Sound Words, July 15, 2018

Sound Words, July 15, 2018

Jesus the Common Man

By Kent Heaton

            “He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him” (Isa. 53:2). The Son of God is the express image of the glory of the Father. There are no words in the language of men that can fully comprehend what God looks like and the glory of His presence. To consider that Jesus dwelt with the Father and became flesh is beyond the pale of man’s imagination to take in. How great was the love of Christ to leave what He knew in the presence of the Almighty and take on human flesh to suffer the pains and afflictions of mortal man. How can man ascribe meaning to what Jesus gave up and what He became? It would seem natural to assume someone as great, powerful and majestic as God would come in the flesh and radiate a glory that all men would recognize as divine and holy but Jesus came in a manner void of an outward appeal to the eyes of man. Isaiah writes about the coming Messiah and the suffering servant that would give His life for all men. Included in the message of hope is the reality of what Jesus would look like when He came in the flesh. Isaiah does not include any physical characteristics such as height or size or facial notations that would give a hint to the appearance of Jesus but rather the reality that the Savior would not exhibit anything unusual in a crowd of men. He would come to the world as a common man that if He stood in a crowd would not be taken notice of. The totems of men describing the physical traits of Jesus have always depicted Him with a certain manner that made Him stand out among others. The New Testament never hints to any physical attributes of Jesus and many who knew Him and wrote about Him never disclosed a single detail. Isaiah simply describes the visage of Jesus as being a common man and undistinguished among men. The Son of God would leave the glory of the Father and become as the common man of flesh in the world of men.

There is a purpose of why the Holy Spirit never offered details about the physicality of Jesus Christ. Jesus was born in the natural manner of men (His conception was the miracle) and grew from an infant to adulthood with the same pains, needs and wants as any other child. He had to learn to walk, practice his alphabet and be taught the word of God. His hair grew as did His limbs and stature. He learned to feed Himself and to prepare food to eat. Working along Joseph Jesus would learn the workings of a hammer and chisel. He slept, laughed, sneezed and ran with the other children in play. His brothers and sisters gathered around the table to eat with Jesus talking of the day’s activities and work to be done on the morrow. The childhood of the son of Mary was just as common as any other child in Nazareth. It is likely He spent time with his cousin John when the families would get together or make their journey to Jerusalem. They were only six months apart in age and had much in common. As a young man of 21 Jesus did not strike anyone with any significance of being different. He would be thirty years old before anyone took notice and many would not believe His miracle because they could only see the man who was a carpenter’s son and nothing else. He was a common man. Nothing significant. Nothing noteworthy. In a multitude of people Jesus did not glow or have a presence that would cause anyone to take notice. The Son of God looked like every other person and never stood out of the crowd.

What does Jesus look like? He is the image of the Father and His image is that of glory. The physical appearance of Jesus was of no significance for a number of reasons. Man has already recreated Jesus in the image of prideful man including attributes that have no bearing on the story of the Christ. He was a Jew who lived in a harsh climate under a strenuous lifestyle like all other men. Men would worship the image of Jesus if it was preserved but Jesus wanted all men to see His Father and listen to His teaching. He was unconcerned about His physical appearance to impress men. The teachings and miracles of the man from Nazareth showed the image of God. It is hard to imagine how glorious Jesus would have been with His Father and how He became so common when He walked among men. His work was not to be adored by men because of His appearance but rather for men to adore the Father because of His grace. Listening to the words of Christ creates an image of truth, holiness and beauty that describe the visage of the Lord as being glorious. Two thousand years have passed when a common man died on a common cross. That man who looked as ordinary as any other man was in fact the Son of God. His death was the least common death experienced on the face of the earth. The man who had no beauty that we should desire Him is the One who is the image of the Father and the picture of saving grace. Jesus was anything but common and thank God for that.


We have Forgotten God

We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth, and power; as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious Hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with the unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us! It behooves us, then to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness. (Abraham Lincoln, Proclamation for a National Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer, April 30, 1863)


Doubt and Faith

Doubt sees the obstacles;

Faith sees the way.

Doubt sees the darkest night;

Faith sees the day.

Doubt dreads to take a step;

Faith soars on high.

Doubt questions, “Who believes?”

Faith answers, “I.”

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