Saturday, November 30, 2013

What Did Jesus Really Look Like?

I'm reading a book called Contentment: The Secret to a Lasting Calm by Richard A. Swenson, MD.  I was really struck by one of the chapters called, "Jesus and Contentment," where Dr. Swanson discusses the fact that Jesus didn't really have a lot of needs--and maybe that's why He was so content. 

There are so many "needs" that were covered in this chapter-"needs" that Jesus really didn't need-assurance, advice, things, information, shelter, money, respectable parents, a luxurious birthing suite, a respectable upbringing, living on the "right" side of the tracks, prestigious schools, good connections, and even food and water (yes, he needed food and water, but He controlled His need and would take food only under acceptable conditions). 

He needed clothing and sandals, but "needed" only the simplest of those things (He WAS fully man remember---and most men just grab whatever is on the floor and think they look fine), and those things are never really described to us.

But here's what really stood out to me--that Jesus didn't need to be handsome and well-groomed. Isn't it stunning that we know nothing about what Jesus looked like? How is this possible? It's not as if the Bible refuses to describe its characters. Saul was handsome and a head taller than everyone else. David was handsome and ruddy with a fine appearance. Absalom was more handsome than anyone in Israel, with no blemish from head to foot, and hair that was to die for. Zaccheus was short and had to climb a tree to see Jesus.


But the Messiah, the Savior of the world, God among us? We know nothing of His appearance except a brief veiled (and unflattering) description in Isaiah 53. Are you ever curious? Was He handsome or plain? What color were His eyes? We assume He had a beard, but was it trimmed or long? Was His hair curly or straight, long or short? How tall was He? Was He muscular? Given that He is the central character in all of history,it is strange that we know so little about these things.

He goes on to say that perhaps the reason so little is known of His physical description is that if we had known of it, perhaps many (or most?) of us would have been more focused on His looks than His message. We have an unquenchable desire to know everything about anyone famous, yet it is those precise details that we obsess about that God, perhaps purposely, leaves out. Could it be that we should be less interested in the outward appearance of people than a person's internal character? And what does that mean for ourselves? Do we focus too much on our outward appearance and our "needs"? Are any of those "needs" more of a "want?"

This chapter is so much more rich than what I've included here, as is the book. I've only touched on the part that really touched me (so far---that's only Chapter 2!). I've always found it interesting that Jesus is depicted as slight of build, brown hair and caucasion, if not slightly tanned from the constant exposure to the sun. And blue eyes? Probably not Nordic. More Middle-Eastern in looks. Who knows, maybe he was a big burly man, like the fishermen! I suppose we need to have that visual to make Him more real to us, but it's simply food for thought today...isn't it interesting that we really don't know anything about His looks? And, yes, I've purposely left out pictures today.


Blessings Along the Path,
Mary

Song of the Day:
This Kingdom (Hillsongs)
Link to view the book:
Contentment: The Secret to a Lasting Calm (Richard Swenson, MD)

Video Pick: (Part 1: You can find Part 2 on Youtube, once you view Part 1)
Consistently Content (Joyce Meyer)

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