What picture would come to your mind if someone asked you, “What do you think Jesus looked like?”
You are aware, aren’t you, that there are a lot of “pictures” of Jesus floating around? Some of the most popular and well known facsimiles of “Jesus” picture Him with long flowing locks of hair, and a handsome (almost effeminate), rather Caucasian face. In other pictures “Jesus” is more macho – almost scruffy. I’ve seen “Him” pictured in a business suit… but also there’s also a Bedouin version of “Him.” Oh and while we’re talking about “Jesus” pics there’s an African (or African American) version, an Asian version, even a Native American “Jesus” – let alone a Jewish and Arabic version of “His profile.” So what did (or perhaps better yet, does) Jesus look like anyway?
I read a prophetic passage about Jesus during “coffee with the Lord” the other day that left me wondering if a “faceless Jesus” might be a better idea… A representation of His person and countenance that permitted a vast number of different people, backgrounds, vocations, cultures and races to identify with Him. It seems to me it would be much more in keeping with the spirit of the second commandment (the one having to do with “no graven image or any likeness of anything in heaven or on earth, or under the earth) and it would allow Him to relate meaningfully to the maximum number of people in our world today! … After all we call Him “the Savior of the world!”
I mean, see if the words of this great prophetic passage fit the popular image that people have of Jesus…
“For he grew up…like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces. He was despised, and we esteemed him not.
“Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth… He was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people. And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.
“Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt. The will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities… He was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.” (From Isaiah 53)
I mean think about it… Fabulously wealthy (and hated) Zacchaeus related to Him – as did the poverty stricken woman with only two mites… Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, sought him out and a rugged ol’ fisherman left everything to follow Him… A woman of questionable character was forever impacted by His promise of “living water,” and another helpless, hopeless woman pressed through a throng to just touch the hem of his garment… The multitudes heard him gladly and the rich and famous cried “what must I do to inherit eternal life.”
I’ve got to admit it, I don’t know what He looked (or looks) like… And in some ways I like the idea of a “faceless Jesus!” But one day as His devoted follower I will know Him, for “When he appears… I will see Him as He is!” (1 John 3:2) … My Savior and Lord… and He can be your Savior and Lord too!