Eye of the Beholder

We learn a lot about Jesus from the four gospels. Did you ever notice what we don’t learn about Him? Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John all omit any physical description of the Messiah, and Matthew and John walked with Him for three years. Apparently, they understood the importance of the living God walking among us. What He looked like in human form was irrelevant to why He came, and, more importantly, Who He is. A common categorization of the gospels goes like this:

Matthew: focus on the Messiah King (The one from the line of David we’ve been waiting for)

Mark: focus on the Servant King (Jeus in action)

Luke: focus on the Son of Man (The humanity of Jesus)

John: focus on the Son of God (The divinity of Jesus)

All these help us develop a personal relationship with Jesus through His Word. A physical description would serve no purpose toward that end (A letter purportedly describing Jesus’ physical appearance, on which most images of Him are based, is now generally accepted to be a fraud. We have no idea what Jesus the man looked like). It is often said that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Let’s be honest: physical appearance is often how we decide whether to associate with people. We don’t need to know what Jesus looked like on earth to feel the irresistible draw to Him we feel by praying, reading the Word and spending time with other believers. Imagine if it worked that way with everyone.

When God instructed Samuel to anoint as king Jesse’s son of God’s choosing, Samuel immediately assumed it would be one of the big, strapping sons. Instead, God had chosen the slight of build shepherd boy, David as King. And He let Samuel know what counted:

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel, 16:7 (NIV)

It’s tempting to judge people by their appearance, negatively or positively, without getting to know their heart. It can also be painful when people do it to us. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What is in the heart that counts. Get to know people’s hearts and pray they look past your physical appearance to get to know yours. Most importantly, if you do feel the sting of rejection due to how you look, remember the One who loves your heart, especially when it’s surrendered to Him. That is true in every moment of your life. What a blessing!

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