"There is no beauty that we should desire Him;" Isa. 53:2
Now let us turn to the PHYSICAL PERFECTION of Jesus. When will some inspired artist give us a true picture of this glorious Man? He is almost always depicted as frail in physical form, having long hair, and lacking in bodily beauty. Perhaps the German artist, Hoffmann, has come nearest to the true ideal. It may be argued that the prophet Isaiah declared, "There is no beauty that we should desire Him;" (Isa. 53:2) but surely the prophet did not mean that He would be devoid of beauty, but rather that men would be blind and would not recognize the true type of Divine beauty. I strenuously hold that He was perfect in physical form and proportion. The body is the outward and visible sign of the inward and invisible spirit, and the perfect spirit of Jesus would form a perfect physical tabernacle in which He passed the probationary life.
In the letter to the Romans the apostle urges the saints "to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship." (Rom. 12:1) That is the marginal reading, and catches the real thought of the writer. The spirit worships through the presentation of the body. The spirit expresses itself through the body. It will readily be conceded that the most plain and commonplace faces become transfused with light, when the spirit is in communion with God; and to grant the spiritual perfection of Jesus is of necessity to admit bodily perfection likewise. Marred with the furrows of sorrow and of pain His sacred face most surely was, yet in form and feature and fashion it was the fairest face of man the world has ever seen. Perhaps bent, and even at the last faltering with weariness, that sacred tabernacle of His spirit, and yet the boasted perfections of Greek gods were but human abortions by the side of the perfectly balanced physique of Jesus. In Him spirit was dominant, and all bodily powers were perfectly under control, within the sphere appointed in the Divine economy.
It follows that every piece of work that Jesus did in physical strength under the control of spiritual intelligence, was perfect work and this because He perfectly understood His work, was perfectly-able to do it, and rendered it in the perfect love of His heart to God. How delightful it is to meditate upon Him as He bent over His bench and made yokes and ploughs for the cultivation of the fields He so dearly loved, which stretched around the little village where He lived. It is worthy of remembrance that He used both plough and yoke as illustrations in His preaching. Think for a moment of the wonderful skill with which He would carry out His work. His knowledge of nature was such that He knew exactly the best wood to use for any given piece of work; and in the tree lying before Him, He read all the story of its growth, and knew the precision of its method, and so understood just how to cut it so as not to spoil it in the process. He knew, moreover, how to join it, so that in the joint the strength of each part should minister to the new strength of union. He was a perfect Workman, doing perfect work.
Perhaps apart from the Master, one of the most wonderful illustrations the world has ever had of perfection of spirit producing perfection of work was that of Stradivarius, the great, and may it not be said, the only, maker of the violin. Certain it is that his instruments have never been improved upon. When he was at work on them, he would pass into the woods, and placing his hands upon the trees would know by the very touch, which wood was best for each part of the musical mechanism. He discovered the tones of music in the fiber of the wood, with the result that he made a perfect instrument. In him there was the development of spirit on the side of music.
Now lift the thought, and remember that Jesus of Nazareth was not developed upon one side only, but was perfect in His understanding of all the methods of God in creation. See then how His work would be most perfect, every piece of carpentry passing from His shop, if men had but been able to appreciate it, thrilled with the energy of perfect manhood.
In Him there was an utter absence of disease. He had strength enough for the accomplishment of the divinely ordained work of the day. No more than that, for He was Man. Tired was He when the day was over, because His strength had been used for the day for which it was given. Tiredness is God's call to sleep which is Nature's sweet restorer. O perfect Man, perfect in spirit, having learning, loving always, obeying ever; perfect in body, with face of rarest beauty, and form of finest mold, expressing in common daily tasks the thoughts of God and the perfections of eternity!
Then finally, and in a word, let it be remembered that He passed from those thirty years of privacy, PERFECT IN SPITE OF TEMPTATION. His had not been a life free from temptation. The old question asked in Eden was surely asked of Jesus, "Has God imposed limitations?" and the suggestions, listening to which the first of the race was ruined, were made to Him also, "This limitation of the carpenter's bench is cruel bondage." And yet there He remained while days multiplied into weeks, and weeks grew into months, and months passed on, until years had multiplied themselves to thirty. And even when perhaps the understated temptation of all came, the temptation to hurry on His own greatest work, the temptation which coming to Moses and mastering him postponed deliverance for so long, He still remained, there also learning obedience by the things which He suffered (Heb. 5:8), and growing in favor with God, and men; until, responsive to the inward call, He left the seclusion and the privacy, and standing on the threshold of public work, with the waters of a death baptism, which He had shared in the grace of His heart with man, still clinging about Him, the silent heavens broke into the language of a great music, as the Almighty Father declared, "This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased."