Reading the Face of Christ


As Peter, having heard the rooster crow, looked at the face of Christ it seems to me he saw a conflict of affections. There was an angry and upbraiding face against Peter’s revolt. He saw also, it seems to me, a pitiful face commiserating his frailty, and yet another face of mercy converting him, and a gracious and favourable face inviting him to return.

If it were the face of anger, we see then the faith of Peter and of all the godly, which through the clouds of Christ’s displeasure can discover the comforting light of the gracious Saviour, as well as through His veil of flesh discern the power and majesty of God. Remember the woman in the Gospel who could interpret the odious name of “dog” (Matthew 15:26), uttered from the mouth of Christ, to be a test of faith and not a rejection. In this Christ was hiding His mercy rather than denying it.

If it were the face of grace and invitation we see the nature of sin which makes a man afraid even of an appeased God. We see also the nature of repentance, which when the soul is invited to the rivers of joy, will first drink of those bitter tears which makes the heart of sinners heavy. If it were a pitiful and commiserating face that Peter saw in Christ we see how it works the like qualities in Peter who begins to lament himself, what was first lamented by his Saviour. Lord, never let the face of Christ be turned back from me, but be always pleased to look on me, whether in tender displeasure or in a pitiful mercy so that I may be driven by sorrow out of myself to look by faith to Christ.

Dr. Edward Reynolds was born in 1599 in Southampton, England. He received his BA degree at Oxford in 1618. In 1622, before studying for his masters, Reynolds became a chaplain to the king and preacher at Lincoln’s Inn, London. The puritanical inclinations of Dr. Reynolds were well known; his character of piety and decorum were evident even in his college years. Edward Reynolds is known as the Bishop of Norfolk, but he was bishop for only the final fifteen years of his life and ministry. Prior to that he was the rector of Braunston, Northamptonshire, for almost thirty years. Although Reynolds was a Presbyterian by conviction, he had a reputation of moderation in his church polity. This was evidenced in his role in the Westminster Assembly. He was the only member to sit on all three of the major committees on the Confession of Faith, and with his moderate spirit provided balance in the discussions.
These devotions are taken from the works of Edward Reynolds. They have been edited for © 2013 thinkgospel.