Darryl's thoughts on the Christian Faith, Facts, and World Events
Recently, there has been a lot of confusion about Jesus Christ's physical appearance caused by people who have a political agenda. Before we can answer this question we need to break it down into two questions: 1. What did Jesus Christ probably look like before the ascension (Acts 1: 6-11)? 2. How does the Bible describe Jesus Christ's appearance after the ascension?
Before the Ascension:
The Bible does not give much detail about Jesus appearance during Jesus' life on earth before the ascension. Here are some clues.
1. Jesus was Jewish and therefore it is reasonable to assume that Jesus looked like a Jewish man of his time. At his crucifixion he was known as the "King of the Jews." (Mark 15 and John 19)
2. Judas had to identify Jesus from among the disciples with a kiss (Matthew 26). If Jesus were 10 feet tall with green hair and purple skin, then this would not have been necessary. But, if Jesus looked like the rest of the disciples (Jewish men of a similar age range), then a simple description would not be possible.
3. Jesus was mistaken for a gardener after the resurrection but before the ascension. (John 20). This further indicates that he was not remarkable in appearance one way or another.
For more information on #2 and #3 see www.blueletterbible.org/faq/don_stewart/don_stewart_197.cfm
4. Jesus probably had a beard because that was the custom of the day but we can't be completely sure. For more information see opentheword.org/2014/10/07/did-jesus-have-a-beard/
After the Ascension:
The greatest source of confusion about Jesus' appearance comes from people who attempt to apply the Bible's descriptions of Jesus after the ascension to Jesus before the ascension.
The main description of Jesus after the resurrection comes from Revelations 1:12-17 (NKJV). I will underline the key descriptive points.
12 Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. 14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; 15 His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; 16 He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. 17 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid;I am the First and the Last.
Another description of Jesus comes from Revelation 19: 12-16
11 Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:
KING OF KINGS AND
LORD OF LORDS.
Unlike the descriptions of Jesus before the ascension, these descriptions of Jesus after the ascension are VERY remarkable. Do you think that if Jesus were to run around Israel for 33 years with "head and hair...white like wool," "eyes like a flame of fire," "feet like fine brass," a "voice as the sound of many waters", "in His right hand seven stars," and "out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword" that Judas would need to pick him out of a crowd? Do you think that children would come to him? When John saw Jesus in this form, he "fell at His feet as dead."
So, is there any reason to take the descriptions of Jesus having "hair white like wool" (describes color but does not mention texture) or "feet like fine brass," out of context, and attempt to apply them to the physical appearance of Jesus before the ascension? If so, why not also mention the two-edged sword coming out of his mouth?
The most important thing to focus on is not Jesus' appearance, but the fact that Jesus Christ is the "The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" John 1:29.
A Christian Apologist, Author, Missionary, Husband, and Father. Darryl has an MA in Christian Apologetics from Biola University (CA), an MA in TESOL from Azusa Pacific University (CA), and a BA in Political Science from Truman State University (MO).