He had no form or majesty that we should look at him.
The more I read it, the more I am fascinated with the story of David’s call in 1 Samuel 16. The story is rich in many ways, not the least of which is because it gives us a clear look at the mind of God. When the story opens, Samuel is a dedicated servant of God, and has been for many years. Thus we understand that Samuel is one who is used to the workings of God. Yet when he arrives at Jesse’s farm and gazes upon the healthy, strapping sons whom Jesse is raising, Samuel is immediately convinced that it must be one of the older boys whom God has sent him to anoint as the successor to Saul. When he first sees Eliab, for instance, Samuel responds like most of us would likely respond: “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before [me].” Translated into modern parlance, “This guy is a stud! This HAS to be the one God sent me to anoint. He looks like a king, walks like a king, and acts like a king!”
But it was not Eliab whom God had chosen. In fact, as the story goes, it was none of the first seven of Jesse’s sons. God instead had chosen the youngest—the one who was not even invited to the lineup—to be the shepherd for His people, Israel. God chose the one least expected. He chose the one who did not stand out in any way, except in ways that God alone could see.
Isaiah prophesied about the coming Christ— that Christ would not be physically recognizable in any way. There would be nothing particular about Christ’s countenance that would “give him away” as the Messiah. Most did not recognize him as the Christ. Yet those who do are given the opportunity to enter into God’s eternal family. Even in the midst of all of our sin, God makes way for us— through Christ—to draw near and be made into new creatures.
This is the reason we gather, and this is the reason we celebrate. It is good to be here.