A Tender Plant

Isaiah 53:2.

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.

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Setting the scene, Verse 2 talks about the childhood of Jesus.  No myths or fairy tales here. He was,  however, like a small sprout, a tender shoot, growing out of a decayed stock or stump of a tree that was apparently dead. This refers to His infancy, a sucking child, already predicted by the prophet ( v.2; 7:14; 9:6-7;11:1-2) and fulfilled in Matt. 1:18-25; Luke 2:1-55.

The second part of our verse speaks of His suffering. He had no beautiful form, because sin had marred His perfect face. Comeliness in the Hebrew word meant magnificence; splendor; glory; honor, excellency; majesty. He had none of this during His sufferings, but now He has it more than anyone else, except the Father and the Holy Spirit ( Eph. 1:20 -23;Phil. 2:9-11; Col. 1:15-18; I Pet. 3:22).

His lack of physical beauty was only during His suffering.  It is clear from the throngs who followed Him that He was indeed good to look upon; that He had an appeal about Him that made it possible for Him to enter a synagogue and teach as a known Rabbi. I hesitate to use words like aura or charisma, because they are so over-used and misused in today’s superlative-driven language.  I do believe it is true, though that He was most handsome.  I believe He was full of dignity, authority, and confidence.  I’ve just read an unattributed description of Him, and it was full of flowery language.  I don’t think Jesus was a flowery man.  He worked in Joseph’s carpentry shop; His hands were very likely calloused, rough, and very strong.  He did not live a soft and elegant life, but grew up among the poor.  But in spite of His being a mere Nazarene,  He attracted people wherever He went because He was full of grace and truth.

Luke 2:42 tells us that Jesus, as a child, increased in wisdom (intellect), stature (physical maturity), favor with God (spiritual growth) and favor with man (social growth).

It was this fine and unusually beautiful Man that was tortured to a point of not even looking human before He was placed on the cross.


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