“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Beautiful Jesus, inside and out

The other night at prayer meeting, in the middle of reading Isaiah 53 that Jesus’ heart was like a tender plant, we paused for a minute to talk about the facial featuers of Jesus. was He handsome or homely? Was He attractive or not? I said that He was handsome, but everyone else said He wasn’t. They emphasized the verse we had read, “For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.” (Is. 53:2).

They said even Ellen White said He was not handsome because that would attract attention away from His mission. But I’m not convinced. I certainly don’t like the way Hollywood uses a gorgeous man to play the part of Christ, and who makes the women giddy. However, based on my reading of scripture He was still a handsome man. I will list scripture and then Spirit of Prophecy to show my point.

Jesus was the son of David, and David was a good looking fellow. “And he sent, and brought him in. Now he [David] was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the Lord said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he.” (1Sam. 16:12). David means, “Beloved.” David was a type of Christ. Sarah and Rebecca, His matriarchs were also beautiful women. Isaac must have been handsome, and a type of Christ.

David, however, was not a tall or muscular youngster. He was called a stripling . “And the king said, Enquire thou whose son the stripling is.” (1Sam. 17:56). He didn’t present a kingly image as Saul did, nor as his brothers did. This makes me think that Jesus wasn’t tall and gallant, with the typical large-framed bearing of a king as the world loves to see it. They love to see a football or basketball player as their leader. Maybe Lucifer is bigger than the Son of God?

There is a good reason Isaiah said that the Messiah would have no comeliness. He referred to it just a few verses before this one. “As many were astonied at Thee; His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men:
So shall He sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at Him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.” (Is. 52:14,15). Our King was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Jesus was typified by a red heifer burnt offering (Num. 19) because His face was red, swollen, and bleeding from the bludgeoning and abuse He took in Caiaphas’ hall, then later in Herod’s palace, then once more at Pilate’s court.

“This is the ordinance of the law which the Lord hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke:
And ye shall give her unto Eleazar the priest, that he may bring her forth without the camp, and one shall slay her before his face:
And Eleazar the priest shall take of her blood with his finger, and sprinkle of her blood directly before the tabernacle of the congregation seven times:
And one shall burn the heifer in his sight; her skin, and her flesh, and her blood, with her dung, shall he burn.” (Num. 19:2-5).

Along with a bruised and bleeding body, the Lord of glory was stripped naked when He was crucified, in keeping with the Roman practice of crucifixion. It was for these reasons that “He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.”

Now let’s read what EGW said about His appearance.

This great purpose had been shadowed forth in types and symbols. The burning bush, in which Christ appeared to Moses, revealed God. The symbol chosen for the representation of the Deity was a lowly shrub, that seemingly had no attractions. This enshrined the Infinite. The all-merciful God shrouded His glory in a most humble type, that Moses could look upon it and live. So in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, God communicated with Israel, revealing to men His will, and imparting to them His grace. God’s glory was subdued, and His majesty veiled, that the weak vision of finite men might behold it. So Christ was to come in “the body of our humiliation” (Philippians 3:21, R. V.), “in the likeness of men.” In the eyes of the world He possessed no beauty that they should desire Him; yet He was the incarnate God, the light of heaven and earth. His glory was veiled, His greatness and majesty were hidden, that He might draw near to sorrowful, tempted men. Desire of Ages, p. 23.

For more than a thousand years the Jewish people had awaited the Saviour’s coming. Upon this event they had rested their brightest hopes. In song and prophecy, in temple rite and household prayer, they had enshrined His name. And yet at His coming they knew Him not. The Beloved of heaven was to them “as a root out of a dry ground;” He had “no form nor comeliness;” and they saw in Him no beauty that they should desire Him. “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.” Isaiah 53:2; John 1:11. Desire of Ages, p. 27.

The King of glory stooped low to take humanity. Rude and forbidding were His earthly surroundings. His glory was veiled, that the majesty of His outward form might not become an object of attraction. He shunned all outward display. Riches, worldly honor, and human greatness can never save a soul from death; Jesus purposed that no attraction of an earthly nature should call men to His side. Only the beauty of heavenly truth must draw those who would follow Him. The character of the Messiah had long been foretold in prophecy, and He desired men to accept Him upon the testimony of the word of God. Desire of Ages, p. 43.

Worldly associations attract and dazzle the senses so that piety, the fear of God, faithfulness, and loyalty have not power to keep men steadfast. The humble, unassuming life of Christ seems altogether unattractive. To many who claim to be sons and daughters of God, Jesus, the Majesty of heaven, is “as a root out of a dry ground: He hath no form nor comeliness.” Aventist Home, p. 461.

The world’s Redeemer did not come with outward display, or a show of worldly wisdom. Men could not see, beneath the guise of humanity, the glory of the Son of God. He was “despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” He was to them as “a root out of a dry ground,” with “no form nor comeliness,” [Isaiah 53:3, 2.] that they should desire Him. But He declared, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me; because the Lord hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.” [Isaiah 61:1.]
Christ reached the people where they were. He presented the plain truth to their minds in the most forcible, simple language. The humble poor, the most unlearned, could comprehend, through faith in Him, the most exalted truths. No one needed to consult the learned doctors as to His meaning. He did not perplex the ignorant with mysterious inferences, or use unaccustomed and learned words, of which they had no knowledge. The greatest Teacher the world has ever known, was the most definite, simple, and practical in His instruction. Gospel Workers, p. 49.

For more than a thousand years the Jewish people had waited the coming of the promised Saviour. Their brightest hopes had rested upon this event. For a thousand years, in song and prophecy, in temple rite and household prayer, His name had been enshrined; and yet when He came, they did not recognize Him as the Messiah for whom they had so long waited. “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.” John 1:11. To their world-loving hearts the Beloved of heaven was “as a root out of a dry ground.” In their eyes He had “no form nor comeliness;” they discerned in Him no beauty that they should desire Him. Isaiah 53:2.
The whole life of Jesus of Nazareth among the Jewish people was
a reproof to their selfishness, as revealed in their unwillingness to recognize the just claims of the Owner of the vineyard over which they had been placed as husbandmen. They hated His example of truthfulness and piety; and when the final test came, the test which meant obedience unto eternal life or disobedience unto eternal death, they rejected the Holy One of Israel and became responsible for His crucifixion on Calvary’s cross. Prophets and Kings, p. 710.1,2.

My research into the Spirit of Prophecy was not comprehensive. But so far from what I read, it was the beauty and purity of His character that made Christ aborrent to the sin–loving people, not His physical appearance.

If anyone finds different words, please enlighten me. In the meantime, I’m going to continue to envision the Lord as a beautiful man, the second Adam resembling first Adam, the Lord God’s first perfect work of the human race. When I read of the requirements of the Levitical priest being unqualified to serve if he was missing body parts or having unsightly features, I will interpret this to mean that the Lord is visually acceptable, perfect in all respects.


Blogger Gabrielle Eden said...

I think that when we envision our Lord, it is love that causes us to see a handsome face. I don't see anything wrong with seeing him as handsome. I liked the portrayal using Jim Caviezel in the Passion of the Christ. That kind of good looks is how I imagine Jesus - very clean.

5/09/2009 1:41 PM  

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