The concept of “face to face” plays a large role in our culture’s definition of intimacy. Text messages or emails are great, but we still crave that personal interaction; we want to be able to discern the feelings revealed by the face. When we are face to face with someone, we can see love, tenderness, shame, or pain in their expressions—emotions that don’t always come through in other forms of communication.
So how can we have an intimate relationship with our Father when we can never see Him face to face? In the Old Testament, we see over and over again that nobody was able to look upon God’s holy face. In Exodus 33, Moses could see God’s back, but not the full glory of His face.
“Moses said, ‘Please show me your glory.’ And He said, ‘I will make all My goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you My name ‘The Lord.’ …. But,’ He said, ‘you cannot see My face, for man shall not see Me and live.’ And the Lord said, ‘Behold, there is a place by Me where you shall stand on the rock, and while My glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen.’” – Exodus 33:18-23
Our answer is found in Jesus. When Christ was on the earth, scripture says He revealed the glory of God. John 1:14 says, “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
In John 14:8-10, when Philip asked Jesus to show them the Father, Jesus responded, ‘Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.’
If we seek to know the God we can’t see face to face, we have to look at Jesus, whose purpose was to reveal the Father. We look at how He brought light to those in darkness, healed the sick, canceled debts, freed the slaves, and proclaimed God’s favor and grace while face to face with the same people He would be betrayed and crucified by.
We look at Jesus and remember that as our perfect Savior walked to the cross on our behalf, we looked upon the holy face of God, and spit on it.
“Then they spit in His face and struck him. And some slapped Him”
– Matthew 26:67
The act of spitting shows disdain or contempt. When we sin against God, or show contempt for His Word, we are essentially spitting in the face of His sacrifice. But if you want to know how your Heavenly Father feels about you, despite your darkest sins, remember that Jesus kept walking. He still went to the cross. He still cried out, “Father, why have You forsaken Me?” so that we would never have to.
When He gave up His spirit, scripture says that, “the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (Matthew 27:51). In Jerusalem, the holy temple had a veil that separated man from God’s presence, signifying that we were separated by our sin. But through Jesus, we now have full access to God’s presence in the Most Holy Place.
Intimacy is to know and be known. Scripture says that God knows every hair on our heads (Matthew 10:30)—He knows every hurt and every hope we have ever had—and Jesus came so that we could know Him in return. We are able to see God’s glory and grace through Christ’s ministry and spend time in His presence because of Christ’s sacrifice. Relationship with the Father comes through the Son.
“The glory that you have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one even as We are one, I in them and You in Me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that You sent Me and loved them even as You loved Me.” – John 17:22-23