Back in my college days I used to write love letters to my girlfriend who lived hundreds of miles away. I tried to be creative and fun. I’d send riddles and crossword puzzles.
One time all I mailed in the envelope was a handful of whiskers because I shaved off my beard (which she insisted that she didn’t like). It was an act of love, and a vivid, visual reminder that I was thinking of her.
When she opened the envelope it scattered the shavings all over her and her kitchen. She wasn’t impressed. But, two things, 1) she married me, and 2) of all the love letters we shared, that one still stands out as one of the most memorable.
Did Jesus have a beard?
Researchers and archaeologists haven’t discovered any pictures or sculptures of Jesus that date back to the time of his life, depicting him with a beard. But there is other evidence.
As a faithful, law-abiding Jewish man, Jesus likely would have had a beard except in unusual circumstances. Jesus would have carefully taken care of his beard by putting oil on it, and he would have refrained from clipping the corners. A beard with uncut corners signified to everyone that Jesus was Jewish. It was an outward sign of his obedience to God’s Law.
Then, there’s this prophecy in Isaiah 50:6 where the servant of the Lord is speaking, and we rightly identify that these words God gave to the prophet Isaiah represent the future Savior Jesus. He says, “I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting.”
This, by itself, is not conclusive evidence because prophecy is not always meant to be fulfilled in its specific details. It is noteworthy, nonetheless.
Similar to Isaiah 53, the classic prophecy revealing the crucifixion of Jesus to pay for the sins of the world, Isaiah 50 describes the suffering servant of the Lord.
Jesus offered himself. All of himself. All of his life. All of his love. All of his pain and all of his body including his beard. He gave it all as the payment for your sins, so that you will never need to wonder, “Have my sins really been forgiven?”
The suffering and death of Jesus promises this: Jesus’ payment is more than enough. With every bead of sweat, every drop of blood, and every hair on his head and whisker of his beard, Jesus gave everything so that nothing separates you from the love and forgiveness of God.
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank you for offering yourself—your everything—in suffering and death, so that nothing at all can ever separate me from the love and forgiveness of God. Fill my soul with peace from that promise, and pour out from my heart that same forgiveness to share with others. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Read the prophecy in Isaiah 50:4-10. The servant of the Lord is speaking, so these words are applied to Jesus. When he says “the Sovereign Lord” he is referring to his Father. What enables Jesus to be so committed to such pain? How can you do the same?