Was Jesus Ugly?

Well, if I haven’t made all my friends mad or upset by now, here’s my opportunity to try once again.  I’ve written over 350 postings so, it is even possible I’ve covered this ground already, but at my age I can start repeating myself without incurring too much penalty.  As with all my postings you will have to bear with me as I make my case.

We have all seen, and in many instances grown up with, or around, images of Jesus.  There are images of Him knocking on the door, walking on the sea, carrying a lamb on His shoulders, dying on the Cross, standing in Heaven, and many more.  Mostly, they depict a very handsome man, even if He almost always is shown with long hair and a beard.  But, is that an accurate portrayal of our Savior?

Now let me be very clear here.  Jesus is attractive.  But, what I’m focusing on here is not Jesus as He looks today, but Jesus as He looked during His brief three and one-half years of ministry on this earth.

Of course, we don’t know for sure what He looked like, we have only the clues hidden in the scriptures.

Let’s start with Isaiah 53:2, which says in the King James:

“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.”

We have some confidence that Isaiah chapter 53 is in reference to the Savior Jesus Christ.  It describes Him, His ministry and His sacrifice.  But in verse 2 it describes His physical appearance.  Let’s see how this is rendered in a modern translation.  Here’s what this verse looks like in the Good News Translation:

“It was the will of the Lord that his servant
    grow like a plant taking root in dry ground.
He had no dignity or beauty
    to make us take notice of him.
There was nothing attractive about him,
    nothing that would draw us to him.”

Hmmmm…  now we are getting somewhere.  No dignity, or beauty.  No attractiveness.

Now the real question here is why would He come that way?

There is a simple reason.  People are drawn to beauty, charisma, and charm.  People rise in business because of beauty, charisma, and charm.  People rise in politics and in entertainment because of beauty, charisma, and charm.  We are attracted to people who possess these qualities.  And, we feel foolish when we find out that many with these qualities we were attracted to only possess them skin-deep.

When the Father sent His Son, it was important people be drawn to Him for the right reason.  Their desire had to be one of faith, and a desire to serve and live for God, not to be part of the ‘in-crowd’ or pep-rally, or to see and be seen.  We always assume the leaders and rulers of Jesus day despised Jesus because of the threat He represented to them, and this must at least be partially true.  But, is it also possible He was not one of the ‘pretty people’?  You know you can’t hang with the ‘pretty people’ unless you are one of them.

I can see I have pricked your interest, but I’m not sure I’ve convinced you of anything, at least, not yet.

Shift over to a familiar scripture passage in Matthew chapter 16… In this chapter we see Jesus questioning His disciples.  He wants to know from them who the people think He (Jesus) is.  He gets various answers.  Some think Jesus is John the Baptist.  Some think He is one of the prophets.  Finally, Jesus asks His disciples, “But, who do you say I am?”

And we know Peter’s now famous response, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

To which Jesus replies –  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.”

Let me put a new twist on this much quoted scripture passage.  Here is Chuck’s interpretation – “Blessings to you Simon Barjona, for you didn’t come to this conclusion by what you saw with your eyes, but my Father, which is in heaven, has revealed this to you.”


You see – it is not possible to know God through only the five senses.  You must know Him through the additional sense of faith.  In order to put things in their right perspective it was necessary for Christ to be revealed through faith, not through sight.  It was required that people believe in Him, not because He appeared right and beautiful, but, perhaps, because He didn’t appear right and beautiful.

We skip now to a scene after Jesus was resurrected.  Two of the disciples were on a day-trip to Emmaus, and they were talking about the recent events which included the crucifixion.  All of a sudden Jesus appeared and began walking with them, but they did not know who it was.  My interpretation of these events, and others, is simply this – Jesus was in His normal state, that is, beautiful, handsome, with dignity.  Therefore, they didn’t recognize Him, as they only knew of the Jesus that, in my opinion, was less than beautiful, less than handsome.

It was necessary for those who were drawn to Jesus to be drawn for the right reasons.  A desire to know and serve God, a desire to know the truth, a desire to make a commitment to God.  It would take faith to believe this Jesus was the Messiah that was prophesied to come. Had Jesus appeared as charming, beautiful, and attractive it is possible people would have been drawn to Him for the wrong reasons.

Ok, to sum this up.  I do not believe Jesus was ugly, although this could have been the case.  However, I do not believe He was beautiful, either.  At the very best He was average, with nothing in His appearance that would suggest His true nature or greatness.

Is this important?  I think it is.  In today’s modern society we put a premium on looking right, talking right, acting right, and associating with those who can do us some good.  All the traits I believe God avoided when He sent His Son to this earth to save the lost.  And since He is our prime example we should act accordingly.  Now, let me be clear.  I’m not saying you shouldn’t make yourself as attractive as you can (Lord knows some of us really need it), but that you should think and act soberly, and to not be so high and mighty you cannot associate with those of low degree.


One Response to “Was Jesus Ugly?”

  1. Bea McGuire Says:

    Humm….very intersting blog and lots of food for thought here! Never really thought much about the looks of Jesus but you have made an excellent observation with how man must look at Him. As always, thanks for such great insight! Blessings…..

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