Thursday, January 27, 2011

Inner Beauty

Jesus, you are beautiful!  We sing this line in many songs and using different phrases that mean the same thing.  I then hear the argument that "Jesus was nothing to look at."  If that is so, then why do we sing songs and say things about the beauty of the King?
The reason that one will say Jesus is not physically attractive comes from Isaiah's prophecy about Him.  Isaiah 53:2 CEV " Like a young plant or a root that sprouts in dry ground, the servant grew up obeying the LORD. He wasn't some handsome king. Nothing about the way he looked made him attractive to us."  I have long struggled with this verse.  Jesus is the Son of God, how could he not be beautiful?  Isaiah 53 also goes on to describe his appearance at crucifixion.  I have wondered if verse 2 actually spoke of that day after he was beaten.  Today the context to me seems to point toward even as he grew up there was nothing attractive about him.  Regardless of how I take this scripture, Jesus explains something to His disciples that gives me a different level of understanding.
Pharisees accused Jesus of wrong-doing by not making his disciples do the ceremonial hand-washing before eating.  Jesus used the Word to rebuke them.  Tradition blinded them to truth.  Jesus quoted Isaiah, Matthew 15:8-9 NLT "'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.  Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.'"  They were more concerned about their ceremonies and show than with true worship.  The disciples didn't understand why Jesus said that to the pharisees.  They were still stuck on physical understanding and the outward appearance of godliness and not purity of heart.  Jesus then explained, Matthew 15:17-20 NLT "'Anything you eat passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer.  But the words you speak come from the heart - that's what defiles you.  For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander.  These are what defile you.  Eating with unwashed hands will never defile you.'"
What does this have to do with Jesus being beautiful?  The list He gave in Matthew 15:19 is what makes one ugly.  They include: evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, lying and slander.  Jesus did none of these.  What was in his heart came out of his mouth.  Love flowed from Him.  Jesus even blessed the pure in heart.  Absolam was said to be physically beautiful.  Saul was said to be remarkable in appearance.  Jesus had a beautiful heart.  It was not defiled.  He went through temptation and stayed pure.
If I were to log all the words that come from my mouth, I am sure I would be ashamed.  I want to be beautiful.  I will never attain the physical beauty of a movie star or be asked to model the newest fashions, but I strive to be one that attracts people.  I don't desire for them to be attracted to me, but to Jesus in me so that they can delight in His love for them as much as I delight in it.  Guard my heart, Lord, and guard my lips.  I want to be beautiful on the inside.

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