Regarding Christ, all comparison is impossible. All other greatness has been marred by smallness. All other wisdom has been flawed by folly. All other goodness has been tainted by imperfection. Jesus Christ remains the only being of whom, without gross flattery, it could be asserted, "He is altogether lovely" (Song 5:16).
His Humanity is Lovely.
First of all, His loveliness consists in His perfect humanity. In everything but our sins and our evil nature, He is one with us. He grew in stature and in grace. He labored, wept, prayed and loved. He "was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin" (Heb. 4:15).
With Thomas, we confess Him Lord and God, yet there is no other who is so intimate with us, who comes so close to our hearts. There is no one in the universe of whom we are so little afraid.
He enters as simply and naturally into our present day lives as if He had grown up on the same street. How wholesome and genuinely human He is! Martha scolds Him; John - who has seen Him raise the dead, quiet the storm and talk with Moses and Elijah on the mountain - does not hesitate to lean on His bosom at supper. Peter hesitates to let Him wash his feet, but later wants his head and hands included in the washing.
They ask Him foolish questions, rebuke Him, and adore Him - all in the same breath. He calls them by their first names, tells them not to fear, and assures them of His love. And in all this He is altogether lovely. His perfection does not merely glitter - it glows.
His Holiness is Lovely.
The saintliness of Jesus is so warm and human that he attracts and inspires. We do not find Him to be inaccessible, like a statue on a pedestal. The beauty of His holiness reminds us of a rose or a garden of violets.
Jesus receives all kinds of sinners: Nicodemus, the moral, religious sinner (In. 3), and Mary Magdalene, the shocking kind of sinner, "out of whom had come seven demons" (Lk. 8:2). He comes into sinful lives as a clear stream enters a stagnant pool. The stream is not afraid of contamination because its sweet energy cleanses the pool.
His Sympathy is Lovely.
His sympathy is absolutely lovely. He is often "moved with compassion" (Mt. 9:36) The multitude without a shepherd, the sorrowing widow of Nain, the ruler's dead child, the maniac of Gadara, the hungry five thousand - whoever suffers touches His heart. His wrath against the Scribes and Pharisees results from His sympathy for those who suffer under their hard self-righteousness.
And what grace in His sympathy! Why did He touch that poor leper? He could have healed him with a word as He did the nobleman's son. For years this leper had been an outcast, cut off from society and dehumanized. He had lost the sense of being a man. It was defiling to approach him. Jesus' touch made him human again.
His Outreach is Lovely.
Can you imagine Jesus calling a convention of Pharisees to discuss methods of reaching the masses? His humility was disarmingly lovely. He was the only one who ever had the choice of how and where He would be born. Yet He entered this life simply as one of the masses.
What meekness! What lowliness! He said, "I am among you as the One who serves" (Lk. 22:27). He washed "the disciples' feet" (In. 13:5). "When He was reviled, He did not revile in return" (1 Pet. 2:23). "As a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth" (Isa. 53:7). Can you think of Jesus ever demanding His rights?
His Gentleness is Lovely.
The loveliness of Jesus is most evident in His manner with sinners. How gentle, faithful, considerate and respectful He is. Nicodemus, proud of his position as a master in Israel, and afraid to imperil it, "came to Jesus by night" (In. 3:2). But before he leaves the Master, he learns how utterly ignorant he is regarding the kingdom; and he goes away to think about the personal application of Jesus words: "men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil" (In. 3:19). But he has not heard one harsh word, one utterance that might wound his self-respect.
When He speaks to the despairing woman who was caught in adultery, after her accusers "went out, one by one" (In. 8:311), the word He uses for "woman" is the same gentle word He used when addressing His own mother from the cross.
His Speech is Lovely.
Follow Him to Jacob's well at high noon and hear His conversation with the woman of Samaria. How patiently He unfolds the deepest truths, how gently yet faithfully He uncovers the great sin which is eating away her soul. But He could not be more respectful if she were Mary of Bethany.
Even in the agonies of His death He could hear the cry of despairing faith. When conquerors return from distant wars in strange lands they bring their chief captive as a trophy. But it was enough for Christ to take back to paradise with Him one thief's soul.
His Poise is Lovely.
He is altogether lovely. All the elements of perfect character are in lovely balance. His gentleness is never weak. His courage is never brutal. Follow Him through all the scenes of outrage and insult on the night and morning of His arrest and trial. Behold Him before the high priest, before Pilate, before Herod. See Him brow-beaten, bullied, scourged, smitten, spit upon, and mocked. How His loveliness comes out! Not once does He lose His poise, His dignity.
Let the unsaved sinner follow Him still further. Go with the jeering crowd outside the gates. See Him stretched upon the great, rough cross and hear the dreadful sound of the hammer as the spikes are forced through His hands and feet.
As the yelling mob falls back, see the cross - bearing this gentlest, sweetest, bravest, loveliest man - raised up for all to see: "Then they crucified Him, and ... sitting down, they kept watch over Him there" (Mt. 27:35-36).
Do You Find Him Lovely?
You watch Him too. Hear Him ask the Father to forgive His murderers. Hear His gentle words from the cross. Is He not altogether lovely?
The Bible tells us that "He bore our sins in His own body on the tree" (1 Pet. 2:24). And He tells us that "he who believes in Me has everlasting life" (In. 6:47).
Have you accepted the altogether lovely One as your Savior, Lord and Friend? If not, won't you do so today?