THE REAL BEAUTY OF JESUS
Isaiah 53:1-3 (NKJV)
1 Who has believed our report?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant,
And as a root out of dry ground.
He has no form or comeliness;
And when we see Him,
There is no beauty that we should desire Him.
3 He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
Isaiah 53:1-3 (NIV)
1 Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
In this passage detailing the coming ministry of the Messiah, Prophet Isaiah paints a portrait of Jesus that is unlike that which most artists produce. Often, Jesus is pictured as an outstanding specimen. He is portrayed as possessing exceptional handsomeness and as having features, such as the halo, that cause Him to stand out among men. Yet, Isaiah says that He will possess no “Comeliness.” This means that there will be no splendor, or nothing magnificent about the appearance of Jesus. Isaiah also says that will be no “beauty” about Him that would cause men to flock to Him. “Beauty”, here, means “appearance.” Isaiah is simply stating that when Jesus walked upon the earth, He did not stand out among men. When someone saw Jesus here on earth, He just appeared as a normal, run of the mill man.
There is, however, an old saying that goes, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” This was certainly the case with Jesus Christ. It was not what men saw, but what they could not see that made Him extra-ordinary.
In fact, Paul touches on this very line of thought in Philippians 2:5-8. Here, Jesus is pictured as One who has concealed “His heavenly fame in an earthly frame.” Jesus Christ was willing to come and live in this world, in poverty, and He was willing to surround Himself with common men and sinners so that His real beauty might be seen. Think, for a moment, about His life:
•Born to peasant parents (carpenters).
•Born in a manger, not a palace.
•Poverty His constant companion.
•His Disciples were just common fishermen and tax collectors.
•Common peasants were His most devoted followers.
•His death was among the condemned and wretched.
•His church, for the most part, is made up of the lowly.
Many might think that such a man is not worthy of our love, devotion and worship. However, with Jesus, His real beauty lies not in what men can see, but in what He has done. It is in the things which Jesus accomplished for you and me that His real beauty lies. So, dismiss from your mind every artist’s rendering on Jesus you have ever seen. Forget all illusions you may have conjured up concerning Him and today, just look beyond the Man. Look instead to what He did. For it is in the work of Jesus that His real beauty is seen.
This morning, I would like for you to look with me in these verses as we consider together, The Real Beauty Of Jesus.
I. V. 4-5 HIS PAIN
A. He Suffered Pain At The Hands Of The Soldiers – (Ill. The horrible death suffered by the Lord Jesus. He was forced to endure excruciating pain (before and on the cross of Calvary) such as:
1. Beating – Luke 22:63-64; Psa. 129:3
2. Scourging – (Ill. The horror of this punishment) Matt. 27:26
3. Spitting – Matt. 27:30
4. Mockery – Matt. 27:26-29
5. Beard Plucked From Face – Isa. 50:6
6. Stripped – Matt. 27:35 – (They gambled for His garments.)
7. Nailed To The Cross – Matt. 27:38; John 20:25
8. Crucifixion Itself – A death on the cross is the most horrible form of execution known to mankind! We derive our word “excruciating” from it. When a man was crucified on the cross tremendous strain was exerted on the wrists, arms and shoulders, usually resulting in the dislocation of the shoulder and elbow joints. The arms, being held up and outward, held the rib cage in a fixed end inspiratory position with made it extremely difficult to exhale and totally impossible to take a full breath. The victim would only be able to take very shallow breaths.
(Ill. This explains the brevity of Christ’s statements on the cross.) As time passed, the muscles, from the loss of blood, loss of oxygen and the fixed position of the body, would undergo severe cramps and spasmodic contractions. Suffocation was the ultimate cause of death on the cross. Because of the position of the body, the muscles in the chest would be contracted, forcing the dying man to push against the nails in his feet to raise himself thereby allowing himself to take a breath. After a time, the victim would no longer be able to raise himself up to exhale and he would begin to suffocate. Normally, heart failure due to the accumulation of fluid resulted in cardiac arrest. The death of Jesus was a horrible affair!
9. Yes, Jesus suffered at the hands of the Roman soldiers.
B. He Suffered Pain At The Hand Of Sovereign God – (Ill. Verses 4, 6, 10) While Jesus was on the cross a remarkable thing happened. Somehow, Jesus actually became the manifestation of sin, 2 Cor. 5:21. In the mind of God, Jesus became the sin of the world and He was judged by the Father.
(Ill. The incredible events of Matt. 27:45-50. The crowd mistook His cries and thought He cried out for Elijah. However, He was calling out to his Father who had turned away from this His “Beloved Son.”) I cannot explain it, but somehow, God poured out His wrath into the body of His Son and Jesus suffered the undiluted, unfiltered wrath of Almighty God. Jesus literally suffered the worst agony of Hell when He was on the cross! What is Hell’s greatest horror anyway, but separation from the presence of God! (2 Thes. 1:9-10)
C. He Suffered Pain At The Hands Of Sinners – (Ill. The mocking crowds who were there that day, Mt. 27:39; Mk. 15:29-30; Luke 23:35-39) But, there is more to the story than this! In Isaiah 53:6, the Bible plainly tells us that Jesus suffered because of you and me. Oh, we weren’t there when they nailed Him, when they spit upon Him, when they beat Him and mocked Him. But, He endured all that He did because He loved us! We are responsible for His death on that cross! We are the guilty and He the innocent, yet He went to the cross and took our sins upon Himself and died our death that we might live His life, 1 Pet. 2:24.
D. (Ill. He suffered all that He did and yet, He was God in the flesh! Isn’t it astonishing that the One who has all power in Heaven and in earth would endure what He did, and do so without opening His mouth, Isa. 53:7!
(Ill. What He could have done – Matt. 26:53. Jesus could have spoken the word and the very iron in the nails would have crawled back into the earth at the voice of the Creator. If He had so desired, He could have disbursed the molecule of His executioners with a single thought. But, His love for sinners was so great that He refused to condemn. Instead, He willingly took our sins upon Himself and died in our place. And, when He did speak, it was to forgive and not condemn – Luke 23:34. What an Awesome Savior!)
E. Jesus died for you, the least you can do is give Him your heart in salvation. Or, one day, the one who climbed Golgotha and died in your place will sit as your judge on the Great White Throne. In that day, there will be no mercy, no salvation and no pardon. Only damnation and an eternity in the Lake of Fire. Which will it be for you?
His Real Beauty lies not only in:
I. His Pain, but also in:
II. V. 6-7; 10b-11a HIS PAYMENT
A. In dying on the cross, Jesus did what no other could do, He satisfied God’s righteous demands for the payment of sin.
B. In Him, the sinner can find forgiveness for sin! (Ill. Psa. 103:12; Isa. 38:17; Isa. 43:25; Jer. 50:20; Micah 7:19; Col. 2:13-14; 1 John 1:7)
C. Now, thank God, the world may remember my sins, the devil may remember my sins, you may even remember my sins, but Jesus Christ has forgiven, and forgotten, my sins. I know I just touched on this point last Sunday, but you’ll have to forgive me if I get a little bit excited thinking about what our blessed Savior has done for me. If there is one thing I do not want to do, it is to have to face my sins again. Bless His lovely Name, they are forever gone and will never be remembered again! I am clean, I am pure and I am saved!
D. Jesus paid the price and the bill will never come due again, John 1:29!
His Real Beauty lies not only in:
I. His Plan
II. His Payment, but also in:
III. V. 11b HIS PLAN
A. This verse tells us that the Messiah’s plan is “to justify many.” This tells us a little about His plan and about His heart!
B. I have already told you that Jesus has forgiven and forgotten our sins. May I give you one just a little bit better than that? In the mind of God, we who have trusted Jesus, are fully justified! This means that to God, it is just as if we were totally sinless. That is, that we had never sinned, weren’t sinning and never will sin again! (Ill. 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Ill. Rom. 8:29-30.)
(Ill. Does this mean that God does not know when we sin? Of course He knows, Pro. 15:3; Heb. 4:13. He sees everything! Does this mean that we can sin and get by with it? Of course not! God will still hold us accountable for what we do and will convict us, and chastise us if we do not repent, Heb. 12:6-12. It does mean, however, that we have been declared righteous by God and that nothing will prohibit us from being with Him in a perfect, sinless condition some day. What I am trying to say is this, my flesh commits sin, and will until I lay it down, but there is a part of me, and you, if you are saved, that has been sealed and cannot be contaminated, Eph. 4:30. You see, God has chosen to see, not as we are, but as we shall be when we are changed into His image! By the way, this is alright with me!)
C. His plan is to justify “Many”, this tells us that He wants to see sinners saved, 2 Pet. 3:9. Jesus desires that men come to Him for salvation! He desires this so much that He has flung the doors of salvation so wide open that anyone who desires to be saved can be! (Ill. Rev. 22:17; Rom. 10:13; John 6:37; John 3:16.)
D. The plan of Christ is to populate Heaven with sinners He has redeemed by His grace. I am part of that plan and I am going to Heaven saved and justified. How about you?
His Real Beauty lies not only in:
I. His Pain
II. His Payment
III. His Plan, but also in:
IV. V. 12 HIS PLACE
A. According to this verse, God the Father has rewarded Jesus with the place of honor. He is highly exalted today. The Bible tells that after He died, He was placed in a grave and then 3 days later, He arose from the dead. At this time He ascended back to Heaven and made the atonement for our sins by offering His blood on Heaven’s mercy seat. Then, 40 days later, He ascended back to Heaven where He sat down on the Father’s right hand to wait for the fulfillment of the Father’s plan, Heb. 10:12-14. He hasn’t been on this earth for nearly 2,000 years. No man has seen Him, yet the Bible tells us that He is in a place of honor today, Phil. 2:9-11. (Ill. Men will bow one way or the other! Rom. 14:11.)
B. This exalted Lord is returning one day! (Ill. John 14:1-3; Rev. 1:7) He is returning to gather His people unto Himself, 1 Thes. 4:16-17. When He comes for us, we will see this exalted One and we will have the privilege of seeing Him as He really is. (Ill. How Jesus looks today – Rev. 5:6 – Jesus bears in His body the marks of the cross. Throughout eternity, we will look upon Him who loved us and died for us and we will see the evidence of that love constantly staring back at us. I am certain that this will be the ground for much of Heaven’s rejoicing. You want to see the real beauty of Jesus? Look at the holes in His hands and feet, look at the wounds on His back and His side. Look at the punctures in His head where He wore a thorny crown for you and me. There is real beauty in HIM alone, there is our salvation!)
C. Have you bowed before Him and acknowledged Him to be the Lord of Lords and King of Kings? Have you bowed at His feet and received Him into your heart and life and savior and Lord? Have you given Him the exalted place He deserves in your life? In Heaven, the angels bow before Him, the saints worship Him. In the earth, the elements are under His control and the devils tremble at the mention of His name. He has been given a name above every name. Do you recognize Jesus for who He really is? Is He your Savior, Lord and King?
There is a book in the Bible called the Song of Solomon. It is a tale of love between a husband and a wife. At one point in this great book, the bride is describing her husband. She calls to mind attribute after attribute in an effort to fully describe his beauty. Then, she finally exhausts similes, metaphors and vocabulary and simply says, “Yea, he is altogether lovely,” Song Of Solomon 5:16. That describes the way Jesus looks to me today! We could spend days talking about all He is to you and me. Yet, when we summed it all up, we would just have to say that He is altogether lovely.
His real beauty is not found in His physical appearance while He walked among men. It is not found in the wealth He accumulated here on earth. It is not found in the people He was most closely associated with. His beauty is found simply in what he has done for you and me. The real beauty of Jesus is found in His great love and sacrifice for sinners on the cross.
Now, with all this in mind, can you honestly say this morning that you are saved by His grace? Are you going to Heaven when you die? Have you received Jesus as your Savior? If not, then you have no concept of His real beauty. These stories may tug at your heart and you may like to hear about His great love and deeds, but let me tell as one who has had first hand experience, salvation is better felt than telt!
On the authority of God’s Word, I invite you to come to Jesus today and discover for yourself His real beauty. Will you do that this morning?