Will The Real Jesus Please Stand Up?
Next week, people all over the world are going to be celebrating the birthday of a man who lived 2000 years ago. His name is Jesus. You might have heard of him. He’s kind of a big deal. We know so much about Jesus, but do we know what he looked like?
Yes and no.
This photo has been doing the rounds for a few years now. And we’ve come to that point in the news cycle where it’s time for this “recreation” of the face of Jesus to spend 15 minutes in the spotlight.
Shock! Horror! Jesus is not a blue eyed, blonde haired, white guy who has walked straight out of a shampoo commercial! How can the Christian faith recover from this bombshell?
The answer is: quite easily. Two things worth mentioning:
1) This is not actually a picture of Jesus. It’s a forensic reconstruction of what a Jewish man in 1st century Israel would look like. So while it tells us that Jesus probably didn’t look like Chris Hemsworth, we shouldn’t rush to make it Jesus’ Facebook profile picture.
2) It does a good job of helping us get rid of the image of Jesus as being some handsome hair care model with a perpetual halo above his head. The Bible tells us that Jesus was an ordinary man. There was nothing spectacular about how he looked. And unless you’re a middle eastern Jewish man, he probably didn’t look just like you. In fact, if the image of Jesus in your head is so holy that he has virtually no connection to the human race, you’re missing out on the beauty of the incarnation. Jesus is fully God AND fully man.
The reason we celebrate Christmas is because God became human and walked among us. He didn’t put on a human shaped suit and pretend to be one of us. He didn’t scoop the brain out of a guy and and turn his head into a little God nest. God became man in every way, while retaining his full nature as God of all creation. This is a truth that never stops amazing me, and I’m grateful that this “photo” of Jesus reminds me of that.
You can read more about this picture here.