“He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him…” (NIV)
When pastor Fred Craddock was in Oklahoma he saw a painting of Jesus. He was asked to look at it for his opinion.
But it wasn’t the kind you’d expect to see. The colours were dark, including purples and blacks and grays. And Jesus was not the pretty picture you often find. Instead, he was rugged with a misshapen face.
Right beside the painting the artist had put a Bible passage which was his reason for painting Jesus the way he did. It was a prophecy from Isaiah 53:2:
“He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.”
Looking at Jesus like that offended too many people. Craddock wasn’t sure where the painting went… but it certainly went off of display!
It’s easy to love Jesus when he’s everything we expect, and when he simply seems to agree with everything we want him to agree with… like our decisions about what is right and wrong, what to spend our time on, and who to help and who to forget.
The reason I like Craddock’s story about the painting is because it’s not just about his appearance. It’s about who he truly is. It’s about the often unsettling and perspective-shifting power of his teaching and example.
Jesus is the Game-Changer in every new chapter of life.
So if Jesus doesn’t challenge or shock us once in a while, and if he doesn’t jump out of the labels that we are all so quick to put on him, we’re probably not following him closely enough.
By Matthew Ruttan