Jesus Christ: His Intimidating Appearance
What image comes to your mind when hearing the name Jesus Christ? Some picture passive weakness. Others see those renowned images of a fair-haired, blue-eyed, feminine Anglo; images seemingly influenced by the illegitimate son of Pope Alexander VI, Cesare Borgia, a 16th century Spanish-Italian.
What image should come to mind? The answer depends on your source(s) and your desire for truth. Late-first-century writings state that Jesus Christ’s mother was Mary – a woman of Jewish descent from the lineage of Judah (Gen. 32:28; Lu. 3:23-38;). Mary’s Uncle was Aaron (Lu. 1:5, 36), a descendant of the tribe of Levi, thus establishing her Levitical ancestry while concurrently fulfilling prophecies relating to Christ’s lineage. So, Jesus was a Jew, but what would he have looked like?
We forget that occupational physiques are consistent. What does that mean? Boxers and runners have a similar body-type, as do Sumo wrestlers and linebackers. Jesus worked construction throughout his life. Have you ever looked at the hands and forearms of a carpenter? Remember to take into consideration that first-century carpenters would have used manual tools for every task. What would a first-century carpenter’s physique look like?
Ancient inspired writings state that the Christ would have no beauty or majesty – no physical attractions, nor desirable beauty as defined by the world (Isa. 53:2). This is affirmed by the idea that Christ’s appearance would not have impeded his mission, because “All that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world (1 Jo. 2:16).”
But Jesus Christ’s appearance would have certainly been intimidating. A man of no physical beauty with a probable lean physique that opposed gluttony, developed and weathered by a long profession of manual carpentry.
Why “intimidating”? Consider visiting a middle-eastern market occupied by a multitude of shoppers that form a diverse crowd. The market is operated by shopkeepers experienced in security, crowd control and rioting. A man enters the market area and begins to violently destroy the shop-keeper’s booths, tables and merchandise. The man continues his rampage by crashing cash registers to the floor. He drives away scores of shoppers while shouting bible passages – without receiving physical retribution from a single business owner (Matt. 21).
Whether you knew him or not, Jesus would have been a man that you wouldn’t have wanted to mess with. Passive weakness? Does Jesus Christ look different now?