You are fairer than the sons of men; Grace is poured upon Your lips; Therefore God has blessed You forever.
The Bible ascribes countless Names and Titles to our Savior. Jesus Christ is the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last. He is the Author and Finisher of our faith. Jesus is the Bright and Morning Star, the Dayspring from on High and the Ancient of Days. He is the Light of the world, the Bread of life, the Good Shepherd, The Door and Vine, and the Way, Truth, Resurrection and Life. There is at least one devotional book that has a meditation on a new Name for Jesus for every day of the year, and St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians proclaims that “God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the Name which is above every name…”
The Psalm from which the Text-verse is taken, in prophesying about the Messiah, essentially identifies Him as being both Son of God and Son of Man. It ascribes to Him an eternal Divine throne and likewise describes Him as “fairer than the sons of men.” Those truths occupied the thoughts of an unknown 17th century hymn writer in penning the words for “Beautiful Savior.” The truths expressed through Psalm 45 no doubt carried the writer to heights of joy in pondering and composing the hymn’s words, drawn especially from Verse 2: “You are fairer than the sons of men; Grace is poured upon Your lips; Therefore God has blessed You forever.”
Consider now some of those truths which make Jesus so fair and beautiful for us…
JESUS IS BEAUTIFUL AS THE KING OF CREATION
A review of Genesis Chapter 1 reminds us of the order in which God created the objects and beings of our universe. On “Day One” God said, “Let there be light,” and to this day, although scientists can measure and describe some of its properties, none can tell us precisely what light is. We ultimately only know that it’s an awesome category of energy with the characteristic of moving at an incredible speed even through the vast vacuum of space!
Following that, God gave structure to space and sky, created earth’s land, sea and plant life, and placed the sun, moon and stars in our sky to serve as lights and seasonal indicators for us. By the 5th Day of Time God called into being all manner of ocean life and birds, and on the 6th he created the vast variety of land creatures.
The hymnist reflects the goodness of creation at its outset and much that remains beautiful still: “Fair are the meadows … woodlands … blooming flowers; the sunshine … moonlight … and sparkling stars…” Yet Jesus is even fairer and brighter, we agree!
The crowning work of all that exists is of course, however, God’s personal fashioning of humankind; making our first parents in His own image and giving them living souls with His breath of life, and assigning rulership over the rest of earth’s creatures. We still know of no higher or more sophisticated form of intelligence or life than ourselves.
U.S. News & World Report once featured an article that allowed that God MAY actually exist and have been responsible for all else that exists(!). The observation should have perhaps been added, though, that our planet is fashioned so precisely that life as we know it could NOT exist if things were barely different. If our distance from the sun or if chemical components of the atmosphere were slightly different, for example, life might be utterly absent here. The contemplation of the vast complexity and yet astounding orderliness of it all yields our breath-taken assent to the reason and will of our great Designer, God!
Yet we need to ponder further and realize that the Baby of Bethlehem’s manger and Man of Calvary’s Cross also is the very God who DID create us and all there is! During His earthly ministry Jesus changed water into wine and multiplied loaves of bread and fish to feed thousands, as specific examples of creative acts, if you will. Many sought to kill Him, however, when He claimed that, “I and the Father are One.”
Jesus IS “One” with our creating God and Father, though. Scripture says, “In Him all things were created, in Heaven and on earth, visible and invisible … all things were created through Him …” And we should know well the confession of St. John: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and … WAS God … All things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.” Jesus Christ is Creator King of ecosystems, microbiology, astrophysics, light and sound, mathematics, chemistry and our human minds and bodies. This truth is stunningly profound!
JESUS IS BEAUTIFUL FOR TAKING OUR SIN AND UGLINESS INTO HIMSELF
Creation fell from its lofty goodness through the transgression of Adam and Eve, and we’ve been involved in rebellion and sin against our Creator ever since. But Jesus came as the son of Mary, in truth every bit as Human as we are, to provide for our salvation through His “Vicarious Atonement.”
That’s a term used in theology to identify Christ’s suffering and death as having happened “in our place.” A “vicarious” television viewer, for example, gets so caught up in the plot and action and emotion of a program that he feels as if he’s actually there taking part as one of the characters. Young boys in their minds become the super-heroes they watch. Young girls become the sleeping beauties they watch or read about. Even adults can be left as breathless as the actor who just escaped some impending danger. That’s what the word “vicarious” means.
In His Vicarious Atonement Jesus literally experienced all the suffering and consequence of yours and my sin. At the Cross He took into Himself every ounce and bit of our guilt and shame, tears, sorrow and pain, illnesses and every punishment deserved by our sins. He was beaten and clubbed and scourged. He was spit on and laughed at. He was abandoned and physically nailed and underwent all hell’s fiercest punishment so that we might never have to. All in our stead, in our place, VICARIOUSLY!
Jesus truly took our ugliness on Himself, the King of Creation, and that TOO makes Him so preciously beautiful for us. A prophecy from Isaiah says: “His appearance was … disfigured beyond that of any man … He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him …” And the Psalms paint Calvary’s scene with Jesus saying from the Cross, “I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men … All My bones are out of joint … I can count all My bones …”
What beauty IS there in Jesus when you think of Him scourged and crowned with thorns and hanging on the Cross? Only those who know who He really is can ever see real beauty in His suffering and call Him “fairer than the sons of men.” For our sake God truly DID make “Him to be sin (in all its ugliness) who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Vicarious Atonement for us! Jesus “emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a Cross.” What love and grace from Him who created us and our whole world!
JESUS IS BEAUTIFUL BECAUSE OF HIS GLORY
The Bible speaks of His glory at His Transfiguration: “His face shone like the sun, His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about His departure, which He was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem.” And our Beautiful Savior’s glory was clinched by that departure!
We glimpse His glory through the empty tomb! He didn’t remain cold and lifeless in a cave after His death, but rose to life again the third day after. We see His glory also in His Ascension and by His promise that “All power is given unto Me …”
St. John described the eternal Heavenly Being whom we will one day meet face to Face in the book of his Revelation: “His face … like the sun shining in all its brilliance … His eyes … like blazing fire, and on His head … many crowns. He has a Name written on Him that no one knows but He, Himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in Blood, and His Name is the Word of God … Out of His mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron scepter … On His robe and on His thigh He has THIS Name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”
For being Creator of our universe, for His Vicarious Atonement and for the glory Jesus now has at the Throne of God, He is all-worthy of our very best in worship and with our deeds of serving others in love. What things make Him especially beautiful, special and important for you? Share those truths with others!
God has qualified and enables every Christian believer to give such a witness. Tell someone, anyone, what Jesus means to YOU! Even a little kindergartner once, when asked to draw a picture of something really important to him, drew his family members and underneath printed the words, “We Love Jesus.” Jesus Himself promises, “Whoever acknowledges Me before men, him will I also acknowledge before my Father which is in Heaven.” God GRANT us to acknowledge our Savior and His Beauty, claiming His promise to likewise acknowledge us at His Father’s Throne!