Friday, January 9, 2009

Looking Beyond Looks

Here is a traditional picture of Jesus. He is always shown looking handsome, and gentle. His beard is closely cropped to his face. The second picture again depicts Jesus as gentle and attractive. He is clean cut and attractive with a closely cropped beard.

This picture is an actual model created by BBC scientists as to what they believe Jesus, or a Jewish man from biblical days would actually look like. Notice how much wider his face is, and his nose is also fuller.

Obviously, this is Osama Bin Laden. But he is a middle eastern man. His beard is long and not trimmed closely. There is nothing "attractive" about him to us. Of course, we have been shown his picture many times in conjunction with his terrorist activities.

This is a picture of a modern Jewish man I got off of Google (where I pulled all these images). I picked him because, although not unattractive, his beard is long and not closely cut.

My question to you is this. Could you love Jesus if he looked like any of the men pictured besides the top 2 images of the "commercial" Jesus. Could you love an average, plain or even ugly Jesus? We live in a society where we judge people by their appearance. But Isaiah 53:2 says "He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him."

1 Samuel 16:7 says "But the LORD said to Samuel, 'Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.'"

God judges by the heart. Jesus had a pure and perfect heart. But, what about his outward appearance? We assume he was physically attractive, but that is "perfection" to us - a perfect face, perfect hair, perfect body. But what if Jesus was ugly, would you still love him? What if he was just "plain" looking?
I mean no disrespect to God or Jesus, but I'm pondering today. Because I do look at the outward appearance. Wouldn't it be a wonderful piece of irony if Jesus was ugly intentionally, so that we'd have to look at the heart?

Chatty Kelly


Dorothy Champagne said...

It's a hard world we live in. I teach my kids that they need to take the time to dress nicely and comb their hair and look good because that's how people will see you. And then turn around and tell them that they shouldn't look at others like that - that they should accept people no matter how they look. It's so contradictory, yet God teaches to look at the heart so that's what we're sticking to. Thanks for visual reminder!

Greg C said...

Wow this is a hard question to answer. I wish that people would not judge by outward appearance but I know they/I do. It is a hard thing to get past. I have seen those first three pictures of Jesus before and Although I would like to picture Jesus as one of the first two I understand that the third is most likely closer to the the real picture. However, that is closer to what people looked liked back in those times. He would stand out today if he looked like that just as I would stand out if I lived back in that same time. I still try to look my best and think that people should not judge by the way a person looks but should also should not try to stand out by being odd.

Melanie said...

You bring to mind the Phillip Yancey book, "The Jesus I Never Knew."

God's girl said...

Kelly- the heart of this post is gorgeous. You have taken us to a place today that requires us to challenge our hearts and motives of looking at people.

I appreciate this so much, because I grew up being judged by my looks. I am overweight, and not the most attractive person. When people see through that, I know that they are seeing Jesus in me...

Blessings to you, my friend, and may God honor your transparency in your post today!

The Patterson 5 said...

Wow, I never thought about this before. I know Jesus most definately does not look like his pictures. I am sure he will be beautiful to us... due to the love. I am thinking about how much love I felt for my children seconds after they were born and let's face it, they probably were not all that pretty... but to me they were the most beautiful beings I'd ever seen....due to the love. Thanks for reminding us to look at the heart instead of the package!

B His Girl said...

This is a verrrry interesting post Kelly. Jesus was regular and ordinary in appearance it seems according to the scripture verse you shared. I don't think we 'love' anyone according to their looks. We can be attracted to them and think we do. Eve's eyes got her into trouble and our natural ones do too. We can like someone because they fit our mold. How many people, even 'church going' people, see those pictures of the 'perfect looking Jesus' now and don't really love Him. Jesus said this about loving Him:
"If you love me, you will obey what I command. John 14:15
He has to open our eyes to really see Him. I walked past Him for many, many years not giving Him the time of day. When we really see Him, the mirror is turned back on us. This is a special verse to me:

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face . Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 1 Cor 13:12
Face to Face is going to be WOW!
Good eye and heart post checkup today Kelly. I pray God will give Him glimpes of Himself for your book.

Patrice said...

Very challenging question that you have throw at us today!

It is a shame that people tend to look past the most important part of a person, their inside, their heart and what make a person who they truly are.

In our day and age, looks are such an important part of our culture and it is ashame that we and others tend to look at the outside and not the inside of people.

In my thought process, I love Jesus for who he is and what he has done for me. When we think of others we love, friends, family and the like, I also love them, not for their looks, but for who they are, so I do not think apperance makes to much of a difference to me!

Vashti said...

I GOT IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thankyou so much, the boy LOVED the cars! Joe got one of the collection for Christmas and now you have sent some more, he was so excited. Thankyou for doing this for me it really is such a blessing.

On Purpose said...

Way to take Jesus out of the box today!! Woo-hoo...this excites this girls heart.

Sue J. said...

Faith is about believing in what we don't see. I'm actually uncomfortable when I see a depiction of Jesus, even though it does remind me that He was a real man as much as He was the real God. But seeing Jesus' image (picture) doesn't make me believe in Him any more than I do.

But, I come from the "looks are not important" camp as I wasn't an attendee of such a camp, as it were. If anything, I have the opposite problem--the all-too-beautiful are the ones I wonder what lies beneath. And I have to be careful about judging by looks there.

Always a post topic to get the pot stirring!

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

We have a "coffee table book" about the images of Jesus that my daughter had to purchase for a class at a Christian college. The historical images change, of course. It's really interesting. I get your point. I actually prefer not to think of him as the first three.

Mocha with Linda said...

This is so weird. I was just thinking about this a day or to ago and that verse in Isaiah.

I suspect that didn't necessarily mean He was ugly, but just that He wasn't a "hunk".

Great thoughts to ponder.

Dena said...

I would like to think I would still accept him as much as I do based on the first 2 images. I try very hard to not judge people based on appearance because I have had it done to me and it hurts and it's unfair. But this is definitely something to think about. hhhhmmmm.....

Kay Martin said...

I love this post!!! You got us thinking again.

Many years ago when I was coming out of my closed fixed religion into relationship with the Lord I recall a day when I saw a man who was so unattractive. He was dressed in a way that made his large stomach peek out of the bottom of his shirt; his hair was unruly; he has a snarled expression; he was particularly clean, etc.

I sighed and had a little quiet conversation with the Lord and suddenly the thoughts that came to my mind were repromanding and in soon order I realized how dear that man was to the Lord. I repented from my judgment and that was a life changing day for me. The encouraging part of that was to sense the love and knowing our Father has that goes down beyond the surface.

Thank You Lord for now seeing as I us "get it" we pray.

Truth4thejourney said...

This is a good point, Kelly. To me I don't care what he looks like. Because I've never actually met him I don't really have an image in my head of his looks. Guess that's to my advantage.

God's ways are so different from our ways! I wish we could get past those physical appearances and just look into peoples hearts, but that would mean we would actually have to get to know them a bit. Not so easy to do in our fast-paced lives!

Shabby Olde Potting Shed said...

I've never really perceived Jesus to look like any of the pictures portrayed; because no one knows how he looks. I've always kind of imagined Him to look like the shroud of Turin image. (just me)
Ya know how you can look at a beautiful, beautiful woman but if when she speaks, ugliness comes out through her words.. -- it instantly changes her appearance to us? Least it does for me. She can go from beautiful to "ugly," in a heartbeat because of her "rotten fruit." That's what I think of when I wonder about Jesus' appearance. He's pure, and thee absolute expression of LOVE. I think that's what we'll see. PURITY and LOVE. Nothing else will matter.

Edie said...

We all judge by outward appearances to a degree. He gave us an eye for beauty because He has an eye for beauty. But we are not supposed to judge by it.

I have wondered many times what my own response would be if I had seen Jesus with my eyes instead of my heart. Good question Kelly.

sailorcross said...

This is a very challenging thought!! You have set my mind to really thinking on this!

I grew up with the phrase "pretty is as pretty does"--in another words--you can be as physically beautiful and attractive as you are born or can make yourself. But, if the words coming out of your mouth and your actions aren't "pretty", then you are instantly unattractive!!

I've seen the first two pictures of Jesus since I was a child, and I have to admit that they do come to my mind when I think of Him because they have been ingrained into my mind.

But, I always knew that they were just an artist's own portrayal of what he "thought" Jesus looked like--an image through the artist's mind.

People (me included!) do tend to make their first impression based on your looks. Why is that? Can we see into their hearts and minds through their appearance?

I don't know what Jesus looked like as a man. It is never said in the Bible--Jesus had brown hair and brown eyes. He was 5'9" with a beard.

But, He portrayed love and caring always, looking into the hearts of men for their true attractiveness.

So, I would say that looking into the heart of Jesus--looking beyond physical features--He would be the most attractive man ever!!

Thanks for reminding me not to judge "a book by its cover"!!!


Marla said...

I never judge a book by its cover. I always tell my supervisors at work when they hire people the best person for the job is usually not the one who is the best dressed or thinist. I found through the years that the good things come from the heart and don't always come through in physical appearance.

My ADHD Me said...

Hi. This is something you and I have talked about before..aka..JM and his long hair. I think it was ET that said she thought he looked like Jesus. I said he looked like a cross between Charles Manson and Jesus....unfortunately we many times do judge someone by their looks. ALSO, many times their looks DO say alot for who they are. Because of that, sometimes it is hard to see past that.
Hhhmmm...just an observation.

Mary Moss said...

We saw a special over the holidays that showed that suggested Jesus looked very much like the BBC model.

I remember one description of Jesus as being "difficult to look at." Of course I always thought it was because of the sins of the one looking into our Savior's eyes.

As always, a great post.

Bonita said...

Lots to think about. Personally, my response to that BBC model was negative, only because it is not at all how I've pictured Jesus. However, I imagine that my "picture" has been painted for me by all the pictures of Jesus I've seen through the years.

I doubt that Jesus was a looker in his physical appearance simply because of what scripture says, but I do think he was attractive. Have you ever met someone who wasn't physically attractive and yet they were so full of life and love that it made them beautiful? That's how I see him.

My very favorite pictures of Jesus were some I saw a couple of years ago. It was series of Jesus laughing with children. I thought that artist captured the personality that I think of when I think of Jesus. If anyone can point me in the direction of those pictures again please do!