A dad brought home gifts for his two sons from a “rock hound” gathering somewhere in the United States. He had selected what appeared to be two ordinary items in a bin marked “Your choice - $5.00.” The newspaper article didn’t say whether he had an expert eye but it did say that the external appearance of the two rocks was deceiving. They turned out to be worth several thousand dollars each.
The old saying “You cannot judge a book by its cover” has been used to describe everything from human character to actual books. In this case, it was true of a stone. An uncut diamond is another example; its fire and brilliance do not appear to the untrained eye. Unless a person is able to look beyond what is actually visible, they will not see the value that is there.
Isaiah, the Old Testament prophet wrote about the external appearance of a servant of God. In the context, it is clearly a reference to Jesus Christ, who would not be born for several hundred years. Isaiah said, “...He has no form or comeliness (or splendor) and when we see Him, there is no beauty (or physical appearance) that we should desire Him.” (Is.53:2)
Jesus was apparently not what we would call a Hollywood type. His appearance did not attract people to Him. He was an ordinary man, at least in His external features, and because He was so ordinary, some “despised and rejected Him.” Perhaps their value system included that which is pleasing to the eye. Perhaps they were expecting their Savior to come in regal splendor and sparkling brilliance. Whatever they expected, they stumbled over what they saw, and then rejected Him.
Failure to look beyond mere externals for the value of a person is as foolish as a quick examination of a $50,000 rock and deciding to toss it into the $5.00-take-your-pick bin because it looked “ordinary.” Had the owner of those stones looked more closely, he would never have sold them so cheaply. Had the people of Jesus day looked beyond what they saw on the surface, they would have seen the brilliance of sinless perfection, the fire of a holy life. They would have realized that this ordinary man was also extra-ordinary, and they would have received Him. But He didn’t look good, so they tossed Him aside, without a second look.
Some people do that today. They somehow have false expectations about Jesus Christ and think that He will solve all their problems and make their life a bed of roses, but He doesn’t. Some suppose that He only welcomes “religious” people; but that is far from true.
Some see Him as too ordinary, without the power and brilliance they hope for and need. Their understanding of Him may come from paintings of a limp and even sickly form on a cross. Or they see a television and theater “Jesus” - weak, effeminate, dull, or boring, not even an uncut diamond but a plain, ordinary rock.
Some told the disciples, “We want to see Jesus...” but seeing Him with the physical eye did not guarantee that they realized His value. Everyone who saw Him, even His disciples, did not really know what they were seeing. As the Bible says, He certainly was “the stone that the builders rejected.” Just as a jeweler uses a special lens to enable his eyes to discern the value of a precious stone, God has a similar eyepiece for us. We need one because our sin blinds us to the true beauty of the Son of God. His eyepiece is the Word of God opened up by the power of the Holy Spirit, thus enabling us to have a good look at Jesus.
When we see His glory, we see that He shines far brighter than any diamond, His worth surpassing all that has value. Then we are willing to “sell all” and embrace this One as our own precious Lord and Savior.