Christ’s Loving Face: Seeing Him

Christ’s Loving Face: Seeing Him November 1, 2023

The blind who are healed see His loving face.
Le Sueur/Wikimedia Commons

Children may learn to know Christ’s loving face.

I feel my Savior’s love / In all the world around me.
His Spirt warms my soul, / Through ev’rything I see . . .
I feel my Savior’s love; / Its gentleness enfolds me,
And when I kneel to pray, / My heart is filled with peace.1

 What a blessing this song is, whether sung by a child in wonder or an adult in gratitude. Phrases like “warms my soul” and “gentleness enfolds me” express in such moving language the love Jesus extends to all of Heavenly Father’s children of all ages. Feeling and reaching out for this love, seeing Christ’s loving face in our minds and in our hearts has always been life-changing.

Blessings to Feel and See

 When I hear the song “I Feel My Savior’s Love,”  I recall the privilege I had many years ago to hear its composer/author Newell Dayley speak of his experience writing it. I can’t remember all the details, but I remember the feelings I had when he described the inspiration that brought it to him. “My heart is filled with peace” as I can see with my mind Christ’s loving face,  even in the troubling “world around me.”

In the scripture Christ read and applied to Himself publicly at the beginning of His ministry, “the recovery of sight to the blind” was specifically mentioned. Many of those who had had sight before earth life and lost it coming here had it restored by the Savior.

 Can we possibly imagine their joy as their first sight was of Christ’s loving face, bathed in daylight they had never experienced? At the moment of healing, they knew His face and felt His love.

Lives of Service and Sacrifice

 President Thomas S. Monson expressed, “[Christ’s] life was a legacy of love.”2  Among those who best knew Christ’s loving face were those who most freely sacrificed and most diligently served Him. Those whose lives were centered in Him. A few Biblical examples may illustrate.

Mary, Martha, and Lazarus were blessed by Christ’s intimate friendship and frequent presence in their home. Listening to and learning from Him as they “served” him temporally were privileges for this family. Christ wept with the sisters at the temporary death of Lazarus. He knew He would restore Lazarus to life, but He felt their pain personally.

Among the most faith-filled,  loving, and loyal of Christ’s followers was a group of women who followed Him literally as well as spiritually. They sought only to see Christ’s loving face and to feel His comforting touch. The best known, Mary Magdalene, had been healed by Christ, and she aided Him in disciple-like ways. Others had also been healed. Some were mothers of disciples and other followers.

 They served Him in his ministry, accompanied Him during the final days in Jerusalem, and stood “afar off” at Calvary—watching everything, following afterward to perform some burial rites unnoticed.

Visits from Heaven

The Book of Acts tells of some who saw Christ’s loving face and heard His voice when He was no longer on earth. As the murderous crowd closed in around him, Stephen, “being full of the Holy Ghost, look up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God” in loving welcome (Acts 7: 56).

When Saul of Tarsus first encountered Christ, love was less apparent. Surrounded by bright heavenly light, he heard the words “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” —clearly no earthly encounter. “Who art thou Lord?” he asked. As Jesus identified himself, Saul, “trembling and astonished” gasped, “What wilt thou have me to do?” As Saul was being taken into Damascus, Christ told the prophet Ananias, who was to help and teach Saul,  “He is a chosen vessel to me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the Children of Israel.”

With his name changed to Paul, this extraordinary vessel was to was to be a witness of Christ’s loving face—to be guided, watched over, and inspired continually. On two additional occasions recorded in Acts, he was personally visited by Christ. While praying in the temple of Jerusalem, he experienced “a trance” in which he “saw [Christ] saying unto [him], Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me” (Acts 22: 17-18).

Later, on a night following contention and threatened violence, “the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul; for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness at Rome” (Acts 23:11).

Our Need to See Christ’s Loving Face

Dale G. Renlund cautioned, “God’s love is perfect. Our ability to sense that love is not.”3

Robert M. Daines described his childhood view of his mother as “the rule maker,” explaining he did not see her”as a real person . . . I saw her rules but didn’t see in them her love.” Elder Daines recalled that even in early adulthood he did not accurately see Christ’s Loving Face. He “struggle[d] to see God as a loving Father . . . “see[ing] not the face of love and mercy but a thicket of rules.” How desperately we need “to see Jesus for who He is and to feel His love.” His covenants are “the shape of God’s embrace.”4  Obedience to His covenants and commandments are our loving responses to His loving path.

Many who struggled with the rules of the Law of Moses and the Laws of Rome did not recognize Christ’s loving face. But many did. Many of the blind received more than physical sight. Those who engaged with Him, walked with Him, listened to Him, and ministered to Him felt His love. Christ’s loving face returned to comfort Stephen and Paul.

Prophets have seen and talked with Christ. And children who think while they sing can feel His gentle love enfolding them, as His spirit warms their souls and brings them peace.

About Sharon Black
Sharon Black has spent more than 20 years as an associate teaching professor in the McKay School of Education at BYU—teaching as well as editing, writing, researching, designing curriculum, and doing other miscellaneous language-related items. She has authored or co-authored several books and written many book chapters, as well as authored and co-authored more journal and magazine articles than she will bother to count. She has edited more books, book chapters, journal articles, and administrative documents and projects than anyone will bother to count (or should). Most significant, she has three children and one grandchild. You can read more about the author here.

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