beauty magazinesI can take you back to the exact place I was a decade ago when I first heard someone talk about the ‘beauty’ of God.

i n c ó m o d o     (awkward!)

I felt like someone had just accused God of wearing make-up or a man-dress.

Here’s a little quiz to see how you are accustomed to hearing the word “beauty” used:

  1. is it normally applied to someone feminine or masculine?
  2. is it normally describing something external or internal?
  3. do you hear it more often when it’s abused (such as in an advertisement) or when it is used sincerely (such as among family members)?
  4. does the common idea we have of ‘beauty’ more frequently inspire competition? sexual desire? or reverence and awe?

So if our ideas of the word ‘beauty’ are so un-God-like, why do we make it apply to God here at Christos?  why do we make such a big deal out of it?

The luxury of misunderstanding
One of many reasons why I love our church is because we have a special weapon in our fight for joy in Christ.  The very fact that we speak different languages reminds us to be more careful about words.  Do they always mean what we think they mean?  It is so evident in our life together that it is often fun, like the simple difference in accent between the Mexican and Columbian word for ‘beans’.  Idioms stick out like a sore thumb (in fact, there’s one!).  We’re continually forced to re-evaluate if a word means what we think it means.  I love that, but especially when it relates to how we view God.  When we talk about our vision at Christos to “See, enjoy, and share the beauty of Christ in diversity,” not only do we not mean he was effeminate, we also mean do not mean he was a physically good looking man.

Jesus was not handsome
With all due respect to artists through the centuries that have portrayed him to be good-looking, he was not.  How do we know?  In a famous prophetic chapter about the incarnate Son of God this is what Isaiah says: “He will have no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him.” (Is 53:2b)  He probably would not have made the cover of GQ magazine.

“So what do you mean?”
Great question.  The reality we’re pointing to is why it is such a big deal for us at Christos.  There is so much in scripture to look at and we’ll do that in posts to come.  But for now, we’ll just chew on the verse above (Is 53:2).  Even if we’re parts of different subcultures here in the US, the predominant cultural air we breathe on a daily basis worships physical beauty.  From the age we are old enough to understand an advertisement, we are all impacted.  So here are some questions for you to consider and comment on if you have time.

  • How does it impact you to know that Christ was not good-looking?
  • What do you think God thinks and feels about your physical appearance?
  • Does it matter to you to know, even though humans “look on the outward appearance,” but “God looks on the heart” (1 Sa 16:7)?
  • But from another perspective, how do we avoid thinking like a Gnostic?  (they were ancient heretics that said that our bodies – and what we did with them – did not matter)
  • What are some other verses that relate to our bodies or to true beauty?