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I know a man who has seen the Lord Jesus in a vision. He described his physical appearance as common, ordinary, with nothing particularly attractive to him. But the grace of God was all over Him in such a way that this man could not help but think he was the most beautiful person he could ever imagine to meet!
Isaiah and the writer of Psalm 45 describe the same person, our Lord Jesus Christ, but their depictions are utter contrast! Study closely.
He had no dignity or beauty
to make us take notice of him.
There was nothing attractive about him,
nothing that would draw us to him. (Is 53:2)
You have been beautified above the sons of men
Grace has been poured into Your lips
Therefore God has blessed
You for all time. (Ps 45:2 LSV)
Isaiah sees our Lord as common, without beauty, majesty, or dignity. In fact, Isaiah goes on to describe a wretched, abused, torn-up and mangled man. He becomes an appalling figure to be seen in revulsion. Isaiah paints Jesus as our suffering lamb, so abused it is hard to recognize him as a man.
The Psalmist sees our Lord as excelling the beauty of every other human being. He radiates glorious majesty. Gracious words pour from His anointed lips. He is described as riding majestically and victoriously for truth, humility and justice. He is totally blessed with power and dignity, and enthralling to behold!
Many of us wish we could be transported back and see the face of our Lord walking beside the lake, blessing the children, healing the lepers, and walking on water. We’d like to see his expression as he rebuked the religious leaders, as he knelt in prayer and as he fed the multitudes.
Many artists have imagined His face to portray it. Some people report having seen Jesus in a dream or vision. Perhaps you have. Just as we wear many facial expressions, we can be confident that our wonderful Lord does the same.
I am not confident that our Lord Jesus is so physically attractive that fashion magazines would wish to showcase him, but I am confident he is the fairest of all men!
Notice the beauty differences among woman. We’ve seen women who have the external features of beauty but for some reason do not communicate beauty. Other women, although not outwardly striking, come across magnetically attractive. It seems most of the appearance of beauty comes across in the confidence and poise of the woman.
Jesus utter confidence in his Father’s love, in his identity as Son, and certainty in life purpose carried charismatic attraction. Some seek to beautify through ornamentation. Jesus’ was ornamented, beautified by holy grace! One of the meanings and consequences of grace is beauty.
Remember how Paul called for women to be spiritually beautiful?
“I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.” ( 1 Tim :9-10)
The woman in Proverbs 31 is “clothed with strength and dignity.” Virtue is a beautiful thing which adorns both godly women and men!
Peter told women, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. (1 Peter 3:2-5)
There is no doubt that devoted women and men of God are more attractive than those who have not known the beauty of holiness. God beauty when sensed can be overwhelmingly rapturous! But it is not a beauty which can be painted on, or clipped on. It is a beauty to soak in and then radiate outward.
Isaiah saw Jesus not just as uncomely, but repugnant, as he took on the vulgarity of our sin. But the rewards of his labor left Him saturated, infused inwardly in the gracious beauty of the Lord.
THERE IS AN “OTHER-WORLDLY” BEAUTY IN HOLINESS
Four times, and more, in Scripture the Bible talks about the beauty, or splendor, of holiness.
Jehoshaphat, “appointed singers unto the LORD, that should praise the beauty of holiness.” (2 Ch 20:21)
O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth. (Ps 96:9)
Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. (1 Ch 16:29)
Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. (Ps 29:2)
“Other” is a very good word for holy. Holiness is an “other-worldly” substance, and in it we find “other-worldly” beauty. You can’t paint on that beauty, but you can breath it in and dwell in it. You can soak it in and be clothed in it.
Ninety-four times in the NIV Bible the Spirit is referred to as the “Holy” Spirit. The word holy implies separate, other and distinct. God is not animal, mineral or vegetable. His is different. When we pray that our Father’s name be regarded as holy we are asking that the astonishing, uniquely grand things about Him would stand out! This is the work of the Holy Spirit!
To be holy for us means to move from commonness to an exceptional place of separated distinctiveness. The Holy Spirit resting on common people makes them distinctively uncommon.
But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. (Jude 20)
Jesus our triumphant Hero, is ascended and ruling in heaven beside His Father, and our Father. He is phosphorescent in lightening-flashing colors of beauty. To be transported to heaven is to catch an eyeful of Jesus awash in the beautiful splendor of holiness!
Isaiah not only has a view of the uncomely, deformed Christ; He sees the glorified, beautified King, and declares an ecstasy; “Your eyes will see the King in His beauty and behold a land that stretches afar.” Is 33:17
May we all be transformed as we behold, even today, our gracious, glorified, holy King!
One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple. Ps 27:4
Building of the Temple by Gustave Doré
Steven C Johnson
Landing Strip Enterprises