The first time I actually remember “seeing” Jesus was in a country church when I was very little. My family went there most Sundays. The church didn’t even have indoor plumbing in the early 70’s. It was what you’d call “quaint.”
Not long ago, I visited that little church. It’s still there. The “new” bathroom, built around 1973, looks a little worn now.
The sanctuary has not changed at all. It seems a little smaller than it used to, but I think everything is still original. Even the carpeting looks the same.
At the front of the sanctuary is that large picture of Jesus, the one I remember so well. He’s standing there, holding his fingers up in a sort of peace sign. He has long reddish hair, pale skin, and very blue eyes. He is wearing a white sash. I’ve often wondered where this image of Jesus came from. Surely no one could really know what he looks like.
Many pictures show Jesus with the long hair. He’s always very tall. He’s even a little effeminate looking. When we see paintings of Jesus during his trial and crucifixion, we notice how thin he is.
If we were to look a little deeper and base our knowledge on what we actually know, we can get a clearer and better picture of what Jesus actually looked like.
Now, not everyone believes the Bible is the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I do. I believe the whole thing was inspired by God and everything in there is truth. The only reason people have issues with the Bible is because they don’t want to give up control of their lives. But here I go again. I digress.
If we look in the Bible, we find out a few things about Jesus that might lead us to a clearer picture of what he looked like.
First, we know he was a carpenter. In those days, carpenters worked with big heavy pieces of wood and they also worked with heavy stones. There were no fancy tools to speak of, and Jesus would have spent long hours lifting heavy wood and stone, cutting down trees by hand, chiseling large pieces of stone, and so on. Let’s just say he had to be a strong man and was probably an imposing physical specimen with a construction worker’s physique. Although he was most likely a meek person who kept his physical strength under control, I doubt people thought they could mess with him much.
Along the same lines, Jesus probably wouldn’t have had long hair. It would have definitely been a work hazard. Furthermore, Paul talks about long hair being “shameful” in Corinthians. Jewish men of the day did not have long hair.
Throughout the New Testament, it is mentioned several times that Jesus blended into a crowd. We can only surmise that Jesus could even be considered ordinary looking. I doubt very much that a person wearing white robes with long-flowing hair could be unnoticed, even in a large crowd of people. Indeed, Isaiah said that Jesus “had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.”
When you think about it, a person like Jesus who people needed to relate to would be as ordinary looking as the rest of us. What if he had movie-star good looks? What if females followed him around screaming like he was Elvis? I doubt they could have kept their minds and hearts focused on his ministry if he was handsome. Men would have been jealous and envious of him. It just wouldn’t have worked.
The Bible is very clear about Jesus’ appearance upon his return. Instead of me telling you all about it, why don’t you look it up? It’s in Revelation.
It’s the stuff of great special effects, I tell you.