Today’s blog post came from a reader question: what did Jesus look like?
Artist portrayals of Jesus can be found all over. The most popular seems to depict a long, haired man with blue eyes. This is inaccurate. Much of the art we see was influenced by the cultural styles of the individual artists during their time period.
Recently our pastor discussed this topic at church so I was excited to get to use some of what he mentioned in this blog. From what I have heard, and read, Jesus would have looked and dressed like most other Jewish men at the time. Since most Jews at the time had darker (Middle Eastern) skin tones with dark eyes and hair, I would assume Jesus did as well. His hair was short and he had a beard. The book of Isaiah tells us that Jesus would not be beautiful. In Isaiah 53:2 the Bible says, “He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.” He was very plain in appearance.
We assume Jesus dressed like other Jewish men at the time, but the Bible says very little about his clothing. He most likely wore a knee length tunic (made of one piece) with a mantle over it. Jewish men were considered naked without their mantle/ outer garment. A mantle has been described as much like a wrap or poncho. Some describe it as a long, outer tunic. The mantle was long and could be worn down or tied up when working. Jewish men typically wore fringes much like tassels in keeping of God’s commandments (Numbers 15:38, 38; Deuteronomy 22:12) along the hem of their mantle. The mantle/ outer tunic was usually worn with an outer belt (an inner belt was sometimes worn as well) to hold the garments in place to enhance mobility. On His feet were most likely wooden sandals held in place with straps of leather.
I do not think God wanted us to focus much on the appearance of Jesus, but rather on His message and sacrifice. I think if Jesus had been beautiful or extremely well-dressed, people would have focused too much on His appearance. If the Bible had given much more detail on His clothing, people might put too much emphasis on the style of that time period rather than to focus on modesty which is the main thing God desires for our dress.
I Samuel 16: 7, “for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.”