All of us have a picture of Jesus in our mind. Perhaps we imagine a sculpture or a painting of Jesus that we have seen. Maybe we have some childhood image from Sunday school, or perhaps view him like we see him in a movie such as “The Passion Of Christ.” Ron explains that the Bible says very little about Jesus’ physical appearance but plenty about his character and personality.
Ron Hughes is the president of FBH International and has decades of experience in Christian mass communications. Recently Ron has overseen the launching of HopeStreamRadio, a Christian internet radio ministry. One of Ron’s passions is writing and he shares this passion with others on his program, “Author Interview.“
Natural human curiosity prompts us to want to see a picture of Jesus—a realistic representation of His physical appearance. The Bible only gives one indication of Jesus physical appearance: “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him” (Isaiah 53:2 NIV). So we can be sure He did not look like those who represent Him in movies or paintings.
Clearly God had different priority when it came to revealing Jesus. We have no artistic representation or verbal description, other that what Isaiah gave and that is more about what He was not like. What God gave us was many word pictures which reveal Jesus’ personality and character—things that are much more important than the size of His nose or the length of His hair. Here are a few highlights:
Jesus was determined. He lived His life in the anticipation that, in a few short years, He would voluntarily surrender Himself to death on a Roman cross. Only on the night before His crucifixion do we get a glimpse of how difficult it was for Him to face this, but He never wavered from doing what He had come to earth to do.
Jesus was compassionate. This comes through repeatedly in the accounts in which he dealt with the problems of people in His world. He picked up the little children. He touched the lepers. He healed the sick, delivered the afflicted, fed the hungry and accepted the outcasts. His care for people, especially the disadvantaged was exemplary.
Jesus was persistent. We observe this in His interactions with the disciples. They were often slow to grasp both His purposes and His teachings. Sometimes Jesus referred to them as “you of little faith,” but He did not give up on them. He left them a legacy of experience such that, once they were empowered by the Holy Spirit, they became an unstoppable force in the world.
Jesus was humble. Though He was the Master of the disciples, He did not hesitate to serve them, even to the point of washing their feet. The greatest example of Jesus’ humility was His death on the cross for people we recognize as entirely unworthy of any gesture of love. For these He made the ultimate gesture of love.
Jesus was love—not merely loving, but love incarnate. This is His overarching characteristic. This is what made Him stand out to the people of His time. The crowds flocked to Jesus because, unlike the other leaders in their community, Jesus expression revealed love and acceptance, not condemnation and contempt. If you want to see a picture of Jesus, read the Gospels and observe with care the Man in whom all the fullness of God was revealed in a human body.
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Images Courtesy of:
Jesus The Fisherman: Veronica Moore
Jesus: Paul Fris