Dedicated to the devotional, exegetical and philosophical study of theological paradox in Conservative, Thoroughly Biblical, Historically Orthodox, Essentially Reformed theology . . . to the glory of God alone!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Isaiah 53:2b - An Unmajestic Appearance of Deity

He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him,
Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.

Jesus Christ stands as history's most prominent figure. During his days on earth, He was briefly hailed as a celebrity in the tiny realm of ancient Palestine. After his death and resurrection, His apparent popularity expanded rapidly and has now filled the entire world! Today, He has garnered the professed allegiance of a vast swath of humanity, and the professed respect of most who have lived - along with the outward animosity of a few, and the hidden hatred of most. Fallen man is in a state of rebellion, though he sometimes dresses it up in religious robes.

God Himself repeatedly testifies to man's pretended allegiance, stealthy defiance and quiet rejection of the Divine Authority:

Isaiah 29:13 And the Lord said: "Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men . . .
Isaiah 48:1
Hear this, O house of Jacob, who are called by the name of Israel, and who came from the waters of Judah, who swear by the name of the Lord and confess the God of Israel, but not in truth or right.

Jeremiah 5:2 Though they say, "As the Lord lives," yet they swear falsely.
Titus 1:16
They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.

II Timothy 3:5 . . . having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.

Many pretend to love God, and Jesus "enjoys the favor of the people." Devotion can be real or feigned, but the One who looks upon the heart knows the difference between the two. We are emphatically NOT the judges, although we are commanded to examine the doctrine and test the spiritual fruit in light of Scripture.

Let's step back 2,000 years . . .

In the days of His incarnation, it was neither His form nor His appearance that drew people. He had the form of a servant and the appearance of an ordinary man. Today there is hardly a celebrity who is not "beautiful," for mankind is prone to judge by the eyes and exalt the attractive. But Jesus Christ was a common, everyday person on the outside - barely noticeable.

What actually drew people to the carpenter from Nazareth? For many, it was His works. For others, it was His words. For some, it was that utterly irresistible character, attitude, and liveliness. He was more literally "alive" than any person who ever walked the earth, then or since. Those who saw this considered themselves blessed.

The divine form - could it be seen - would have been glorious, captivating and inspiring. But Christ's outward form was merely human, and even His human appearance was lowly. It was not the appearance of a king or some person of worldly importance. It was that of a simple man. Entirely unimpressive.

What really attracted people to Christ?

There were various human reasons to follow Him . . .

Physical Reasons - food, healing, deliverance from evil powers
Social Reasons - the crowds were there

Intellectual Reasons - challenging philosophy, enigmas, paradoxes and parables
Reasons of Curiosity - to see what He would do and say, and enjoy the verbal boxing matches with Pharisees, Sadducees, Priests, Scribes and Teachers of the Law

Political Reasons - the kingdom was promised, Roman rule might be challenged, enemies might be conquered

Religious Reasons - He represented a new movement, so why not join the bandwagon?

The Divine Reason - God was calling sinners to Himself!

"Be Attracted" = חמד Heb. CHAMAD - to desire, covet, take pleasure in, delight in

Like us, Christ's contemporaries desired many different things for many different reasons. Few desired HIM.

2,000 years later, there are still just as many wrong reasons to follow Jesus, just as many lesser desires to distract us from seeking Him, as He is, for Himself. And there remains ONE right reason to follow Him. This reason requires us to stop judging Him and instead agree with His estimation of our sinfulness. When this happens, nothing will be able to turn us from Him, for He will appear to us as the most beautiful, blessed, glorious, capable and perfect of all beings. An honest response to the Gospel is all that is needed, and suddenly the veil falls from the eyes.

Have you responded honestly - repentantly, trustfully - to the message of Christ's birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension, and promised second appearance? If you have, it is because the Father drew you to Him. If you have not, do so now!

He will receive you. He will not turn you away. No matter who you are, or what you have done - no matter what you have left undone - He will receive, embrace, forgive, save and cleanse you when you come to Him in faith. He may not look like much to the natural eyes, but to those who know Him He is a humble, gracious, wonderful, majestic, incomparable, saving King.


  1. I am extremely thankful for your blog, Derek. This post in particular is exactly what my husband and I discussed together the other night-- more specifically about the "attractiveness" of Jesus in our world today. I see more and more how people are not desiring Him, but searching for some emotional satisfaction that they will never, ever find apart from knowing Him intimately. Knowing Jesus in regeneration is not knowing Him by lip service.

    Thank you for your hard work to proclaim the truth. God bless, brother.

  2. April,

    Thanks for your kind thoughts, and for taking the time to share them. I am grateful that God uses these writings for the good and blessing of His people.

    As I'm sure you know from writing your own blog, God leads the right person to the right post at the right time - because He is a wise Manager of everything.



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