We May Be Worshiping The Wrong Jesus, Too....
Yeah .. Him .. in the picture to the right, there. The picture is called the "Sallman Head", after its painter, Warner Sallman. He painted it in this form, what's variously reported as 1935 or 1940.
It's also been referred to as "The American Jesus". Which, of course, He wasn't.
Matthew reports Jesus' "arrest" in the Garden of Gethsemane; in his report, he states that Judas had arranged to identify Jesus by giving Him a kiss. Well, I'd imagine He would have been well-known and easily identifiable, but then, neither the CNN Mideast Bureau nor the Jersualem Times were around yet, so it's safe to assume they didn't know Who He was.
So Judas planted the infamous kiss.
Now, let's think about what folks in that area looked like, then and there in history. There are quite a few races of folks, today, that we can identify by sight. Aside from WASP's and Black people, we can usually tell someone of Arabian extraction ... or someone from the Orient, normally even Vietnamese from others in that area ... many times native Americans ... folks from India or Pakistan ... and we could probably pick out a Mayan person.
I'm sure you can think of some, too.
So, what about Jews, 2000 years ago?
We hear the term "anti-Semitic" and know it applies to people who are anti-Jewish, but it's a lot more than that. Merriam-Webster tells me that Semites are "..a member of any of a number number of peoples of ancient southwestern Asia, including the Akkadians, Phoenicians, Hebrews, and Arabs." Hence, Anti-Semitic would be Anti-Arab, as well.
I find that interesting.
So, what did Jesus really look like? Read this excerpt from a Popular Mechanics article from 2002:
"An answer has emerged from an exciting new field of science: forensic anthropology. Using methods similar to those police have developed to solve crimes, British scientists, assisted by Israeli archeologists, have re-created what they believe is the most accurate image of the most famous face in human history." So .. what did they suggest? Well, here's what the experts came up with, and it's nothing like the image we've probably been carrying around in our heads.
I'm not an expert in how handsome men are, but that doesn't sound like the Man in the Sallman Head, above. It sounds more like the Guy on the left. A Guy I can sure identify with.
Then there's Philippians, which says He took upon Himself the form of a servant, having made Himself of no reputation.
I'm getting the idea that where He was, when He was, He was very much an unexceptional Man, in appearance.
As to Himself, He was tempted. Hebrews 4 says it this way: let us hold fast our confession. " ... we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin." And in this verse, the word "all" means "each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything". So if you can think of a way to be tempted, He's experienced it.
That would include a number of temptations that overtake people, that we'd rather not think had been a temptation to God in the flesh. But the Bible says otherwise, and it certainly trumps what we'd "rather".
Last December, a good friend invited Peg & I, along with two other couples, over for a pre-Christmas dinner. Our friend has a 6 year old (or thereabouts) son who, when told we were coming over for a get-together, asked his dad "Are you going to play dirty Jesus?"
Of course, he meant dirty Santa. But that struck a real chord with my friend, who passed that along to the gang. And it brings up the fact that Jesus walked around in the hot sun in the mideast summers, wearing sandals and a robe, and I don't think where He was staying had an en suite for daily bathing activities.
Ever heard a preacher say "He was fully man as though He were not God at all .. and ...."? If they're anywhere near close in that description, you know all the personal issues He faced.
So if you can picture how we would look, after following Him around for a few days, or maybe three years, you can probably form an opinion on how Jesus, Himself, looked.
The Bible tells us a lot about what His physical appearance wasn't. And the inner temptations He faced, since they're the same ones you and I do.
Maybe a little boy's description wasn't that far off. If that's the case, I think I like my Savior that way.