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What did Jesus look like?

While it may be easy to find images of Jesus everywhere, the Bible doesn't actually give us a physical description of what Jesus looked like when He walked the earth as a man. The closest thing Scripture provides is a note in Isaiah 53:2b, wherein the coming Savior is described as being quite ordinary in appearance: "He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him." As an ordinary-looking person, Jesus would have the appearance of any other Jewish man of the time.

Isaiah's prophecy proclaimed that the suffering Servant would be born from lowly conditions and would have no outward signs of royalty or significance. The Savior's true identity would only be discernable by those whose eyes were opened by their faith.

Another specific description Isaiah provides is what Jesus looked like after He had been beaten, whipped, and appallingly abused in every way on the day of His crucifixion. "His appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness" (Isaiah 52:14). This disturbing imagery lets us know the extent and cruelty of the scourge He endured (Matthew 26:67; 27:30; John 19:1-3). When it was over, Jesus no longer looked human; His appearance was so horrific that people looked upon Him in astonishment.

Most images of Jesus that have been produced through art and photography are not accurate. The portrayals of Jesus as a good-looking European/Caucasian man with beautiful shoulder-length hair and a nicely-groomed beard are totally false. If we consider His ethnicity, Jesus was a Jew, so He very likely had dark skin, dark eyes, and dark hair. And, according to Isaiah, He was no better looking than any other man.

What can we take from the fact that Scripture doesn't give us a picture perfect description of Jesus?

Apparently, these details were not important for us to know. If Jesus' specific appearance were necessary for future believers to know, then surely His disciples—Matthew, Peter, and John, with whom He'd spent three years—would have reported His physical description in their written works. Yet, not even His own brothers, James and Jude, provided any information on what Jesus looked like physically.

What IS important is that we recognize Jesus had no particular beauty or notable outward appearance, lest people become attracted to Him for that reason. And it is significant that we understand the severity of the abuse Jesus endured, because He endured it for US—for OUR salvation.

TL;DR

The Bible doesn't give us a physical description of what Jesus looked like when He walked the earth as a man. The closest thing Scripture provides are two notes in Isaiah. Isaiah 53:2b tells us that the coming Savior "had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him." And Isaiah 52:14 describes the Servant after His scourging on the day of His crucifixion: "His appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness." This description helps us fully understand the severity of the abuse Jesus endured, because He endured it for US—for OUR salvation.

By: Catiana Nak Kheiyn

Cat is the web producer and editor of 412teens.org. She loves audiobooks, feeding the people she cares about, and using Christmas lights to illuminate a room. When Catiana is not writing, cooking, or drawing, she enjoys spending time with her two kids, five socially-awkward cats, and her amazing friend-amily.

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