What Did Yeshua Look Like?

Monday, October 31, 2011 |  Ludwig Schneider

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 (Luke 14:26).

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” (Revelation 2:27).

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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