Ugly--by Kimberly B. Southall

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Think about what happened to Jesus immediately before, during, and immediately after His crucifixion. Need a refresher?

  • He was oppressed, afflicted, and wounded (Isaiah 53:5, 7).
  • He was struck with fists, slapped, and beaten by the guards (Matthew 26:67; Mark 14:65; Luke 22:63; John 18:22).
  • He was flogged, which means He was given 39 lashes with a very nasty whip. Many experts believe the whip would have contained several knots with metal objects and pieces of broken glass attached (Isaiah 50:6; Matthew 27:26; Mark 15:15; John 19:1).
  • He was stripped and had a robe placed on Him, which would mean the cloth would stick to the fresh, severe wounds on His back (Matthew 27:28; Mark 15:17; Luke 23:11; John 19:2).
  • A crown of thorns was placed (and not gently, either) on His head (Matthew 27:28; Mark 15:17; John 19:2).
  • He was struck on the head repeatedly with a staff (Matthew 27:30; Mark 15:19).
  • After there had been sufficient time for that robe to have stuck to the oozing wounds on His back, the robe was then removed, painfully reopening all of the wounds and probably causing new ones (Matthew 27:31; Mark 15:20).
  • His beard was pulled out of His cheeks (Isaiah 50:6).
  • He was forced to carry a very heavy, rough, wooden cross resting against his back until He no longer had the strength to do it (John 19:17; Psalm 22:15).
  • He was crucified, which means His hands and feet were nailed to a rough, wooden cross while it was lying on the ground (Psalm 22:16; Isaiah 53:5; Matthew 27:35; Mark 15:25; Luke 23:33; John 19:18).
  • Then the cross, with Jesus nailed to it, was suddenly dropped into the hole in the ground which would hold the cross in a vertical position. This made His bones go out of joint (Psalm 22:14).
  • While hanging on the cross, He became so thirsty His tongue stuck to the roof of His mouth (Psalm 22:15; John 19:28).
  • His heart "turned to wax" and "melted away" within Him. This was evidenced by the blood and water which flowed from His side when one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear to make certain Jesus was dead (Psalm 22:14; John 19:34).
  • Many were appalled at Him, because His appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form was marred beyond human likeness (Isaiah 52:14).
Do all of these details paint an ugly enough picture for you? Was it any wonder, then, that after He resurrected from the dead, the very people who knew Him best didn't even recognize Him!? (See Luke 24:13-32, 35, 39; John 20:10-18; and John 21:1-14 for the three incidents in which His very own close followers did not recognize Him when they were face to face with Him following His resurrection.) Sad, but true, Jesus still wore the evidence of His wounds after He resurrected and He still wears them today (John 20:24-28; Revelation 5:6).

Do all of these details sound ugly to you? They do to me. But not because I think of Jesus as being ugly. I believe He is the most beautiful person to have ever walked the face of the earth. Sure, Jesus' physical appearance would have seemed very ugly to the scoffing passers by. But what is really so ugly is the fact that it was my sins--and yours--which did that to Him. It was sinful mankind which did all of those horribly ugly physical acts to Jesus--people just like you and me.

And what about God the Father? What did He think about all of this? Remember, God watched it all happen. When Jesus was oppressed, afflicted, and wounded, God looked on. When Jesus was struck with fists, slapped, and beaten by the guards, God looked on. When Jesus was flogged, God looked on. When Jesus was stripped, had a robe placed on Him, had the crown of thorns placed on His head and was struck on the head repeatedly with a staff, God looked on. When the robe was ripped from Jesus' back, God looked on. When Jesus' beard was pulled out of His cheeks and He was forced to stagger under the heavy load of the cross, God looked on. When the soldiers pounded huge nails through 

Jesus' hands and feet and then dropped the cross into the ground, God looked on. When Jesus became so thirsty his tongue stuck to his mouth and no one would give him a drink of water, God looked on. Yes, even when Jesus was so disfigured and marred that others found him to be appalling, God still looked on.

But then it happened. The ugliest and most beautiful thing in the whole world happened. Jesus, who was sinless Himself, willingly took on all of the sins which had even been and will ever be committed (John 1:29; 1 John 2:2). For a few moments, Jesus selflessly became the ugliest man in God's sight when He took on my sins and yours. Our sins were so very ugly that when Jesus bore them for us, God the Father could not stand to look upon it. Our sins were too ugly for God to look at. That's when Jesus said, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" What a terribly ugly punishment Jesus underwent just for us--He took the punishment for all of our sins. But what a beautiful Savior Jesus is for doing it for us.

Ugly. There were all kinds of ugliness upon Jesus. But it wasn't His ugliness; it was ours. Even now, each time we sin, it is ugly. Never forget what our ugly sins did to our beautiful Jesus who still loves us so very much. His sacrifice and resurrection made it possible for our ugly sins to be taken away (John 1:29). All we have to do is follow God's biblical plan of salvation. When we believe, repent, confess, are baptized, and live a faithful Christian life to the end, Jesus' sacrifice covers and we are saved from the eternal consequences of our ugly sins.

Copyright © 2005 Kimberly B. Southall. All rights reserved.