The Face of Jesus

23 03 2008

I have often heard the criticism that Jesus is wrongly portrayed as blond haired and blue eyed. I have a problem with that; I have never seen such a picture. In all my studies, in all the churches I’ve been in, of all the portrayals in art I’ve been witness to, I have never beheld such a sight. And it points us to a larger truth.

Despite nattering to the contrary, Christian imagery of Jesus is understood to be art and not photographic evidence. Just as we realize that Charlie Brown, Homer Simpson and Regis Philbin are a cartoon characters drawn with artistic license, we also understand the concept of art as imagination.

Around this time of year, that documentary always seems to resurface about what Jesus truly looked like. I’ve included a picture of a man’s face derived from the common traits of the times and region of Christ. I find it wonderfully interesting tothe face of jesus? view this molded visage and imagine all the what-ifs that go along with such a work. Of course we’re also all grown up enough to know that this scientist never suggests that this is exactly what Jesus looked like. It’s merely an archetype.

Some have suggested that Jesus was black. Some say that there is good reason why we don’t know what he looked like (so we wouldn’t worship an icon – good reasoning, no doubt). Some have suggested that Jesus looks like whatever we want Him to look like (rather post-modern in its absurdity).

Since you’ve stuck with me this far, I’ll tell you what I think. I don’t care. I really don’t. I never have needed an image of Christ to help me worship. I find the crucifix to be a penetrating icon that confronts my pride from time to time, but overall I prefer the protestant empty cross signifying resurrection. Both are just fine, mind you. I simply go with what I know.

Which reminds me of the story (I have no idea of its veracity) of the woman looking at jewelry. She mentioned to the young lady helping her that she was looking for a cross. The erudite clerk asked, “Do you want a regular cross, or one with a little man on it?”

What Jesus looked like really doesn’t concern me as much as what He looks like. Make sense? I want to know what He looks like today. We are His ambassadors, we are His living legacy. Christ-followers are the ones who portray Jesus to the world for good or bad. Too often the latter. Has anyone in your neighborhood seen Jesus today? Has anyone at your place of business or school? How ’bout your own family? Your dog is pretty astute at measuring character… has the pooch seen Christ lately? Those who say they follow are those who are given the task of showing Christ to the world. Has anyone in your world seen Him lately?

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