ODJ: Portrait of Jesus

April 29, 2016 

READ: Isaiah 52:13–53:12 

There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him (53:2).

So what did Jesus look like? Did he resemble actor James Caviezel who played Jesus in Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ? Probably not. Something like Warner Sallman’s famous portrait Head of Christ? Uh, no—don’t think so.

The Bible tells us very little about Jesus’ physical appearance. Perhaps we find a clue or two in Isaiah 53:2: “There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him.”

Jesus was definitely not G.I. Joe—more average Joe. If you bumped into him in a crowded marketplace, it’s likely you wouldn’t have given him a second look.

The last of the four Servant Songs (Isaiah 42:1—9, 49:1—7, 50:4—11), Isaiah 52:13–53:12 doesn’t give us a physical description of Jesus. But it does paint a compelling portrait of Him—revealing who He is and what He’s done for us.

This song tells of Jesus’ humanity, His suffering and sacrifice for us, His death and burial, and His victory and majesty (53:10—12). Because Christ succeeded in His mission to save, He’s “highly exalted” and has been given “the honors of a victorious soldier” (52:13,15, 53:10—12).

But this was accomplished at a high cost. Jesus was “despised and rejected . . . pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins . . . beaten so we could be whole . . . whipped so we could be healed . . . oppressed and treated harshly . . . unjustly condemned [and] buried like a criminal” (vv.3—9). He was “so disfigured he seemed hardly human” (52:14).

But Jesus “had done no wrong” (53:9). So as we gaze at this picture of Jesus, we see the One who bore our sins so we could be right with God, the Son of God who died that we might live eternally (v.11). What an amazing portrait of grace!

—K. T. Sim

365-day-plan: Nehemiah 2:1-20

Read Matthew 26:47—67 and 27:11—54 to see how Jesus fulfilled Isaiah 53. 
What did Jesus endure for you? How does the portrait you’re painting in life reflect the portrait Jesus lived out?