Our world is consumed with one’s physical appearance. The YWCA reported that American women spend over 7 billion dollars a year on beauty products (that’s nearly twice the domestic production output of the entire country of Nigeria with its 155 million people).
In the midst of our financial crisis of 2009, the reported spending in health clubs for both men and women still topped 19.1 billion dollars. While I recognize that some of this spending would have been for actual health reasons, we certainly acknowledge that much of what draws us to the gym is a glance in the mirror – particularly as we grow older.
The point of today’s blog is not to be critical of our spending habits on our physical appearance, but simply to ask the question: Is that what we wish to be known for?
Because most often our visual representation of Jesus is tied to a Hollywood actor’s presentation of him, we tend to think of Jesus as handsome in appearance. But the New Testament makes no comment on the physical appearance of the incarnate Christ whatsoever. I find that surprising. The Bible isn’t bashful in telling us that King David was handsome in appearance (1 Samuel 16:12), or that Abigail was both “discerning and beautiful” (1 Sam. 25:3). Yet, it makes no mention of the physical appearance of Jesus. Making it seem like he was average in appearance.
Isaiah prophesied 700 years before Jesus was born:
…He had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief, and as one from whom men hide their faces. He was despised, and we esteemed him not (Isa. 53:2-3).
While Isaiah’s context would appear that he was referencing the crucifixion, it is precisely this image that draws us to the Savior. Perhaps it is as my youngest daughter pointed out, “Dad, Jesus was just so beautiful on the inside.” Agreed.
Jesus showed us the character of God (John 1:18). Good, loving, right, gracious, and forgiving. It was precisely these internal qualities that drew those in need of a Savior (John 8:11).
Hence, the question: Why are people drawn to us?
Is it our internal qualities or our external appearance that make us attractive?
Do others find us good, loving, right, gracious, and forgiving—or simply beautiful in appearance, and popular by today’s standard?
Now that’s a question worth pondering.
…whoever says he abides in him (Jesus) ought to walk in the same way in which he walked (1 John 2:6).