Will The Real Jesus Please Stand Up?

I hope this is not taken the wrong way. It is very hard for a person to remain ignorant of things today. When I say things, I mean like the paintings that we see depicting Jesus Christ and many, many other things concerning the Bible.

I have talked about this for several years now. Jesus would not have looked like most of the pictures that we see today. I preached a sermon series a couple of years ago about “The Americanized Jesus” We are  missing so much by remaining ignorant of the Hebrew/Jewish Background of Jesus and the Scriptures.

Here is a great video on the FACE of JESUS, the picture that I have shown several times in church services and sermons in the past two years.



Will the Real Jesus stand up?

Haven’t you ever wondered how Jesus really looked?  We have no photographs, no life paintings, no descriptions!  The first drawings were 500 years after Jesus.  Some relatively new research in this regard has revealed results that were quite surprising:

There was a lot of early debate about Jesus’ appearance.  Many felt since Jesus was the result of a miraculous birth, how he looked was more divine will than biology.  Others however insisted that  Jesus must have inherited his mother’s characteristics, as well as the lineage of King David, according to the prophecies.

A sculpture of Jesus by a forensic artist, Richard Neave, who studied the skeletons and DNA from first century Jerusalem.

Real Jesus Face

Matthew’s description of the events in Gethsemane offers an obvious clue to the face of Jesus…a  typical Galilean Semite. Neave acquired skulls and skeletons from near Jerusalem, the time and region where Jesus lived and preached. Using the latest technology, he reconstructed the typical face of that era.  He determined that Jesus was dark skinned with a height about 5 ft. 1 in. Since Jesus worked as a carpenter until age 30, it seemed reasonable to assume he was more muscular with a weather beaten face which would make him appear older. From Paul’s writings, he learned that short hair was the preferred style.  And from coins of that era, that Jesus hair was curly, nappy as wool. Of course, Neave only claims that it is a likely likeness.

This kind of image is strange to us because through the ages m os t artists depicted him as part of their own culture.  The familiar painting resulted from the claim of Church Fathers that Jesus must have been ideally beautiful in face and body.  For the Roman church this meant a fair haired, fair skinned Jesus, a European Jesus.

Strange Jesus Image
“The fact that he probably looked a great deal more like a darker-skinned Semite than westerners are used to seeing him pictured is a reminder of his universality,” says Charles D. Hackett, director of Episcopal studies at the Candler School of Theology in Atlanta. “And [it is] a reminder of our tendency to sinfully appropriate him in the service of our cultural values.”

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