Have you ever wondered what Jesus may have looked like? Here in the west we picture Jesus with the traditional long hair and blue eyes of the Sunday school classroom. I even had a great aunt who swore that Jesus had a brush cut and under no circumstances would have sported a beard. And if you have taken in any of the Jesus movies lately you would be assured that Jesus was ruggedly handsome with perfect teeth and his clothes never got dirty.
But, Isaiah 53:2 gives us a totally different picture of Jesus. “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him.” If Jesus were quite ordinary in his looks and stature I wonder how our celebrity and beauty obsessed society would take to Him? I remember Sophia Loren giving an interview about how movie producers thought she was not beautiful enough for movies and how difficult it was for her to break into the business. If Jesus was to show up at Church or spiritual retreat I wonder if He would attract attention? In a society where beauty means everything Jesus would probably go unnoticed.
While Jesus may not have had the physical beauty to attract thousands of adoring fans His teachings changed the life of everyone who heard Him. It was the character of Jesus that touched the lives of people and transformed them into believers. He touched the lepers when others wouldn’t allow them near. He ate with publicans and sinners while the religious leaders stood at a distance and pointed fingers. He forgave a woman caught in adultery while the spiritual leaders of Israel wanted to stone her to death.
It was the compassion and love of Jesus flowing out of His heart in genuine interest and concern for people that drew people to Him. Though Jesus was an ordinary man by all outward appearances He was a giant of a man in character. Yes, Jesus was probably short by todays standards, had a dark olive skin tone, brown eyes, full beard and kept His hair tucked up under a cap. But, the bottom line we really don’t know what He looked like because it doesn’t matter to our understanding and acceptance of Jesus as Lord and Savior of our lives.
Some of us feel lonely and when we look in the mirror we may not like what we see. We may even feel that because of our looks we have been passed by in life and are destined to always be on the outside looking in. We may feel that there is nothing special about us and nothing in our personality to draw people to us.
But the good news is that our value in the eyes of God has nothing to do with our beauty, status or success. We are loved for who we are regardless of our appearance. It is our character that speaks the loudest regarding our relationship with God. What’s important in life is that we live assured that the God of the Universe loves us unconditionally and He plays no favorites. Yes, the life we live here in the now may be less than what we had dreamed, but in Christ we are the most precious loved person possible.
If you’ve never heard of Mama Maggie you are not alone. She is a Coptic Christian that was a professor of computer science in Cairo who gave it all up to work with the people who live in the dumps of Egypt. These people are the poorest of the poor and this amazing woman has given her all to serve them with love and compassion. She is an ordinary woman who would never be a Hollywood starlet or attract the attention of the world’s elite power brokers and politicians, but she is precious in the sight of God.
We in North America have to decide where we stand in regards to Christ and our commitment to our faith. Too many of us have been swallowed up with the culture of secularism. We have fallen for the snare of judging each others worth by looks, connections, education and political association. God doesn’t value us on any of those ridiculous standards but instead values us simply because we are who we are.
When Adam and Eve sinned they ran and hid from God and God has been working ever since to bring us home again because He misses us. Our salvation is not based upon how tall we are, or on our weight, or the condition of our skin, but on the merits of Jesus who died for us all regardless of color and nationality.
I love the fact that we all are welcome in the Kingdom of God regardless of our past, our mistakes, our history, our struggles, our failures, our loneliness and our longings. Ruth and I were driving somewhere last evening and in the midst of our conversation she mentioned that her Christian experience only became real to her when she let go of trying to be everything that she thought she was suppose to be and just fell backward into the loving arms of Christ.
God knows what is in our heart and deep down in our soul. He knows what we are all about and when we stop worrying about what we aren’t and how badly we have messed up in the past and instead come to Jesus with an open heart, we also will fall back into the arms of Christ and His nail printed hands will never drop us. No, it doesn’t matter what Jesus looked like and He doesn’t care what we look like because we are His friends who will one day walk in the Garden again.