The Eye of the Beholder
Abraham Lincoln was the sixteenth president of the United States of America. He was admired by many, but he also had a multitude of critics. Recently, I read about an event in his life that intrigued me. So, I thought I'd share it with you in this lesson.

Congressman Thaddeus Stevens, a political opponent of Lincoln and one of his critics, traveled with an elderly woman from Lancaster County (which was his district) to the White House. She was on a mission of mercy. She hoped to speak to the president to ask the pardon of her son who had been condemned to die for sleeping while on duty.

After Lincoln learned the reason for her visit, he turned to the cynical Stevens, who had often assailed him for being too lenient, and asked: "Now, Thad, what would you do in this case if you happened to be President?"

Stevens knew that hundreds of his constituents were waiting breathlessly to hear the result of that elderly woman's pilgrimage to Washington. Of course, congressmen who desire to be re-elected try to carry out the desires of their constituents. Stevens did not relish the President's home-thrust, but replied that he would certainly pardon the man because of the extenuating circumstances of his case. After a moment of writing in silence, Lincoln spoke: "Well, then, here madam is your son's pardon." Her gratitude filled her heart to overflowing, and it seemed to her as though her son had been snatched from the gateway of the grave. She could only thank the President with her tears as she left his presence. However, when she and Mr. Stevens had reached the outer door of the White House she excitedly exclaimed: "I knew it was a lie! I knew it was a lie!"

"What do you mean?" asked her astonished companion. "Why, when I left my country home in old Lancaster yesterday, the neighbors told me I would find that Mr. Lincoln was an ugly man, when in fact he is really the most handsome man I have ever seen in my life!" Physically, some would describe President Lincoln's facial features as rugged. He was not a handsome man by common standards. But, when he was sympathetic and merciful, many wives and mothers no doubt found him to be very handsome indeed. As they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Such is certainly true when it comes to the Lord Jesus Christ also. Although the Scriptures do not contain an exact description of His physical appearance, we know that He was not considered to be good looking. Isaiah 53:2 reveals the following about the Messiah - "For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him." That's about as close as we get to a portrait of Jesus. The Lord would not have won "best looking in Palestine" had there been such an award. He looked like a common man. His physical looks did not draw people to Him.

Nevertheless, there are many who would describe Jesus as the most handsome Man who has ever lived. Why? Because of His wonderful attributes of mercy and grace. He loved us so much that He would die for us that we might live (I Thess. 5:10)! Is there anything more beautiful to behold than this? It's true that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Dear friends, is Jesus beautiful to you? Have you given your life to Him and obeyed His gospel? Are you living for Him daily? Is your life a beautiful thing to Him?