Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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April 6 – Good Friday – The Beauty Of Jesus

Introduction:  Grace be to you and peace, from God our Father, and from our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.  Our text for this evening’s meditation is the Old Testament Lesson just read, Is. 52:13-53:12.  We begin with prayer.

Dear fellow disciples of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ:

  • There is an old saying, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”  While there is certainly a great deal of truth in this, there are also certain visual characteristics that most people commonly associate with beauty.  Tests have been done with little children, even infants, monitoring their responses to certain images.  Likewise, it is obvious from the popularity of certain people in the entertainment industry, that there are specific physical characteristics that “most” people deem “beautiful.” 
  • In that God seeks to attract us back to Himself through His Son Jesus Christ – so that all might believe in Him and have eternal life, it is important for us to consider the whole issue of “the attractiveness” or “THE BEAUTY OF JESUS.”  After all:

 

 “By grace you are saved through FAITH.”

 “He that believes the Son has everlasting life.”

 “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

  •  It is a fact that Jesus is extremely unattractive to many people – for a variety of reasons.  The majority of mankind doesn’t believe in Him, and this may be the case even within the “church,” the “visible church,” those who identify themselves as “Christians.”
  • But for those who truly and genuinely believe in Jesus, who truly know Him, “THE BEAUTY OF JESUS” is inescapable and compelling – and this is what God wills and desires for each of to have, that wisdom, understanding, and “maturity of being” that recognizes and rejoices in “THE BEAUTY OF JESUS.”
  • But this requires deeper wisdom and understanding, for according to our text:

 

I.  Jesus Had No Physical Beauty Or Attractiveness, And Subsequent To His Crucifixion He Was Marred And Disformed

 

Text:  “For He grew up before Him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; He had no form or majesty that we should look at Him, and no beauty that we should desire Him.”

Text:  “As many were astonished at You – His appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and His form beyond that of the children of mankind.”


Statement:

  • We’ve all seen the artist’s renditions of Jesus, which present Him as a very beautiful man.  Obviously, such pictorial presentations of Jesus are not faithful to the Biblical descriptions of Him.  We can understand why “believing” artists would depict Him thus – they know Him and love Him, and so they have truly seen “THE BEAUTY OF JESUS,” and so they couldn’t imagine portraying Him as anything but beautiful.  However, their depictions are not literally “true to fact.”

 

Application:

  • It is a good thing that God chose and determined that it should be this way for Jesus, that He lacked a desirable physical “form, majesty, and beauty.”  Look at what sinful human beings do with physical beauty, our infatuation with external appearance, and the lust it generates!  How horrible it would be if this sinful confusion was applicable to Jesus, our dear Savior.
  • God seeks to wean us away from such superficiality and sinful nonsense!  Yes, physical beauty is the gift of God, and is part of the preciousness of His creation – but because of our sin it is also generally deeply corrupting: in pride, arrogance, hypocrisy; and because of our sin it generates all the wrong motives and thoughts in the minds of those who behold it. 

Transition:  So the attractiveness of Jesus was not and is not some kind of “physical” beauty.  Further, we learn in our text that:

 

II.  In Jesus, People Found A Great Deal To Despise And Reject – And Our Sinful Flesh Judges Much The Same

   

Text:  “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.”

Text:  “He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.  By   oppression and judgment He was taken away; and as for His generation, who considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of My people?”

Text:  “Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush Him; He has put Him to grief.”

 

Statement:

  • There are four things that make Jesus particularly detestable to sinful human beings:

 1.    He was pure, holy, genuine and true – and so a reminder of all that we should be and are not; and

2.    He was passive in the face of aggression, persecution, and His own death – appearing weak and pathetic.

3.    He is the “bearer of our sin,” “God made Him Who knew no sin to be sin for us” – and so He is a constant reminder of the darkness and shame of our sin, how dark and worthy of judgment and condemnation we all truly are.

4.    Even God turned away all compassion and mercy away from Him – crushing Him and putting Him to grief.  So we too, in our sinful nature, wickedly agree with God in punishing Him.

 

Application:

  • We all understand this guttural reaction of our sinful nature to Jesus, and have had it on many occasions:

 1.    We too detest that which is pure – for it bears stinging accusation against our own impurity, and at times we are willing to attack it.

2.    We have sensed, when contemplating the crucifixion of Jesus, the deep dark shame of our own sins – which occasioned and necessitated this barbaric execution of the holy Son of God.

3.    And darkest of all, we too wish that this whole matter of sin and guilt could simply be put away – destroyed and crushed, and eradicated, so that we can just live as we desire with impunity.  But sin and guilt never is put away like this, and never can be – only the blood of Jesus Christ can cleanse us from our sin.  Peace can only be found in Him – but we want to find it independently, on our own, by our own achievement and merits.

 

Transition:  So the “cross of Christ” does not strike our sinful nature as something “beautiful,” but rather as the starkest condemnation, the most pointed and painful finger of God, and as utter “foolishness.”

But this does NOT mean that our Lord Jesus Christ is without beauty and attractiveness!  For in reality, all of this combines together to reveal to us that:

 

III.  In Jesus The Unquestionable Beauty Of Gracious, Sacrificial, Redeeming, And Saving Love Is Revealed – And This Is The Principle Attractiveness And Beauty Of Jesus

    

Text:  “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.  But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His stripes we are healed.  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

Text:  “Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush Him; He has put Him to grief; when His soul makes an offering for sin, He shall see His offspring; He shall prolong His days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.  Out of the anguish of His soul He shall see and be satisfied; by His knowledge shall the Righteous One, My Servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and He shall bear their iniquities.  Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the many, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet He bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.”

 

Statement:

  • Here alone we come face to face with “THE BEAUTY OF JESUS.”  To our sinful nature He remains despicable, yet it remains true that:

 1.    He has provided us with redemption, forgiveness, mercy, peace with God, and salvation from sin, guilt, death, and hell – freely, for our great benefit and blessedness

2.    He did so without benefit to Himself, in fact, at great pain, suffering, and loss to Himself – all for us, out of deep love for us

3.    He was not unwilling to take a place far lower than any of us will ever occupy – taking not only our personal sins upon Himself, but the sins of the whole world, the whole corporate, combined total, a place so low and dark that you will never be able to see it or even imagine it

4.    He did so to provide us with a future, not just to resolve the past – a joyful and optimistic future of victory, joy, and perfection

5.    He did this so that we would not have to remain locked into the darkness of our sin, but that we might be drawn away from sin and recreated – transformed by the power of His love, that we might become something good, decent, and worthy.

 

Application:

  • And this is “THE BEAUTY OF JESUS” for those who believe in Him, and those with understanding grasp that there is no beauty such as this, except in Jesus.

 

Conclusion:

  • Many in the world continue to despise Jesus – rejecting Him, seeking to destroy His church since they can’t get their hands on Him anymore.
  • Many even within the church continue to hate and despise Jesus, trying to turn His church into some pathetic “white washed tomb,” trying to paint Him into a caricature that they find “beautiful,” but all the while rejecting His true beauty.
  • But I hope that you are among those who truly grasp and embrace “THE BEAUTY OF JESUS,” for then you also, regardless of your external appearance, are being “transformed into the same image of glory,” that is, you are also coming to  display the same “THE BEAUTY OF JESUS” in your own lives.  
  • This is God’s will, that we all be attracted to Him through “THE BEAUTY OF JESUS.”  God grant this to us all, for Jesus’ sake, Amen.

 

Votum:  And the peace of God, which surpasses all human understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds in the true faith, which is in Christ Jesus, even unto life everlasting, Amen.