Art Friday: The image of Jesus

John Everett Millais - Christ in the House of His Parents (`The Carpenter's Shop

We are crazy about celebrities and cannot get enough of them—we demand the minutiae detail, we have an insatiable appetite for information about the rich and famous and women buy endless trashy magazines to look at the latest fashions wore by women they don't know but desperate to follow. 

Hollywood actors, members of the royal family and even people who haven't done anything significant are followed and photographed on a daily bases and we find their imagines in our magazines, newspapers and on TV. These people often have huge social media presents — they love the attention and we are more than happy to idolise them. 

However, the Saviour of this world never had His painting done when He walked this earth and we have no description of His looks. We no nothing of His appearance — how tall was Jesus, did He have a  beard, beautiful and handsome? Did Jesus have curly or straight hair, was His skin dark or light. What did He like to eat?  Given that He is the central figure in all of history — greater than any human being ever, we know so little about his appearance. Why, because what He looks like is NOT important—it is irrelevant

God knew about our obsessions with looks and beauty and understood that if we knew what He looked like, our focus would change and we would idol the image and not focus on what we need to.  Sadly, humans have created their own image of our Heavenly Father (and others such as Mary, the mother of Jesus) and placing them in churches and idolised them just as He knew we would. In fact during the Renaissance, the Catholic Church encouraged and commissioned large numbers of biblical works so they could be placed in their churches and cathedrals and even today, people pray to these images. 

God is sending us a very strong and powerful message — looks and beauty DO NOT COUNT in His eyes. Getting to heaven isn't based on our looks, whether we are beautiful, tall, thin or by the colour of our skin — it is our focus on God that is essential. We need to show less interest in a persons appearance and more interest in a persons internal character. 

Today I want to share some of these paintings with you — I have only selected a few as I am never really comfortable with art depicting Christ, however throughout our history artists have been drawn to biblical stories and reproduced them in canvas on directly onto walls — in particular scenes from the birth of Jesus and His crucification. I have not included any modern art as I think they are often cheesy and unsuitable. 

The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci
The Descent from the Cross (or Deposition of Christ, or Descent of Christ from the Cross) is a panel painting by the Flemish artist Rogier van der Weyden created c. 1435, now in the Museo del Prado, Madrid.
The adoration of the Christ Child by Bernardino Luini (1515)

Christ in the House of Simon the Pharisee, c.1656

The saviour in the tempe by William Holman Hunt


  1. It is sad that people have "changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen." as it says in Romans 1:25. =( Because idolising objects, whether paintings or sculptures, is part of that (in my opinion).

    1. Just look at the Icons in Russia and how they have been worshiped as a religious symbols or praying to the cross or paintings of Mary, the mother of Jesus. These have all become icons and idols and those using them have lost sight of the who they should be worshipping - not a material thing but our Creator. No where in the bible does it tell us to pray to a cross or painting or even wear crosses around our necks, but many many do.

  2. This was very insightful Jo. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and the paintings. I agree with you about being uncomfortable with paintings of Jesus.

    God bless!
    Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage

  3. I'm not comfortable with paintings of Jesus and God, either. I agree with you - how He looked and how God looks is completely irrelevant. I'm glad you wrote about it, it's not something that people address often enough.

    1. Some older paintings are beautiful - but I find modern paintings of Jesus to be "very pretty" - assuming that Jesus must have been a very handsome made like a Hollywood star :( Its an area to avoid I think.


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