So what did Jesus look like? Did he resemble actor James Caviezel who played Jesus in Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ? Probably not. Something like Warner Sallman’s famous portrait Head of Christ? Uh, no—don’t think so.

The Bible tells us very little about Jesus’ physical appearance. Perhaps we find a clue or two in Isaiah 53:2: “There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him.”

Jesus was definitely not G.I. Joe—more average Joe. If you bumped into him in a crowded marketplace, it’s likely you wouldn’t have given him a second look.

Isaiah 52:13–53:12, the last of the four Servant Songs (Isaiah 42:1-9, 49:1-7, 50:4-11), doesn’t give us a physical description of Jesus. But it does paint a compelling portrait of Him—revealing who He is and what He’s done for us.

This song tells of Jesus’ humanity, His suffering and sacrifice for us, His death and burial, and His victory and majesty (Isaiah 53:10-12). Because Christ succeeded in His mission to save, He’s “highly exalted” and has been given “the honors of a victorious soldier” (Isaiah 52:13,15, 53:10-12).

But this was accomplished at a high cost. Jesus was “despised and rejected . . . pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins . . . beaten so we could be whole . . . whipped so we could be healed . . . oppressed and treated harshly . . . unjustly condemned [and] buried like a criminal” (1 Thessalonians 3:3-9). He was “so disfigured he seemed hardly human” (Isaiah 52:14).

But Jesus “had done no wrong” (Isaiah 53:9). So as we gaze at this picture of Jesus, we see the One who bore our sins so we could be right with God, the Son of God who died that we might live eternally (Isaiah 53:11). What an amazing portrait of grace!

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Nehemiah 2:1-20