What Would I Have Noticed About Jesus?

For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. (Isa 53:2-3 NASB)

Have you ever wondered what you would have noticed about Jesus? Not until I read The Jesus I Never Knew, had I given it much thought. So I started thinking about what I do notice day in and day out. I notice the unique – clothes or cars that seem out of place. I notice colors – bright and vibrant. I notice open spaces – I seem to prefer wide open areas more than others.

There is, I think, an incredible struggle for us though when it comes to one thing in particular and this is in noticing beauty. As human beings, we have certain tendencies and features that we find attractive in others. From body type to facial structure. From hair styles to clothing, beauty is a primary attractant to others.

Philip Yancey, once showed a BBC special on the life of Christ, where Jesus was portrayed by slightly pudgy actor and some in the class became offended. Just look at any portrayal of Jesus, any video, or painting, or picture – we equate beauty with godliness. It creeps into worship spaces and expectations. St. Augustine said "Beauty is indeed a good gift of God; but that the good may not think it a great good, God dispenses it even to the wicked." City of God Book 15 Chapter 22.

In no Gospel or reliable historical account do we know what Jesus looked like. In the middle ages, speculation arose that Jesus may have had leprosy or had a hunchback even. That wouldn't seem far from the possibilities that Isaiah shared in his prophecy.

But people WERE attracted to Jesus...in droves! They sat for days listening to him teach. Other teachers would come to speak with him and he thought nothing of the influence he might gain from them. He turned no one away regarding miracles – I think this might have impacted me. Women were welcome in his circle of friends which was unique in that day and time. Jesus also said, “the son of man has no place to lay his head,” so apparently camping out was part of his lifestyle – sounds good to me!

Still, I'm not sure that any of those are things totally, that I would have noticed. No, I think what I would have noticed was the recklessness of Jesus.

He Was Reckless In Teaching His Followers
From going out in the midst of the storm on a boat (Mark 4:37-41) or walking on the water (Matthew 14:23-33). After feeding 5,000 and 4,000, he patiently explained the whole point of the miracle! They totally didn't understand the suffering he would endure and he regularly corrected them in this. He allowed his betrayer to present at the last supper and had the disciples near him in the time of his greatest grief and pain in the Garden of Gesthemane. That was authentic.

Reckless In Correcting Errors of Enemies

In front of those with power, he stood his ground regarding the stoning of an adulterous woman. When Nicodemus, a Pharisee, came in the night to protect his own standing, Jesus got right to the point. At facing off with demon possessions – Jesus was right to the point. When healing was needed or asked for – even if against “rules” - Jesus did what was good. Evil and injustice had no place – it wasn't to be bargained with or debated.

Reckless In Seeking God's Favor
For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God. Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. "For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel. (Joh 5:18-20 NASB)

Jesus was reckless above all else in seeking God's favor. If you want the favor of others, Jesus said you'll find your reward right here, but it won't be found with God (Matthew 6:1). Jesus' ultimate desire was to seek the favor of God.

Such a life, I think, would be what would attract me to him. But what about you? So many are looking for comfort and ease in this life. I don't see that in the historical or the resurrected Jesus. Some are looking for riches and insulation and again, I'm not sure what they would find if they really looked at Jesus.

Philip Yancey writes, “I cannot avoid the impression that Jesus prefers working with unpromising recruits (pg 100).” This above all maybe the piece most attractive – for if this is true, then we all have a shot with God.


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