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Posted by: jakinnan | December 2, 2014

A Better Description

mtn

When I first became a Christian more than thirty-two years ago, the little church group I found myself in sang a worship song that went, “Beautiful, beautiful, Jesus is beautiful.” I joined in wholeheartedly, sensing it was true, but not quite certain what it meant, really. Were they saying that Jesus is good-looking?

Now I understand.

To say that Jesus is perfect—as the “defenders of his glory” do—isn’t the right choice of words. A stainless-steel ball is perfect; Cinderella’s glass slipper was perfect; a haiku is perfect. Perfect makes me think of Barbie, a Grecian urn, a math equation. Words are important. Words shape our perceptions. When they define, they can also distort. There is a far better way to describe this man whose face is the most human face of all.

Jesus is beautiful.

His ability to live with all these qualities we’ve seen, in such a way that no one quality dominates—as is so often the case in our personalities—eclipsing the richness of the others. To live in such a way that there is always something of an element of surprise, and yet, however he acts turns out to be exactly what was needed in the moment. Oh, his brilliance shines through, but never blinding, never overbearing. He is not glistening white marble. He is the playfulness of creation, scandal and utter goodness, the  generosity of the ocean and the ferocity of a thunderstorm; he is cunning as a snake and gentle as a whisper; the gladness of sunshine and the humility of a thirty-mile walk by foot on a dirt road. Reclining at a meal, laughing with friends, and then going to the cross. That is what we mean when we say that Jesus is beautiful.

-John Eldredge, Beautiful Outlaw

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