Ok, so we all know what the Hollywood and Sunday School Jesus look like – pretty much the same white guy with the gentle, endearing smile and the long flowing hair.
Well, forget that image. Three things we are pretty certain are not true about our modern idea of the physical looks of Jesus of Nazareth:
1. Jesus did not have long hair. Otherwise the apostle Paul would have had to qualify his statement to the Corinthian church:
Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him…? – 1 Corinthians 11.14, ESV
2. Jesus was not European white. He was from the ancient mediterranean, which meant that he most likely had dark olive skin.
3. By today’s standards he was not tall nor especially attractive. In fact there was nothing about him physically that would cause him to really stand out from the crowd. Isaiah the prophet said of him:
…he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him… – Isa. 53:2, ESV
From studying skeletal remains from the 1st Century, archaeologists have concluded that the average male of Christ’s time was barely over 5 feet tall (5’1″) and weighed in at about 110 lbs.
For more details, check out Justin Taylor’s fascinating post.