“There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him. He was despised and rejected – a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was led like a sheep to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers he did not open his mouth. He had done no wrong. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins.”
Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12 (selected sections of verses)
We enjoy decorating the house for Christmas. We try to pick out the most perfect Christmas tree and decorate it with the most beautiful ornaments. The fireplace mantle has just the right decorations to accent the beauty of the brick bathed in soft lighting to create a warm and inviting atmosphere. Everything looks great…until the kids get involved. Suddenly there is a clump of ornaments on one spot of the tree plus the tinsel they think is so “sparkly.” You turn your back for a moment, and Rudolph appears in the nativity right next to the shepherd and the sheep. No! No! No! It’s all wrong. It’s not pretty anymore.
Sound familiar? That’s the picture I get when I read Isaiah’s message. The Israelites were looking for a handsome, majestic deliverer in the promised Messiah. Of course, He would be perfect. Everyone would recognize Him, flock to Him, follow Him, or so they thought. But Isaiah prophesied that there would be nothing beautiful or majestic in the physical appearance of this servant. He would be considered an ordinary man. Physically good looking people are easy to follow. But Jesus wouldn’t attract a large following based on his physical appearance.
The Apostle Peter refers to Jesus in 1 Peter 2:22-24 when he says, “He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone. He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right.” Sin is ugly, tacky, and distasteful. It makes something so beautiful appear so ugly.
Getting back to that Christmas tree I spoke of earlier, it was beautiful until the ornaments were hanging on top of each other while the silver tinsel oozed from behind, in front, below, and on top of them. It is so unattractive. That is until I take a step back and see the joy on the little faces of the ones who went to great pains to place those things in “just the right spots” on the tree. Suddenly that tree is magnificent, stunning, perfect. The perfect Jesus bore the ugliness of man’s sin upon himself so that we could be counted righteous and lovely.
Prayer: Thank you Jesus for taking the ugliness of our sin upon yourself so that we can stand perfect before your throne.