DayBreaks for 03/26/13 – Short and Beautifully Ugly
Every year some magazines come out with an edition that identifies the “most beautiful” people in the world. I don’t follow such things, but I believe Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Angelina Jolie, and this year, Beyonce, have been on the list, if not atop the list for their gender. (The only reason I know about Beyonce is that I looked it up for this DayBreaks!) There is a saying that “beauty is only skin deep” and there’s a lot of truth to that, but when it comes to ranking the most beautiful people in the world, I don’t believe you’ll see Mother Theresa’s name, or that of Billy Graham, in the list because of the beauty of their souls. It’s the external that we are fixated on.
Even Jesus, when we see him in movies, is made to look attractive. Robert Powell in Jesus of Nazareth, cut a rather striking figure, as did Jim Caviezel in The Passion of the Christ. More often than not the Jesus of the movies has deep blue eyes, neatly kept hair and clothing, and speaks with a proper British accent, has perfectly proportioned features and a well-balance physique. I suspect that such a representation of Christ is way off base: remember, he was a homeless man without even a pillow and but one set of clothes.
Eugene Peterson, in putting the words of Isaiah 53:1-3 into The Message, put it this way: Who believes what we’ve heard and seen? Who would have thought GOD’s saving power would look like this? 2 The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling, a scrubby plant in a parched field. There was nothing attractive about him, nothing to cause us to take a second look. He was looked down on and passed over, a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand. One look at him and people turned away. We looked down on him, thought he was scum.
The second-century Roman writer, Celsus, records that Jesus was “short and ugly”. If we begin to see Jesus that way, to think of him as short and ugly, perhaps we begin to understand why it was that Jesus seems to have been so drawn to the maimed, the cripples, the blind, the lepers.
Here’s the best part: Jesus saw far deeper than the layer of our epidermis. He saw into the maimed and tortured souls we carry around hidden inside our “jar of clay” and when he saw the ugliness there, he was moved with compassion. Though he himself was sinless, he perhaps understood ugliness and beauty far better than we ever have. He didn’t care that much what people looked like, but he care enormously about turning the ugliness in our hearts to something beautiful. And he was willing to die to make that happen. There has never been a more beautiful human being than Jesus, even if he was short and ugly.
1 Peter 3:3-4 (NIV) – Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4 Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
PRAYER: ! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2013 by Galen C. Dalrymple.
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