Face to Face

Christmas 2017

Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee, Rembrandt van Rijn, 1633 (see Mark 4:35-41). Image of the work used here for educational purposes courtesy of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston under CC 4.0. To read the fascinating story of this work's whereabouts, see the Gardner Museum's page dedicated to the unsolved mystery of the 1990 heist in which the painting disappeared.

Dear Friend,

Look at the face of Jesus in Rembrandt’s masterful Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee. It’s clear from his expression and the placement of his hand that he’s just waking up. The disciples are in utter despair at the mercy of a great storm, but they are about to see another convincing proof of “his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)

Jesus is the Son of God, about to support that truth with evidence. Yet it’s striking that Jesus is face to face with this motley crew, physically present in the boat with them, dazed as he wakes from sleep just as they would be dazed in waking. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us...” (John 1:14)

Detail from Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee, Rembrandt van Rijn, 1633 (see image above)

In becoming flesh, Jesus dwelt among the disciples in all of their mess. He was face to face with their fear and their lack of faith, present with them so that they could relate to his glory in a way particularly necessary for them.

Jesus related to people face to face. We aspire to imitate our Savior in this simple motion every time we step onto a college campus to try to help some of those who are far from Christ’s perspective come closer to the truth and closer to Christ. We aspire to imitate Christ every time we step into a workshop or seminar to lead a group of Christ’s followers in interactive exercises, preparing them to create conversations.

I invite you to look at the art, pictured nearby, again. Reflect on the very special miracle of Christ’s face to face relationship with his disciples which reveals a unique dimension of His love for them (and for each of us).

I invite you also to spend some time looking at the pictures from our recent events, reflecting on the striking image you’ll see repeated over and over in those photos, too: we are simply followers of Christ, humbly seeking to relate face to face with people in desperate need, hoping to save very small children and very desperate mothers from the tragedy and horror of abortion. Thank you for partnering with us to train Christians to make these face to face encounters common. Merry Christmas!

That all may behold His glory,

Steve Wagner

Executive Director

PS: You can still give a special year-end gift in 2017 using this link.