In Isaiah 53 the prophet tells us what to expect from Jesus hundreds of years before Jesus came to earth. He tells us in verse 2 that Jesus "had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him." The paintings we've seen of a beautiful Jesus or the handsome actors who've portrayed him in movies and television miss the point. Jesus was a man of the people, a common man, one who is able to understand us. Isaiah goes on to describe the ugliness of Jesus' crucifixion, the rejection, the beatings, the crucifixion, leaving Jesus looking "like one from whom people hide their faces..."
But there is a beauty in Jesus we need to see anew as we enter into Holy Week. What Jesus did for us at Calvary is the most beautiful thing God could ever do for us. God loves us so much that his own Son left heaven and came to earth to live among us and show us what God is like. If you want to know God, read the gospels in the Bible: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, every word and every action are the words and actions of God. And at Calvary the Son of God suffered and died in our place, paying the penalty for sins we've committed, suffering our punishment for the wrong we have done. Only a God who truly loves us would endure what Jesus endured to save us. Jesus' death is a beautiful act of love for us, the most wonderful gift we can receive.
It's available to all of us. Jesus says if we want our sins to be forgiven, and to have a relationship with God and eternal life, all we must do is put our faith in him. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). When we do confess our sins, we're ready for a relationship with God. All you have to do is ask Jesus to forgive you, and he will.
This Sunday we'll see that with Jesus, beauty is not just skin deep. He was a beautiful man who put us first and willingly died to save us. I hope you'll join us for worship in our traditional service at 9:00 a.m. or our contemporary service at 10:45 a.m. to discover "The Beauty of Jesus." Discover how he can be in your life.
However, Jesus' death is not the end of the story. On Easter Jesus rose victorious from the grave. We'll celebrate Jesus' resurrection next Sunday. Jesus was raised, he ascended into heaven and we'll see the glorified Christ when we get there. And how will he appear? John, in the Book of Revelation, sees the glorified Jesus and describes him this way, "Then I saw a lamb, looking as if it had been slain" (Revelation 5:6). We will see Jesus beautiful in all of his glory, bearing the marks of his sacrifice, so that we'll never forget what he did to save us. This is the God who we worship, the only God who is able to save us. Isn't he beautiful!