Two texts in the Old Testament apply to Christ. The first is, "Thou art fairer than the children of men" (Psalms 45:2), and the second is, "He hath no form nor comeliness" (Isaiah 53:2).

Evidently these passages must be understood in differing sense. To the eyes of the flesh, he was the lowest among the sons of men, a derision, of the suffering and to the eyes of the spirit there was none fairer of Christ lies in than he. The eyes of the flesh cannot see this. What, then is the nature of this beauty? It is wisdom and love, light for the understanding, and power for the soul, for in suffering and dying Christ displayed all the wisdom and the truth with which the understanding can be adorned. All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in him, and they are hidden because they are visible only to the eye of the spirit.

The greater and the more wonderful is the excellence of his love by contrast with the lowliness of his form, the hate and pain of passion. Herein we come to know both God and ourselves. His beauty is his own, and through it we learn to know him. His uncomeliness and passion are ours, and in them we know ourselves, for what he suffered in the flesh, we must inwardly suffer in the spirit. He has in truth borne our stripes. Here, then, in an unspeakably clear mirror you see yourself. You must know that through your sins you are as uncomely and mangled as you see him here.

If we consider the persons, we ought to suffer a thousand and again a thousand times more than Christ because he is God and we are dust and ashes, yet it is the reverse. He who had a thousand and again a thousand times less need, has taken upon himself a thousand and again a thousand times more than we. No understanding can fathom nor tongue can express, no writing can record, but only the inward feeling can grasp what is involved in the suffering of Christ.


Editor's Note:
This brief meditation from Reformer Martin Luther was adapted from Martin Luther's Easter Book, edited by Roland H. Bainton. Copyright © 1962 by W. L. Jenkins. Used by permission of the estate of Roland Bainton. Scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible. Printed in jesus, keep me near the cross: experiencing the passion and power of easter (Crossway © Nancy Guthrie), which features Easter readings collected from the writings and sermons of 25 classic and contemporary theologians and Bible teachers. 

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