How would you respond to Jesus if you met Him on the street?

Isaiah 53:2-3 says, “He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men.”

Artists have had different views on how Jesus looked in the first century.

How do you see Jesus in your mind’s eye? 

Too often throughout history and still today, we see man attempting to represent how Jesus Christ may have looked physically.

In several instances, we can’t help but observe that the illustrated Jesus looks more like a medieval monk from Great Britain than a Jewish carpenter from Nazareth.

So often our Lord is depicted as a tall, strikingly handsome man with an imposing gaze and great physical strength.

Hollywood has especially missed the mark and encourages this misconception.

Worse yet, if we see these paintings or portrayals as the actual Jesus, if we are not careful, we can fall into idolatry.

Exodus 20:4 says, “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.”

But Isaiah 53 paints a more accurate picture, “He has no form or comeliness;”

Prophetically, Isaiah gives a more compelling description of Jesus than we find anywhere in the gospel accounts. Jesus was not a man of remarkable beauty or physical attractiveness (comeliness). This doesn’t mean that Jesus was ugly, but it does mean that He did not have the “advantage” of good looks.

-David Guzik (Pastor and Bible Commentator)

Do You Have to See Jesus to Believe in Him?

John 20:28-29 says, “And Thomas answered and said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’”

Isaiah 53:2b says, “And when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.”

Because there was nothing outwardly beautiful or charismatic about the Messiah, mankind’s reaction was to withdraw from Him, to despise Him, and hold Him in low esteem. This shows that men value physical beauty and charisma far more than God does, and when we don’t see it, we can reject the ones God accepts.

-David Guzik (Pastor and Bible Commentator)

We see this unfortunate truth in everyday life. Prejudice is rampant because our judgment of people is only skin deep.

We assume that if a person looks good then they are good.

We automatically think that if a person is well dressed and beautiful, then they have what it takes to be a leader, or at least someone we want to be associated with.

Politicians, salespeople, attorneys, actors, and even some pastors know this and exploit it to their advantage.

Anyone who is in a position of influence can become preoccupied with their own physical appearance.

Martin Luther King Jr. understood this tendency to prejudge when he proclaimed in his I Have a Dream Speech, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

Why Do We Tend to Prop Up the Beautiful?

The artists and movie makers who have attempted to depict Jesus may have concluded that since so many love and follow Jesus, He, therefore, must be physically beautiful.

But God’s Word to us does not support their assumption.

Here’s the message to all of us “average Joes and Janes”…according to the Scriptures, Jesus was ordinary looking!

There were three strikes against Jesus:

  • The Jews rejected Jesus because He did not meet their expectations as a conquering king…strike one
  • He was from Nazareth…strike two
  • And He did not fit the mold of the elite, religious leaders…strike three

I think in response to all of this, Jesus would say something like, “Beloved, don’t even consider my physical appearance, but be mindful of My message to you. Repent and believe in the One that has come to redeem your soul. It’s not about how I look but what I have to say to you.”

Jesus said in John 6:29, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”

A Valuable Lesson From King Saul

Remember Israel’s first king, Saul?

1 Samuel 9:2 says, “And he had a choice and handsome son whose name was Saul. There was not a more handsome person than he among the children of Israel. From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people.”

Saul was the people’s choice to be their king.

He was handsome but he had no heart for God, and no heart for His people. All that mattered to Saul was Saul.

Later, when the prophet Samuel was reviewing Jesse’s sons to see which of the lot would be Israel’s next king, the LORD reminded Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

What a blessing this truth is for us regular folk!

We can’t do much about our physical appearance. Oh sure we need to eat right and exercise. But we’re pretty much stuck with who we look at in the mirror every morning.

But here in 1 Samuel 16:7, God is saying that He doesn’t look at our appearance. He looks at our hearts. We can only dress up our looks. But God affects our hearts.

But, we are born with disparately wicked hearts…

Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; Who can know it?”

So when we hear through the gospel how much God loves, our hearts are changed.

Our response to the gospel is to love God with all of our hearts, and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

The Word of God doesn’t say to love others if they look good. It certainly doesn’t say to love Jesus because He is handsome.

We need to look at each other with “spiritual eyes”.

Before the fall, Adam saw Eve quite differently than after the fall. Remember, God asked Adam, “Who told you that you were naked?” (Gen. 3:11)

Sinless Adam was able to see Eve in a way that was beyond the physical nature of how we see people. Today, we do not have this physical ability.

But we can, with the mind of Christ, be determined to see people as Christ sees people.

So the next time you hear from somebody or meet someone, especially one who’s in a position to influence your life, do what God does. Don’t judge their appearance.

Look closer and listen to their hearts.

Look at the fruit of their life.

This may take time, but it’s worth it my friend.