Yesterday I was having lunch with a good friend and neighbor. I had a wonderful time with her and was really grateful for some good girl time. After a delicious lunch, we went to the mall to walk around a bit. The first store next to the entrance was Deseret Books, a Mormon book store. We spent a good half hour walking around looking at all the books, pictures, videos, scripture studies, etc... And on all the walls were beautiful pictures and paintings of Mormon temples and Joseph and Emma Smith and Jesus Christ. After a long time in the store, I turned to Shea and said, " something that bothers me a little bit is that all of these pictures of Jesus depict him as a very Caucasian man".
The appearance of Christ shouldn't be too important to us. After all, of all the writers of the Gospels, not one of them provided a physical description of Christ. The only description that I can think of comes from a prophecy in Isaiah, "He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him" (53b). And his physical appearance doesn't matter a bit to his earthly ministry and the impact that his life and death has had on mankind, and has had on us.
I haven't been able to stop thinking about those Jesus' on the walls of the book store. I love to imagine Christ holding children and shepherding sheep with a beautiful face. But how can he look like this man? He should actually look more like the pictures of the terrorists we see in the news, shouldn't he? I mean....he actually was Middle Eastern, after all, not European. I was expressing my frustration to my sister last night over the phone. She reminded me that our judeo-christian culture illustrates him in much the same way:
Some British scientists and Israeli archeologists have constructed what they think the face of Jesus may have looked like based on their extensive research:
It doesn't matter to me at all what Jesus looked like, and I have never really put much thought to it or wondered much. I think that is why it bothered me yesterday to see so many faces of Jesus, when not one of them could have been right (or remotely close, actually).
Nevertheless, one day we will see that glorious face and I know we will recognize it immediately. I do long for that day.