The Real Face of Jesus – What Did Jesus Look Like?

Everyone knows what Jesus looks like. He is the most painted figure in all of Western art, recognised everywhere as having long hair and a beard, a long robe with long sleeves (often white) and a mantle (often blue).

Dr. Andrew Butterworth is a Content Writer, Author, Coach, Pastor.

Images in Western art have no bearing on the historical Jesus. From the best information we have, Jesus of Nazareth grew up in a village of a hundred families. Ethnically Jewish, he wouldn’t have had long flowing hair, deep blue eyes and fair skin. Hipster Jesus is simply a fallacy.

(John Jay Cubuay/for The Washington Post)

Middle-eastern Jews in the first century were only, on average, 5ft 1in in height. In fact, most people 2000 years a go were a lot shorter than we are now. Height is based on genetics, but it is also about nutrition. Generation-on-generation we are getting taller because of better nutrition. As a Jewish peasant-artisan, Jesus wouldn’t have had access to amount of protein that is common in Western diets. Meat would have been a luxury, not a staple – so like his peers, to a modern observer, he would have been short.

And the brown eyes?

Well, definitely either brown or green. Genetically, blue eyes is a European thing and newsflash: Jesus wasn’t European (or North American!).

What about him being muscular? Well, he spent the majority of his adult life doing manual labour as a tekton, the Greek word for a skilled construction worker, carpenter or builder. Rather than having manicured delicate hands, his skin would have been weathered from outdoor work and callused.

Long hair was a no, no. Look at this passage in the Bible indicating a common cultural view at the time (1 Corinthians 11:14):

Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him

Male fashions were far more conservative, particularly among the working class.

Talking of working class, his appearance was so typically working class that towards the end of the his life Roman soldiers couldn’t tell him apart from a gathering of mainly commercial fisherman (See Matthew 26:47-9).

So what did he actually look like?

You’ve probably seen this reconstruction that medical artist Richard Neave did using skulls from Jewish males from the 1st Century. This is far more likely to be the face of Jesus than any of the one that show up in Western art:

Popular Mechanics: The real face of Jesus

For the sake of accuracy, it’s probably time for you to dump those original Da Vincis and Raphaels.


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6 replies on “The Real Face of Jesus – What Did Jesus Look Like?”

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What did Jesus really look like?

When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats:

And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

Then shall the King say to them on his right hand, Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
For I was an hungry, and you gave me meat: I was thirsty, and yyou gave me drink: I was a stranger, and you took me in:
Naked, and you clothed me: I was sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came unto me.

Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we see you hungry, and fed you? or thirsty, and gave you drink?
When did we see you a stranger, and took you in? or naked, and clothed you?
Or when did we see you sick, or in prison, and came unto you?

And the King shall answer and say to them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it to me.
Matthew 25

Very same exchange with the goats as Christ travels incognito in this material existence.

Jesus looks like many of the people of this world Today!

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