“…No Beauty…To Attract Us…” Isaiah 53:2
Do you remember about Whom the above words were written? Acts, chapter eight, makes crystal clear that they were written of Jesus. On this end of the story, I can’t imagine it being true. In every picture I saw of Him as I was growing up, He always stood out. He was central. Either His face was shining or there was a halo above His head. And for the last 55 years, I have worshiped Him as God’s only begotten Son. I have sung and led numerous hymns that praise His beauty and majesty…preached many a sermon about His loveliness. But as I think about Isaiah 53 again today…I wonder…if I had been there when the “unspectacular” Jesus was eking out His existence like a root out of dry ground…if I had passed this One Whose poverty and plainness was so apparent.. .could I have accepted Him as the Son of God?
He lived in the presence of God like other ordinary desert rabble. God didn’t grant Him special favors. He was not filled with charisma. By outward appearances He was just another Jew in the midst of many. And when it came to suffering, He shared in it like all the rest. He kept proclaiming that faith in God was the answer to all their troubles, but when trouble came, He suffered with the rest…more than the rest. God didn’t hide Him from grief. He was treated as no one special. The proof that He was just another dirty, little Jew (to foreigners) was the way they mistreated and mocked Him. And the proof that He was just another Jew (to Jews) was that He suffered with “all the other sinners.” So they esteemed Him not.
What of us? If we had been there, would we have given Him a chance? Or would we have written Him off in favor of some flashy, more successful looking rabbi who was respected by all the good, religious folks? I’m not at all sure I would have recognized Him then.
And, I wonder, if I recognize Him today. I am too enamored with the exciting to be bothered by the eternal. I am so preoccupied with success that I can’t even understand “surrender.” My heart is so filled with cares, there is no room for Christ. Unless, of course, He is willing to make Himself known to me dramatically…with flash and flair. But He doesn’t. He offers us a look at pierced hands and feet…the chance to see real Beauty…He provides us an opportunity to mourn our sins…to know His comfort…and to be like the unattractive Jesus.