The other day I saw a familiar painting of "Jesus" that made me stop and shudder. He was very caucasian, like California surfer-boy caucasian. He had super glossy, golden flowing hair, a groomed beard that would make the hipsters jealous and to top it off, crystal clear blue eyes. While the painting itself was well done I remember thinking, "that is not Jesus, why in the world would someone depict him like that?"
I began some research and found that there are many and I mean MANY images of Jesus are out there on the internet. It is pretty crazy. Some are so far off base of what I would imagine Jesus to look like and then others seem they could be close but what's funny is, no one knows. Absolutely no one knows exactly what Jesus looks like. The bible doesn't mention his hair color (or length for that matter) or his eye color, his height or his weight, we don't know if he had freckles or a unibrow or long arms or long nose, nothing except this in Isaiah 53:2, it says,
"There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him."
We know that Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:14, "Does not the native sense of propriety (experience, common sense, reason) itself teach you that for a man to wear long hair is a dishonor [humiliating and degrading] to him." I would think that since there were such strong cultural thoughts against men with long hair that Jesus would have had short hair. Also because Jesus was a Jew we would assume he had a similar skin tone to other Semites during that time, olive colored skin. But other than those couple of things there are no real obvious visuals that we can claim and, even those things are still only assumptions about what he "should" look like.
What if Jesus looked like this:
British Scientists and Israeli archeologists got together and, using the methods of forensic anthropology, have re-created this image of Jesus believing that it is a more accurate image of Him.
What do you think?
I am so curious, are you the one thinking, "No, no that couldn't be what Jesus looked like," or the one who is thinking, "sure, that could be Jesus?"
As different as the blue eyed, golden-haired Jesus is from this swarthy looking Jesus so is the difference between the many and I mean MANY views that people have of who Jesus was and what He taught and as I sat staring at the blue-eyed Caucasian Jesus I began to wonder how watered down and far off from the truth my understanding of Him is. How far off are we all? Do you hear His teachings and get the warm fuzzy's and think, "that's nice, Jesus is always so nice?" OR do you think "I believe in bits and pieces but not all of what Jesus said?" OR do you think, "I really don't have any idea who Jesus is or what He taught because I leave that kind of thinking up to my pastor/spouse/parent/friend?"
Once again I find myself digging into my preconceived ideas of my Jesus following life and I have begun sorting through and throwing out those things that I have believed because they have been passed down to me, word of mouth like a game of Telephone, and somewhere in the process the truth was left out and something else put in it's place. That something else becoming what I was holding as truth instead of the real Truth.
Let me give you an example, quite a few years back my brother in law, who is a pastor of a church in Colorado, casually mentioned that there is no biblical proof that angels sing. I remember thinking in my head “uhhhh wrong!” and then proceeded to slink off later that night and go find the places in the bible where it says that angels do sing. I couldn’t find it. Absolutely not there. "Arghhh," I thought. Why in the world did I think that they did? Probably because there are a bazillion songs that have lyrics stating that angels do sing (i.e.. "Angels we have heard on high, sweetly singing o'er the plains...") and who knows maybe I have heard other people mentioning it as well. I don't know but I was wrong, it's not in the Bible and yet I had been holding on to that thought as if it were one of the "truths" I knew about the Bible.
Are you ok with having the wrong ideas about who Jesus is and what His teachings are? Wrong thoughts about how the Word says we should live out the stories of our lives?
Sometimes I feel like a broken record but here I go again, "read the bible, study it, meditate on it, discuss what you are learning with your friends, ask God for understanding," this is the sieve through which we can sift through and see what should be held onto as truth and what needs to be thrown out. No one else can do this for you.
As far as I'm concerned I want the real Jesus. I want to get close enough to the Him as possible so that I can start seeing more clearly who He truly is so that I can follow Him and not some surfer Jesus. I want a life spent learning how to love and establishing more of His Kingdom here among the people I come into contact with.
Are you willing to do this or are you too attached to your blue-eyed, golden-haired, Caucasian Jesus?
The thoughts in this blog remind me of a song that I co-wrote with a friend of mine, Daniel Bashta, that is on his new album "The Invisible" called "I Want It All (Just Give Me Jesus)" (yes that is my voice you hear singing with him) so I am attaching a lyric video of it for you to check out. Enjoy.