Saturday, March 11, 2017

What did Jesus look like?

Rainbow Jesus, painting
named by my youngest child.
       Our culture influences the way artists illustrate Jesus. But, what did Jesus really look like? Should this be important to us? I have been an artist for many years and what I have discovered about people is that they have an emotional need to see something of themselves in Jesus. People seem to relate to Christ better, when He is of their own race. Some people in our culture cannot even be satisfied with appearances. They need God to also be of their own gender as well. How far should an illustrator go when creating a representational illustration of Christ?
       I have painted Jesus many times both as a white man and as a black man. But when I think of Jesus, myself, I don’t seem to think so much about “how” His flesh looked at all. I think mostly of His heart and His kindness. For me, as an artist, the literal portrait of Christ must have something gentle in the eyes. If the eyes aren’t right, then the portrait is not successful.
       Perhaps there is something to be said of the old quote, “The eyes are a window to the soul.” What do you think?
Isaiah's prophetic vision of Christ -  "He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted." Isaiah 53: 2-4

Revelations description of His appearance in the second coming - "I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God." Revelation 19:11-13

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