"For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him." (Isaiah 53:2-3)Jesus was not a "stand out" kind of guy. He was not one to be voted "most likely to succeed." He wasn't especially hansom and physically there was nothing that would draw us to Him. He was not popular, rather he was despised by many. His life was seasoned with sorrow and grief and He understood what it meant to suffer. But there was something that did set Him apart.
Jesus grew up in a time of dryness. This scripture refers to the time of His coming as "a root out of dry ground." Picture a sun parched land, void of water, when the dirt is dry and cracked. In the middle of this land is a stump, dead and dry, with its root exposed to the sun and heat. This is a picture of Israel and the times in which Jesus was born. The land was dry, the word of the Lord was rare. Times were hard, and there was little joy. It had been a long time since the rain of God had refreshed the weary land. Beyond the land, the people were dry. The stump of the remnant of Israel was dry and dead. They still had their religion, but they lacked the movement and presence of God in their midst.
This was the historical context into which Jesus was born, yet something was about to change. Out of the dry, dead, barren land, a shoot was about to spring forward. Out of death was to come life. What set Jesus apart form all others was life. Jesus had life and, those who recognized it, wanted that life for themselves. John said, "In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men." (John 1:4) It's like the story of the burning bush. A bush is not very notable, but when it is on fire and not burred up, it can even make a seasoned sheep herder turn aside to look. Jesus was a man, but He was also a man who had eternal life. As a man, we would not have taken a second look, but it is His life that captures our hearts and desires.
What made Jesus notable was His life. How about us? Do people see in us the life of Jesus, or are we just like everyone else in the world. It's not our words, our doctrine, or our beliefs that will make people take notice, but it is the quality of life that we live. "And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life." (1 John 5:11-12) The world needs to see our life, they need to see the life of Jesus in us. This is the evidence that God has given to the world, God has given us eternal life!