When I look at the portrayals of
Christ which have been produced
during the course of
Church history, I presume that they are
declarations of love because they present
the Lord in romanticized physical
beauty. He is depicted with cherry-red
lips, delicate feminine skin tones, and
in silk robes woven with gold thread.
Yet what did the Messiah really look
like? Today nobody knows because the
oldest portrayal of Christ is from 375 AD
and is thus not an eyewitness account.
Although He is the Son of God, the
Gospels suggest a more rustic figure
of Yeshua (Jesus) in keeping with His
revolutionary style, as He overturned
the tables of the money changers in the
Temple courts. His disciples followed
a radical leader who said that He had
not come to bring peace but a sword
(Matthew 10:34); they were zealots
and sons of thunder (Mark 3:17); and
Peter was also known as Bar-Jonah
(Matthew 16:17)—a rebel who reached
for his sword when Jesus was arrested.
It also fits in with the picture of a
revolutionary that Jesus allowed John
to baptize Him, the man who, clothed
in camels’ hair, called on the people to
repent and denounced publicly the infamous
deeds of King Herod Antipas,
which cost him his head. Jesus also
denounced Herod as a fox (Luke 13:32)
and warned people prone to materialism
that they could not serve God and
mammon (Matthew 6:24). He even presents
the people with an ultimatum, that
in order to follow Him they have to—
if necessary—hate father and mother
Jesus put across anything but a soft,
comfortable gospel. He was only gentle
and mild when He stepped in for the
outcasts and healed the sick; in all other
situations He was a firebrand.
The Romans tolerated prostitution
and drugs, but not criticism of
the state. Yet like Elijah, Jesus spoke
out against the unrighteousness of
the state and religious establishment.
Jesus knew the cost in turbulent Jerusalem;
He knew Pontius Pilate had
sent thousands of Jews to crucifixion.
Jesus was and is anything but a soft,
pathetic Savior, for one day He will
“rule the nations with a rod of iron”
The beautiful image of Jesus
that we carry in our hearts
is simply a sign of our love for
Him. However, He fits in better
with the Haganah (the pre-state
Jewish army in Palestine) than
in the Vatican.
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