1. How is Jesus’ life beautiful, despite the ugliness of the cross?
Much like it is true that to have objective morality, there must be a standard by which it can be measured, I believe there must be a true standard for beauty in order for the concept of beauty to have any meaning. I believe that the Triune God is the most beautiful person in the universe or that ever could be and that any idea of beauty must be measured by him. How exactly would we do that, though?
John 1:14 says: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” I believe the concepts of glory and beauty are intertwined, and the purest illustration of that is God as displayed through the person of Jesus Christ. I believe that John tells us that as we listen to Jesus, we are hearing God: “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known (John 1:18).” How do we know true beauty; by Jesus! The more we know him, the more we know beauty. We understand and love it more, as opposed to not understanding and even hating it, as in John 1:5 and 10-11.
Jesus life is beautiful because it expresses the character of God himself, as in John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” This is the love of God; love that was on full display at the cross. Indeed, it was God’s plan to use it in a magnificent way and Jesus predicted this beautiful display of love, as in John 12:32–33: “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself. He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die.”