“Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.”
Today’s verse passage speaks of the King of glory at His first coming, when He appeared superficially to be nothing special. In Old Testament times, the leader of God’s people was to look the part. Israel’s first king, Saul, for instance, was said to be “a choice young man, and a goodly: and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he: from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people” (1 Samuel 9:2). The idea was that the leader of the people must be a man in whom God had found favor; being blessed with good looks was a sign that God was pleased with Him. When Saul had fallen out of favor with God, his successor, David, was described as being “ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to” (1 Samuel 16:12). Psalm 45 is a celebration of the Israelite king’s wedding. The writer declared, “I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer. Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever” (Psalm 45:1-2). Once again, the cosmetic, outward attractiveness of the king is mentioned as a sign of God’s blessing and favor. How shocking it must have been, even unbelievable to some, when the humble Carpenter from Nazareth appeared on scene declaring Himself (albeit somewhat cryptically) to be the promised King of the Jews. His appearance, His manner of speaking, His shocking claims concerning Himself, coupled with His hard teachings and puzzling parables ensured His rejection by official Jewry. Those who rejected Him could have at any time drawn closer and asked questions. They could have learned more; they could have come to a truer understanding of Who Jesus really was. The Lord knew, of course, that given His appearance and teachings, many would harden their hearts to Him and His claims. This was part of God’s plan, flawlessly executed for the salvation of souls. As Paul explains, God had to hide the Lord’s true identity in this way because had the rulers of this world known Who He really was, “they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (1 Corinthians 2:8). During our Lord’s passion, He was outwardly transformed from having no comeliness that we should desire Him, to being a horror to behold. Sin in all its ugliness was manifest in the broken body of Jesus (Isaiah 52:14). Now raised to new and glorified life, however, the Blessed Savior reigns supreme as the stunning and glorious King of kings, and we who have loved and trust Him shall one day “see the King in His beauty” (Isaiah 33:17). Even so, Come Lord Jesus!