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From the Editor: “And they shall see his face ...” (Rev 22.4)

Phil Coulson

As another year fades into the past, the believer’s anticipation of the Lord’s return to the air will surely be heightened. There is little to suggest that 2016 will shine brightly in the annals of human history. Corruption, political intrigue, warfare, famine and untold misery all testify to the increase of wickedness in this fallen world. Great powers are manoeuvring once again, and the groaning of creation increases in frequency and intensity. The institutions of man are teetering on the brink of collapse and, scanning the horizon of 2017, we see the storm clouds of global distress welling up. Against the darkness and uncertainty of such a backdrop, by divine grace believers are “looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2.13).

When contemplating that unspeakably glorious moment when we see the face of the Lord Jesus, it is understandable that we have our own wonderful experience in view. But will some look upon Him with a greater eagerness, and deeper adoration, than others? If that sight will be glory for you and me, what will it be (have you wondered?) for Mary, the mother of the Lord Jesus? That dear woman, “highly favoured … blessed … among women” (Lk 1.28) was born under law, but died under grace. She is unique for a number of reasons, but one of them is that she will spend eternity having seen the face of the Lord in the Crib, on the Cross, and with the Crown.

In the Crib – Love Mingled with Amazement

It is always delightful to observe the gaze of a mother upon her newly-born child. The look is one of absolute love, blended with fascination, as gently she explores the tiny fingers, toes and face of the child she brought into the world. Her heart may well be overwhelmed by a sense of the utter dependency of that little one upon her. Mary gazed into the face of her Infant in a humble crib and, doubtless, recalled with wonder the words of Gabriel, “that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Lk 1.35). As she held her firstborn to her breast, her eyes fixed upon His face, she would remember “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David … and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (vv 32-33). What worship would have arisen from that godly woman’s heart!

On the Cross – Love Mingled with Anguish

Mary knew the Scriptures well but, in common with the rest of the Nation from whom the prospect of a suffering Messiah had been hidden, she probably was unprepared for the intensity of the anguish she would know at Calvary. True, in Simeon’s blessing she had been told that “a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also” (Lk 2.35), but the brutal reality within the words “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother …” (Jn 19.25) must have been dreadful beyond imagination. Could any heart be unmoved by the contemplation of what Mary endured that day? She looked at the face she loved, and it was unrecognisable as that of her firstborn. Beaten terribly by cruel men, anointed with their spittle, and bathed by the blood that flowed from that vicious crown of thorns, the sight of that face was etched into the memory of Mary, His mother.

With the Crown – Love Mingled with Adoration

One day – we do not know when – Mary passed away and, albeit in her “unclothed” state (2 Cor 5.4), she was back immediately in the presence of the Man she had brought into the world. Soon, when the Lord calls His Bride to glory, Mary will be raised from among the dead and, in her glorified body, she will “meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thess 4.17). For Mary, and for the Lord Himself, what a reunion that will be! For us, He is the One “whom having not seen, ye love” (1 Pet 1.8) but, for Mary, who knew Him and loved Him here, there will be the joy of no more parting. She, with us, will witness the glorious coronation of “the carpenter, the son of Mary” (Mk 6.3) and, praise God, together we “shall see his face”.


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