Through the centuries, many renown artists such as Michelangelo, Leonardo DaVinci, and Rembrandt, just to name a few have attempted to paint how Jesus might have looked... soft features and long flowing hair, often with delicate features, others depicting Jesus as a rough, rugged carpenter from the town of Nazareth.
Every culture has a picture or image that seems to shape and conform "their image" of Jesus to their race, culture, and ethnic background - a black Jesus, a white Jesus, Chinese, Indian, Hispanic; almost every conceivable portrait or image of Jesus imaginable. It is only fitting and reasonable to understand how everyone wants to "paint Jesus" through the lens of their own culture, race, background, as well as their own preferences and interpretation of how Jesus probably looked.
I say probably, because as any bible scholar well knows, the bible has very little to say about "how Jesus really looked"; at least not in terms that an artist or sculptor could use as a blue- print or schematic for drawing or painting Jesus with any degree of accuracy or certainty. What color were Jesus' eyes? Hair? Was He a big man, or was He thin and of sleight build? These questions, and thousands of others like it are not found in the pages of scripture; in fact; the silence is deafening!
The glaring absence of detail concerning the outward appear- ance of Jesus Christ throughout the bible should cause any serious student of the bible, any Christian for that matter to ask the obvious question: Why is the bible silent on the details of how Jesus looked? Why did the apostles, Peter, James, and John; who knew Christ so intimately not mention the way Jesus looked? Why is the bible silent on such an obvious matter as to "how Jesus looked"?
There may be more than one reason(there usually is), but if we believe the bible is the "inspired word of God"; than we may rightly conclude that whatever the reason - it was by design, and no accident.
Could it be that our Heavenly Father in His' sublime wisdom knew that it was in our best interests, to keep the details and specifics surrounding Jesus' outward appearance out of the Bible? Knowing that God is the true author of the Holy Bible, we may answer in the affirmative; but that still doesn't answer the real question of "why God deliberately chose to leave Christ's physical appearance as a mystery and enigma for those of us who would eventually read and study the works and life of Christ through the pages of the Bible.
Adding to this riddle concerning Jesus appearance is the fact that no secular or historical records exist which would shed light on how Christ really looked... mere coincidence? I think not. How is it that the most influential and written about person of all time could leave so little evidence or clues as to what He looked like? Surely, if God had desired, we would know exactly how Jesus looked, in minute detail - down to His' height, weight, and shoe size.
Clearly, God thought such particulars were not necessary for us to be privy to; and again we must ask ourselves the obvious Why did God leave the details of “what Jesus looked like” out of the scriptures - out of the archives and pages of recorded history?
I offer you the reader, the following explanation as to "why" God would leave us to wonder and try to "imagine" what Jesus looked like... keep in mind, this is only my opinion; but I think it makes sense - and will let you the reader decide.
Simply stated, I believe that had God left us with a vivid, description of how Jesus really looked; from His' classic Jewish features(the nose, olive skin, etc), to His' hair color and length; along with a myriad of other human characteristics; the inevitable would follow:
As surely as day follows night: the rush to "look like" Jesus would sweep through the Church faster than you can say, " I want to be like Jesus".
Yes, dear friends we are that carnal, that quick to take the path of least resistance... hey, "looking like Jesus" has got to be easier than "acting like Jesus"... right? And while many denominations and churches today have tried to figure out "how" Jesus would dress and look today(man's idea of holiness); the results are just another example of "modern day Pharisism". As silly as it may sound, if we knew what Jesus looked like, many of us would do anything and everything to look just like Him!
Can't you just see thousands, no - millions of Christians running to and fro like clones or mirror images of the King... Yes, looking like Jesus would replace the goal of "being and acting like Jesus"!
Most would agree that acting like Christ, being gentle, kind, loving, compassionate,etc; is far more important than trying to look like Jesus, even if we did know what He really looked like (which we don't). So it is no small wonder that God in His' loving providence saw fit to spare us the problems we humans would be faced with if given the choice between looking like Jesus, or acting like Him.
God chose to give us a picture of Himself through the person of Christ that demonstrated His holy divine attributes and char- acter... but, disallowed the details of how He looked while here as a man among men. God's deliberate portrayal of Jesus in terms of His' divine nature and holy character, while leaving us few clues as to how He looked after the flesh was for our own good.
The way Jesus acted was the picture God left us with...
God wants us to act holy, and to be holy, to be like Him in every way... to be conformed to His very image. Looking like God is an impossibility, a foolish and unobtainable thing for any of us to achieve; ah - but acting or being like Him, well God has made that possible. We may never truly know this side of Heaven what God actually looks like, until we see Jesus face to face in glory, but we can "see" God through the eyes of faith, and see Him in our brothers and sisters in Christ! Hallelujah... Amen. The greatest compliment you can pay another Christian is to tell them that you "see Jesus in them". Let us remember the words of Paul the apostle to the
To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27
Something to consider...
One day while I was driving in my truck, I noticed a bumper sticker on the vehicle directly in front of me; I pulled up close so I could read the message - it had these words: I don't have a problem with Christianity, it's Christians I can't stand!
It hit me like a ton of bricks... I had to admit that there was a lot of truth to that simple, yet biting message about Christians. I have often said that, "A bad testimony is worse than no testimony!" The painful truth is that many of us who claim to be Christians, really shouldn't be carrying that Jesus banner so high, if our walk is so low... we're not talking about perfection here friends - I'm just saying Christians should "walk the talk", and live our lives above reproach.
There is another bumper sticker that reads: I'm not perfect, just forgiven! I agree wholeheartedly... but, that is no excuse for those who refuse to live holy lives, who live "like the devil", and yet claim to be Christians. There is something wrong with that picture friends, and there isn't a bumper sticker or slogan in the world that can justify or defend such ungodly behavior.
As Christians we are called to follow Christ, to be Christlike; and while we may stumble and even fall at times in our journey, we are always to be striving and pressing toward the mark - that is to be like Jesus in every way. Perhaps the greatest compliment we can ever receive, is simply having someone tell us, "I see Jesus in you"...
For the world "looking like Christ" is not about how we look on the outside, our hair length, or what Bible translation we may use(the Church debates these issues); but rather how we act towards them, our love, compassion, kindness - in a word: our "character". In the end, the most important question we as Christians should be asking is not " Do I look like Jesus”, but rather this: “Do people see Jesus in me?”
When the world looks at the Church, at Christians - they should see Jesus, which only makes sense when you think about it... after all, we are His' body.
This short story, is just one of many stories God allowed me to share with readers in my first book, PEARLS of WISDOM. I hope you enjoyed the small pearl of wisdom contained in this amusing, yet inspiring story.
You may read more of these stories, and other things God gave me to write about by simply going to Amazon.com. The book is available in paperback or in a Kindle format...
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I love God, people, and all of God's creation. For me there is always something or someone to write about...