Just three months ago, the Christian world said goodbye to a very special brother in Christ. Founder of Koinonia House Ministry, Chuck was much loved by believers across the world. A prolific writer, speaker and teacher, Chuck is greatly missed, but he is with the One whom he loves, and now sees Him face to face.
A brother in Christ said to me that this piece was “Chuck at his best.” I do believe that was an accurate statement.
A Biblical Mystery:
That early Sunday morning, even Mary fails to recognize Jesus at first.1 She mistakes Him for the gardener-until she hears His voice. She was no casual acquaintance: a few days earlier she washed His feet with her tears! Why didn’t she know who He was until she heard His voice? It seems that “Mary!” prompted her recognition.
Later that afternoon, Jesus joined two disciples on the Emmaus Road, and for seven miles He gives them an Old Testament Bible study.
Although “their eyes were holden that they should not know Him,” the Bible doesn’t really explain what this means. In any case, they did recognize Him when He broke the bread at dinner. (This itself is odd, since it was the role of the host-not the guest-to break the bread.) Their tip-off was in viewing the nail prints in His hands. (They confirmed this later that evening.)
These two disciples join the gathering that evening in the upper room and confirm His appearance, emphasizing that it was in the breaking of the bread that they realized who He was. Why not during the seven-mile walk? What is going on here?
When Jesus ultimately emerges in their midst, we find them all terrified. Astonished, of course, but why frightened? For some reason they don’t recognize Him until they examine His wounds! Why?
The Galilean Breakfast
Perhaps the most puzzling thing occurs later at the Sea of Galilee. When they join Him for that early morning breakfast on the seashore, John makes the strangest remark: “And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord.” What does that mean?
A Possible Clue
We should remember that the Bible is a single, integrated message — 66 books, penned by over 40 authors over thousands of years, but in which every detail is there by supernatural engineering. Thus, we also need to recognize that:
the New Testament is in the Old Testament concealed;
the Old Testament is in the New Testament revealed.
There are many surprising insights and details in the Old Testament which amplify the New, including some astonishing physical descriptions.
A familiar example is Psalm 22, which reads as if it were dictated by Jesus Himself as He hung on the cross. He describes His pain, the piercing of His hands and feet; He quotes the taunts of the crowd and observes the parting of His clothes, etc. The Psalm even opens and closes with His first and final words from the cross.
Another such passage is Isaiah 53. This passage, sometimes called “The Holy of Holies of the Old Testament,” highlights the implications of the cross as eloquently as any of Paul’s epistles. In Isaiah 52:14, however, it specifies that the extent of the abuse left Jesus hardly even looking human.
Yet another most disturbing detail appears a page earlier:
I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair. Isaiah 50:6
This seems to indicate that the Roman soldiers ripped off His beard! No wonder His friends had trouble recognizing Him!
I had an occasion some years ago to work with a software specialist who wore a very full beard. One day he came to work with it shaved off. I almost didn’t recognize him! It is surprising what a difference a single feature like that can make.
(And this didn’t involve any scar tissue or other evidences of abuse resulting from treatment received at the hands of vicious Roman soldiers.)
An Emblem of Love
I am reminded of a young mother whose face was badly disfigured. Her little girl was continually ridiculed by the children in school because of her mother’s appearance. (You know how cruel children can be.)
When the little girl was old enough, the mother explained to her that when she was a baby there was a dreadful fire in the apartment and, although the mother was able to save the little girl, the mother herself suffered very severe burns in the process. From that day on, the little girl was no longer embarrassed about her mother. Every time she looked into her mother’s face it was a reminder of just how much she was loved.
Is it possible that, in addition to the nail prints, there were additional scars-perhaps where His beard used to be-that caused their difficulty in recognizing Him? Are they still there? Does Jesus still bear the marks of His humiliation?
In the Book of Revelation, John is propelled forward in time some several thousand years and is granted a vision of the throne of God. In Revelation 5 we find “the lamb as it had been slain,” apparently still bearing the scars of the cross. They say that the only man-made things in heaven are His scars.
When Jesus returns to rule Israel, He proclaims, “And they shall look upon me whom they have pierced.”
The marks of His humiliation are also the marks of His glory. Furthermore, I’m sure the most significant aspects of the cross were not the physical or physiological aspects. I believe it will take us an eternity to even begin to understand what it cost Him that we might be with Him.
He was born of a woman so that we could be born of God.
He humbled Himself so that we could be lifted up.
He became a servant so that we could be made co-heirs.
He suffered rejection so that we could become His friends.
How precious our Redeemer is! Have you really thanked Him lately? source
I sat quietly after reading this profound account of the appearance of our precious Lord Jesus after his crucifixion. I felt so many emotions; overwhelming emotions. With my head bowed as the tears soaked my face, I did thank Him as I have never thanked Him before.
I will never forget this writing by our brother Chuck Missler. I am changed by it.
Have you really thanked Him lately?
9 thoughts on ““His Unfamiliar Face” In Memory of Chuck Missler: Oh How He Blessed Us”
Thank you for sharing such a powerful message! It takes your breath away. Thank you precious Jesus.
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Ahh, what a Wonderful sharing by Chuck! Thank you, so much!
I”ve often wondered why the pictures, etc., of Jesus hanging on the Cross, make Him look so very recognizable as a man. The Scriptures say He did not look even human by the time he was laid on the Cross. I guess most people do not understand what those Roman whips, inlaid with nails, pieces of iron/metal, glass, etc., did to the crucified! No one ever survived a lashing of 40 lashes. The only one who did was Jesus! When the Romans wanted them to survive they stopped the lashings at number 30. And, even then, many died. Those lashes ripped all the way into the body…skin, tissues, ligaments, tendons, muscles, were torn out. Often they pierced the bone. The organs were caught and pulled through the body to hang outside the body. The Crown of Thorns…those thorns were very sharp, like needles, and 4″-6″ long. The use thorns pierced deep inside His head. He was beaten, very badly, several times. The whips pierced not only through His back, but also His front. Indeed, our Lord hung on the Cross and did not look human. Only His gasping Voice could be recognized. I actually wonder if God “covered” His face…the scars would have scared the women and discipled…He would not look human…and neither the women not the disciples were scared. Why did they not recognize His voice(?)…perhaps they (as we) were not prepared to consciously recognize His voice. They still did not quite understand everything HE had taught them. They were quite literally heart-broken and traumatized by all that had happened. Remember, Jesus showed the 10 disciples the nail-prints in His hands and feet before they believed He was Yeshua ha’ Maishaich. Thomas didn’t recognized him either…Yeshua showed him His hands and feet, also. And, Thomas was the only one to say, “my Lord, and my God!” He was the devout Jew who knew exactly what he was confessing out loud. Jesus never berated him, either. Peter, when saying from the fishing boat, “it is the Lord,” first heard His voice. Just some of my thoughts… I don’t know about you’all, but I cannot wait for Heaven!!!
Apologies for the long post. And, the few words that “spell-check” changed that I did not see before I posted the comments.
I do Like Chuck, but……Cosmic Codes. This VERY eisegetical and unbiblical. He did resort to eisegesis way too much for my liking. However in some cases it’s best NOT to throw out the baby with the bathwater.
He was a very flawed man. Then again, so am I.
‘Oh , how I love Jesus”. Thank you, Chuck and Geri and all who Love Jesus.
open my eyes, that i might cry, and sense the pain that You endured, and that the tears that flow would be water for my soul, that i would closer to You Oh Lord * amen
that i would grow closer to You Oh Lord * ,……grow closer!!!
This is a master piece well captured. How great is our God.
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