Jesus – Without the Halo

We’ve seen the paintings and artist’s portrayals of Christ.  Many of them show Him with a halo, signifying His divinity.  But, there is no scriptural record indicating he had a halo over his head.  Chances are the paintings are wrong on this point.  But, that may not be all they’re wrong about…

Psychologists have known for quite some time about something called the halo effect.  In the early part of the 20th century a chap by the name of Thorndike did a body of research and tests on what became known as the ‘halo effect’.  Briefly stated, the halo effect (excerpted from Wikipedia)  is a cognitive bias where a trait (characteristic of a person or object) influences another trait or traits of that person or object.  In more simple terms the halo effect determines why we believe good looking people are more successful, more intelligent, and happier in life.  Without going into a lot of detail there are quite a few studies to confirm this, more than slightly absurd, fact.  But, nevertheless it appears to be true.  Now back to Jesus and His halo.

Not only do I believe Jesus, during His brief earthly ministry,  had no physical halo, but I don’t believe He had the halo effect, either.  In other words, most of the paintings of Jesus, which largely show a handsome man, with beard and flowing hair, are probably wrong.  Now that you are completely offended by my assertion, let me offer some explanation.

As psychologists now well know, the halo effect changes peoples opinions about a person, mostly in a subconscious way.  In other words, when someone looks great, we assume they are great, whether there is any evidence or not to support the assumption.  Wouldn’t it make sense, then, for Jesus to look great?  For, no doubt He was, and is, great.  The answer is NO.  The decision people have to make about the Savior cannot come from influences of a physical kind.  They must be spiritually discerned or received.  The only way Jesus could let people receive Him purely on a spiritual basis would be to subdue the human tendency to apply the halo effect.  In other words, Jesus was average, or below average looking.  There was nothing about Him to give away his heavenly origin, or royalty.

In Isaiah 53:2 the scripture reads – “For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.”

This is the passage that talks of the coming Messiah, and what He will be like.  It very clear says he will not be a good looking man.  I see you are not convinced, however, so more is needed.

Have you ever wondered about the passage found in Matthew 16:13-17?

“When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?  And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.  He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”

Hmmm…  What did Jesus mean, “flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee”?  It meant there was nothing about Jesus’ appearance that would hint He was the Son of God.  It was purely a spiritual revelation.

Still not convinced?  Well, I will give you one last clue.  After Jesus has risen from the dead and Has been glorified, He meets with some of the disciples on the road to Emmaus.  But, they did not recognize Him.  Why?  Some believe it was because he disguised Himself.  And, perhaps, that’s the answer.  Or, it could be that he appeared as a normal, handsome man, therefore, unrecognizable to the disciples.

Jesus did many things contrary to someone of greatness.  He was born in a stable, not in a mansion or castle.  He was born into poverty, and not into wealth.  He lived a life of modest means.  There was nothing about Him that would attract people, except one thing.  The Spirit that was in Him.

Today, Jesus is still walking the by-ways looking for the disadvantaged, the poor, the weak, and He doesn’t appear to them as one who is superior or who looks down on them.  No, He appears as compassionate, careful, considerate, and helpful.

He took on the cloak of humanity, in its lowest form, in order to reach everyone, not just the rich, not just the beautiful, but everyone.

One Response to “Jesus – Without the Halo”

  1. Bea McGuire Says:

    Wow! This was awesome! I can assure you that I will never look at another picture of Christ without thinking of this blog. Great food for thought. How appropriate at this Christmas Season also. Blessings…………….

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