Looking past the surface is challenging. Sometimes appearance is not the only problem. Having a preconceived idea of what someone should be like can mess me up. Also, if I think a nice-looking person will have a personality to match, I could be wrong.
When it comes to evaluating the Lord Jesus Christ, many have a mixture of ideas about Him from varying sources. The paintings say He should be tall, muscular, even handsome and definitely with a halo around His head. Or He should always be loving and kind, never scolding anyone for evil. Others think He must be a prude and that His followers have no fun. These perceptions cannot be backed up from the written record, but they (and other misconceptions) are held by many.
When Jesus came and was announced as the long-awaited Messiah, the Jews were expecting a man who would deliver them from Roman oppression and political domination. They looked for a hero and when He spoke and acted contrary to their expectations, they crucified Him.
They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands. Pilate went out again and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.” So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” (John 19:3–5)
Pilate’s advice, though unheeded, is good advice. Take a good look at this man. He is not guilty of the blasphemy as you have accused Him. He is innocent.
Had Pilate figured it out? Did he realize this was no mere man? Did he understand that this Messiah was God in human flesh? Likely not.
The Bible says that seeing the true nature of Jesus Christ is not within normal human capacity. It is a discovery that comes with considerable outside help. When Jesus asked His disciples, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 16:15–17)
Yet God (and Pilate) say, Behold the man! Take a good look at Him. You will not figure out who He is without divine help, but that good, long look is far more apt to get you that revelation than deciding ahead of time who He is, whether from a cursory glance, or a rumor, or a preconceived idea.
Lord, I vividly remember that day when You walked into my life with the revelation that You are God in human flesh, the God who loves me and gave Yourself for me. Each day You reveal to me more of who You are and more of Your glory and grace. Thank You.