7th June 2011

So What’s Wrong With Being Common?

“He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.”
Isaiah 53:2 (NIV)

“Common looking people are the best in the world: that is the reason the Lord makes so many of them!”  This witticism was attributed to Abraham Lincoln and I decided to see if there were any references in scripture to ordinary or common-looking people. Does God make any comments regarding our outward appearance?  We live in a society which places great emphasis on celebrity, designer clothing, fashion and style, particularly for our younger generation. This has created a belief that to be successful you have got to ‘look the part’.

It is therefore interesting to note that the prophet Isaiah – in his widely accepted description of Jesus the Messiah – states that there would be nothing special or appealing about his appearance. And this was in reference to God in the flesh! (Isaiah 53:2 above). Yet he would look like nothing extraordinary or uncommon.

This is endorsed much later by the apostles Matthew and Mark, when they record the betrayal of Jesus by Judas. An arrangement was made whereby Judas was to identify Jesus to the mob, sent from the Chief Priests,  by greeting him with a kiss. It would appear that Jesus did not stand out from his friends in appearance. Just an ordinary-looking Jew.

God plainly enlightens Samuel on this subject, when the Prophet was sure that Jesse’s son, Eliab, was the Lord’s anointed. “But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1Samuel 16:7). God is more concerned with our spiritual character than our physical prowess or expensive attire.

With these examples in mind, I find myself in agreement with President Lincoln. We ordinary commoners – writer included – are in the best of good company! We should rejoice in the knowledge that God places no importance on the visible. Rather he looks upon our active response to His loving and gracious promise of salvation through our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Thank you, Father, that your concerns are with our innermost spiritual condition and not just our outward appearance. Help us to realize that your love extends to the ordinary and common people who place their trust and confidence in You.

Study by Bob Beggs

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