Friday, August 19, 2011

What Did Jesus Look Like?

I say an article about a week back about Rembrandt's painting(s) of Jesus on Veith's blog (The Face of Jesus). 

What's interesting to me is two things, and they both are related. One, how different people in different ages and countries have depicted Jesus in art. I think it's healthy and good to have Jesus looking different, aka, not ALWAYS a 1st century Galiliean (though those are probably my favorite ones...). This personalizes him and can move people to engage the good news with their senses. Of course, the good news itself that Jesus is Lord and God raised him from the dead is God's power (Romans 1), but that power works psychologically and through our senses. 

Two, the comment quoted in the blog that: "From the earliest days of Christianity up until Rembrandt’s 17th century, the idea of portraying Jesus as human reeked of blasphemy. Iconoclasts often violently repressed any attempts to portray Christ as anything less than fully, perfectly divine."

He might be right overall, but I'd like to see his sources for non-iconoclast Christians. Certainly the Reformers (16th century and beyond) did NOT share that sentiment. As Veith stated:
 "I would add that it isn’t just that Rembrandt’s pictures of Jesus show Him as  “human.”  They affect us more than that.  They depict Him as human while also being divine.  They are personal rather than impersonal.   I ascribe that to the Reformation understanding of Christ and the Gospel, that Jesus is “for you.”

There's always a careful balance to be made in not over-stressing Jesus'  "divine nature" (aka, the way in which he embodied Yahweh and carried out Yahweh's promises, and also thereby replaced the Temple and its cultus) and his "human nature" (how Jesus was born and raised as a true human being, like any one of us).

What are your favorite images or pictures of Jesus? Why?

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