Would you describe Jesus as beautiful?
I lead music at my small church once a month. Each month, I select a theme and choose a set of songs to fit my theme. For this month, the thought of Jesus as beautiful came to me and my mind immediately flooded with possibilities. Wow! There were so many choices.
- Fairest Lord Jesus
- Beautiful One
- O Lord, You’re Beautiful
- More Precious than Silver
- I Stand in Awe (You Are Beautiful Beyond Description)
- I’d Rather Have Jesus (look at the third verse)
- How Beautiful
- Isn’t He
- Let The Beauty of Jesus
- How Beautiful
Can you add to my list?
My next step was to plan a Scripture reading to coincide with my song selections. Yet, surprise to me, a word search on the words beauty or beautiful came up empty. Well, except this prophecy from Isaiah:
“He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.” – Isaiah 53:2
Why do so many hymns, choruses, and contemporary songs describe Jesus as beautiful?
What is beautiful anyway?
When I say the word, beautiful, what comes to your mind?
- A sunset
- A robin redbreast in flight
- A rose in bloom
- A bride on her wedding day (there is no such thing as an ugly bride)
- The face of a newborn (especially when it’s your grandchild!)
- A waterfall
What is it about these things that we would call them beautiful?
Webster’s dictionary defines beautiful as having qualities of beauty. That’s not helpful. I get annoyed at dictionaries when they play with my brain like that.
The next definition is:
having aesthetic pleasure.
Guess what aesthetic means? Relating to the beautiful. Not helpful!
Let’s try the word beauty:
. . . qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses.
Reading further, I find this:
a particularly graceful, ornamental, or excellent quality
Now we’re getting somewhere.
My walking talking encyclopedia preacher creature husband defined beauty as:
The harmonious blending of all components that leads to a pleasing whole.
And, to Webster’s credit, the second definition of beautiful is:
Jesus. What makes Jesus beautiful?
According to that verse from Isaiah, he was nothing much to look at on the outside. It’s what He did, it’s what He represents that arouses our pleasure and our desire to be in relationship with Him. Jesus offers that harmonious blending of everything good and right and righteous and satisfying and pleasing. He satisfies my life longings like no one or no thing can do.
My enjoyment of a sunset or rose is temporary; both will fade. Brides wake up with bad hair days. Babies are born with squashed red faces, have poopy diapers, and grow into emotion-ridden preteens. As much as I love the waterfalls of Niagara, Bear Canyon, and Hocking Hills, there comes a time I have to leave them behind and return to things less pleasurable.
Jesus is permanent and perfect.
And yes, there is a Bible passage that describes the beauty of Jesus.
“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. – Colossians 1:15-20
The Creator of all things is the source of beauty. We find beauty in Him because He is permanent, powerful, and perfect. God finds pleasure in Jesus, and through Jesus, all things in heaven and earth are reconciled into a harmonious blending that is pleasing to God and to us.
Did you catch the word peace in that Scripture passage? I would describe most beautiful things as peaceful. It is what Jesus did to bring peace that makes Him the most pleasing to us. He sacrificed His life so that we could be brought back into the presence of God.
Beautiful just like Him
The words of one song on my list haunt me:
Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me,
All His wonderful passion and purity;
O my Savior divine, All my being refine,
Till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.
My life is to serve as a picture frame, as a snapshot of the beauty of Jesus. I need to reflect His beauty, not in a way that yields praise for my own efforts but that will draw others to Christ.
If you saw a framed art of Niagara Falls, the artist would be dismayed if you said, “Oh what a pretty frame.” They would get an ego boost if you gushed over the artistic techniques in the pictures. But the best, most satisfying praise of all would be if you said, “Look at that beautiful waterfall. I wish I could go see it in person.” Then they would know they had capture the beauty of the scene.
That’s what my life needs to do—capture the beauty of Jesus and make others want to meet Him in person.
How do I do that? That’s what I’m learning to do, day by day.
What ways have you found to portray the beauty of Jesus?