This morning I read Isaiah 53, one of many, many times I’ve read that passage. But this time, one verse struck me:
“My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him” (Isaiah 53:2, NLT).
If you hang around art long enough, you often see Jesus as attractive. Western. Surfer-like.
And yet, could it be that Jesus was homely by our standards? Could it be that He appeared forgettable?
It makes me love Him even more, that perhaps Jesus understands what it feels like to be overlooked for looks. He knows what it’s like to have a non-attractive exterior. And it cements the truth that true beauty cannot in any way be measured by externals.
I read an interesting book recently called Imaginary Jesus by Matt Mikalatos. There, the character encounters Jesus (through time travel, but in a tongue and cheek way). Problem is, Jesus doesn’t look like what the character expects. He writes, “He was short, balding, dark-skinned, and hunched over. His mouth was far too wide, like a frog’s. He wore a brown robe, covered in dirt. I kept looking around for Jesus, but I didn’t see him anywhere. . . . His face was thin, little more than skin laid on bone. He looked unhealthy. He looked weak.” (p. 31).
And yet when you see children clamoring to be on Jesus’ lap and the crowds chasing after him, you realize that Jesus may have been homely, but that did not in any way diminish being irresistible. His overpowering infectious love attracted people.
That encourages me as I grow older and my “looks” diminish. I am not called to be one of the beautiful people–at least on the outside. I am called to be beautiful internally, so that folks are attracted to Jesus’ love inside me. And the beauty of that is that I can grow more and more beautiful every single day.