the surface in unmistakable indications and revealings. The faulty qualities of the heart work out in the life and betray themselves in the face.
If you are discontented — then the discontent will reveal itself in your features. If you have bitter thoughts and feelings in your heart — then the bitterness will write its hard lines on your countenance. But if you habitually think gentle thoughts, kindly thoughts, peaceful thoughts — then on your face will come gentleness, kindness, and peace. If you keep love in your heart amid all your afflictions and trials, all the irritations and harrowings of life — then your face will shine with love. There is much truth in the familiar lines:
"Beautiful thoughts make a beautiful soul,
And a beautiful soul makes a beautiful face."
We know that all the thoughts of the Master were beautiful thoughts. Heaven dwelt in Him, and there was never any fleck of stain upon His soul. In a world of hate, cruelty, and injustice — His heart was always full of love. Never was an unkind thought there for a moment. Infinite holiness dwelt in Him. All the beatitudes had their home in His bosom. All the fruits of the Spirit grew to perfect ripeness in Him.
"Whatever things are true,
whatever things are noble,
whatever things are just,
whatever things are pure,
whatever things are lovely,
whatever things are commendable,
if there is any virtue and
if there is anything praiseworthy —
meditate on these things!" Philippians 4:8
These were the things on which Jesus thought continually. He never had . . .
a sordid thought,
an impure thought,
a trivial thought,
a selfish thought.
His mind was never disturbed by discontent, by impurity, by anxiety. His converse was always with His Father. Though walking on the earth among sinful men, He really lived in Heaven. All His feelings, desires, affections, and emotions were holy. He always did those things that were pleasing to His Father. If beautiful thoughts make a beautiful soul — then the soul of Jesus was spotlessly, divinely beautiful. And if a beautiful soul makes a beautiful face — then the face of Jesus was transcendently lovely!
Sorrow mars some faces. It need not do so. Only when affliction is not accepted in love and faith — does it leave marks of disfigurement. Sorrow sweetly endured, transfigures the face, giving it new beauty. Jesus was a man of sorrows. But His sorrows only made His face more radiant.
Poverty writes hard lines on some faces. Jesus was poor — He had nowhere to lay His head. But His poverty left no trace on His features — except to make them gentler, kindlier, more sympathetic toward human poverty and need. His face was quiet, calm, serene, heavenly.