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.
(Isaiah 53:2, English Standard Version)
“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”
(Revelation 22:16, ESV)
Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
(Isaiah 53:4-5, ESV)
When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
(1 Peter 2:23-25, ESV)
“Why does Jesus always have to be so... handsome?” my husband asked as we watched a scene from Jesus’ life play out on the TV screen. “I mean, what’s with the white teeth, luscious locks and bulging biceps?”
Along with my husband, you may wonder at the way Jesus is often portrayed by Hollywood — especially since Scripture makes it pretty clear that crowds didn’t gather by the thousands to gawk at Jesus’ designer tunics and shapely nose.
Shakespeare’s insight, “All that glitters is not gold,” wisely hints at the danger of pursuing what appears attractive. But as humans, we’re mesmerized — and then often disappointed — by empty promises offered in flashy packaging.
Isaiah unwrapped the reality of what God’s Messiah would experience and what He would be like: unmajestic, stricken, smitten, afflicted, pierced, crushed, reviled, not especially attractive. Whoever this Messiah would be, He’d be recognized not as a charming hero but as a suffering servant — maybe even an outcast.
Many people, including both members of the religious elite and commoners, missed the ways Jesus lined up with these prophetic descriptions of the Messiah. Perhaps they expected someone who looked and behaved more like a king. Or maybe they wanted someone who would play by their rules and bring the kind of political order that wouldn’t interrupt the status quo. As the prophet predicted, they wouldn’t simply find Him undesirable. They would reject Him completely.
While these prophecies point directly to Christ and His coming in history, they can also prompt present-day reflection. What keeps you from desiring and pursuing Jesus? Is there something that is keeping you from experiencing who Jesus really is?
As you read the Gospel of Luke this December, may you encounter Jesus, understand what He taught and see what He accomplished more clearly than ever before. May you see Jesus as your hope in the darkness and your close companion as you look for joy in the places you’re stretched thin.
Jesus, most days, I miss who You really are. I get distracted by superficial things and oftentimes want a superficial savior. Show me the areas in my life where I’m not seeing You clearly and help me desire not only You but also the ways You are changing me from the inside out. Help me to show Your love to those around me.
How can you be sure that Jesus is the savior He claimed to be? Read more about how Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophesies.
Melissa Long serves as a writer for Cru® and the lead writer/editor for this devotional series. Originally from Lookout Mountain, Georgia, Melissa appreciates the deep quiet of forested mountains. She currently resides on the edge of a mysterious swamp in Florida with her husband Philip, two lively teenagers and a devoted but slightly deranged cat named Maple.
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