God’s choice for those who will lead others, does not depend on their outward appearance, education, or family background. The Lord chooses people for service based on their inner heart and their desire to do all that He requires. When we examine the prophecies of the Messiah, we find that God’s choosing of His servant to die for the sins of the world–had nothing to do with physical beauty. The Messiah will have no physical beauty that people will be attracted to Him. In fact, He will be greatly disfigured by the suffering of His crucifixion. It will be His character and personality that will attract and draw people to Him.
Isaiah 53:2b … He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him.
There are some who claim that Isaiah Chapter 53 is a description of the nation of Israel and was not intended for Jesus Christ.
In the Book of Acts, the Lord spoke to Philip and told him to take the road from Jerusalem to Gaza. While on this road, Philip met a man who was apparently there by divine appointment. Candace, the queen of the Ethiopians, had a servant who was returning from Jerusalem where he had been worshipping the God of Israel. While on his return journey, he was reading from the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah. As Philip meets this servant of the queen of Ethiopia, he asks him if he understands what he is reading.
Acts 8:26-31 Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is desert. So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet. Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.” So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him.
This prophecy had been written by Isaiah seven hundred years before this chance meeting. The Ethiopian Eunuch asks Philip who the person is that Isaiah is referring to. Philip tells him that the prophecy is about Jesus.
Acts 8:32-35 The place in the Scripture which he read was this: “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; And as a lamb before its shearer is silent, So He opened not His mouth. In His humiliation His justice was taken away, And who will declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth.” So the eunuch answered Philip and said, “I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?” Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.
Isaiah 53:7a He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.
The purpose of this encounter which has been recorded for us in the Book of Acts is to confirm the prophecy of Isaiah 53, that it is in fact speaking of Jesus Christ.
Again, in John Chapter 12, John writes that as Jesus is near the time of His crucifixion, those who had seen Him did not believe that He was the Messiah. John writes that their unbelief was a fulfillment of Isaiah Chapter 53, which was written for Jesus Christ.
John 12:36-38 “While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” These things Jesus spoke, and departed, and was hidden from them. But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke: “Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?”
Isaiah 53:1 Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
In this 235th Old Testament Prophecy, Isaiah predicted that the Messiah would not be outwardly attractive. It was not His physical appearance that would draw people to Him. It would be His Love, the Grace that emanates from Him. It is His gentle personality and the unmistakable righteousness that flows from His life.
In chapter 52, Prophecy 230, Isaiah writes that the physical appearance of the Messiah will be marred. This is to say, the Messiah will suffer in such a way, while here on earth, that His face will be greatly disfigured.
Isaiah 52:14 Just as many were astonished at you, So His visage was marred more than any man, And His form more than the sons of men.
This apparent disfigurement—descriptive of the Messiah is precisely what the narrative of the Gospels attribute to Jesus. Jesus face is unrecognizable by those who first saw Him after His resurrection. As the Lord stands before Mary, she does not recognize Him by His appearance. It is only after He speaks to her that she realizes it is Jesus.
John 20:13-16 Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).
On the road to Emmaus, the disciples who meet Jesus do not recognize Him until after He takes the bread and hands it to them. Apparently by stretching out His hands with the bread, the men see the scars from the nails in His wrists where He was crucified.
Luke 24:13-16 Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him.
Luke 24:30-31 Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight.
The Messiah was not chosen for His physical attributes
When the people of Israel asked the Lord for their own king, they wanted a leader who was tall and handsome and looked like he was meant to be a king.
1 Samuel 9:1-2 There was a man of Benjamin whose name was Kish the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Bechorath, the son of Aphiah, a Benjamite, a mighty man of power. And he had a choice and handsome son whose name was Saul. There was not a more handsome person than he among the children of Israel. From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people.
Although the Lord warned that this kind of a king would place them into servitude, constrain their sons to serve in the king’s army, and collect high taxes from their earnings (1 Samuel 8:9-18), the people insisted that they be given a handsome and tall king who looked like the kings of the other nations. So, the Lord gave them the desire of their hearts. He gave them Saul, who was handsome and tall, but who did not have a heart for the Lord.
Saul began well; but as is so often the case with many people who start out to serve the Lord, he did not finish well. When it came to the most crucial moment of his reign as the king of Israel, Saul would not obey the Lord’s command to utterly destroy the Amalekites whom God had warned many times, over a period of close to a 1,000 years, to repent from their sacrifice of children to their gods, and to turn to the God of Israel as their God. See Understanding the Wrath of God.
1 Samuel 15:18 “Now the LORD sent you on a mission, and said, ‘Go, and utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.’ 19 Why then did you not obey the voice of the LORD? Why did you swoop down on the spoil, and do evil in the sight of the LORD?” 20 And Saul said to Samuel, “But I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and gone on the mission on which the LORD sent me, and brought back Agag king of Amalek; I have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. 21 But the people took of the plunder, sheep and oxen, the best of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice to the LORD your God in Gilgal.” 22 So Samuel said: “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king.”
The Lord had warned the people that the character of a king is not determined by his outward appearance but by His heart in following all that the Lord commands. Because Saul rejected the Lord in leading His people, the Lord rejected Saul as the king of Israel. It is important to understand that what the Lord instructs us to do are not suggestions; they are commands that we are to follow. If we truly believe that the Lord is our God and that He is good and has our best interests at heart, then we should be comfortable doing everything that He says. It is inconsistent to call Jesus Lord (Boss) and then not do what He says.
Luke 6:46 (Jesus speaking) But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?
The Lord was desiring a king for Israel who was after His heart. A man who would do all that the Lord instructed Him to do. Not to say that he would be perfect, for no man can always do what is right, but that his heart was to please the Lord in all he says and does. When the Lord chose David, he was the youngest and most unlikely of all the sons of Jesse, to be chosen as the next king of Israel.
As the oldest son of Jesse is brought before Samuel the prophet, he assumes that the Lord will choose Eliab, the oldest; for like Saul, he is tall and handsome and looks like a king should look.
1 Samuel 16:6-7 So it was, when they came, that he looked at Eliab and said, “Surely the LORD’S anointed is before Him!” But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
When the Lord chooses someone to lead His people, He looks for a humble man; someone with a true heart of love towards God and a desire to do what the Lord tells Him to do.
One by one, each of Jesse’s sons came before Samuel. Not one of these young men was the right person, according to the Lord’s desire.
1 Samuel 16:11 And Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all the young men here?” Then he said, “There remains yet the youngest, and there he is, keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him. For we will not sit down till he comes here.”
1 Samuel 16:12 So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with bright eyes, and good-looking. And the LORD said, “Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!”
It was the last, the youngest, and the least among Jesse’s sons—the shepherd—whom the Lord chose. The Lord did not choose David by his outward appearance, but by his inner heart and desire to love and please the Lord in all that he did in his life.
When we see Jesus, it will not be His physical beauty that will attract us to Him. It will be the inner person who emanates the beauty and Love of God. His eyes will be deep set and transfixed on us. His gaze will feel as though He can see right through us, to the inner heart of who we truly are. Just when we feel like He will burn a hole right through us, the glimpse of a smile will begin, breaking into radiant Joy and laughter.
The Joy that Jesus will feel at that first moment when we stand before Him will fill us with a sense of wonder and fulfillment, such as we have never experienced in our life. He will understand us and all that is within us, as no other person has ever known. We will find Him irresistible and we will never want to leave His presence. I would imagine that just being with Jesus will be the greatest joy of our eternal existence. There will be nothing else in heaven which will captivate us as much as standing before our Lord and listening to Him speak and watching His every move.
Well, that is how I imagine Him…
 From Edwards WD, Gabel WJ, Hosmer FE. On the Physical death of Jesus Christ. JAMA 1986;255(11):1455-63. Used with permission of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, all rights reserved.
Categories: A poor representation of Jesus, A Servant, Be like Him, Errors of the Christian Church, Following Jesus, Jesus born to die, The Condition of the Heart, The First Arrival of the Messiah, The Servant of God