And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” Luke 2:22-24
Once again Luke describes Mary and Joseph upholding Jewish traditions that were over a thousand years old. In today’s case they are bringing their baby boy to the temple to present their first born to God and offer a sacrifice according to the Law. You can find the command to offer the first born, both human and animal, to God in Exodus 13:2. In Mary and Joseph doing this, it brought to my mind the fact that Jesus was Jewish.
Sometime we tend to forget that fact. It does not help that so often Jesus is portrayed as more Caucasian than Semitic. When I think of what Jesus did not look like I think of Max von Sydow in The Greatest Story Ever Told with his brown hair and bright blue eyes. Or I think of the copy of the painting of Jesus praying that my grandmother had on her wall with once again a brown haired, close to blond, and features more closely resembling western features rather than Middle Eastern.
Whatever the portrait we usually see of Jesus one thing is He is almost always shown as a strikingly handsome man. We really do not have any idea what Jesus really looked like. What we do know is He was Jewish so he most likely had dark brown or black hair and brown eyes. No blond highlights for Jesus and he most likely did not look like the cover of GQ or have Breck Girl hair. Jesus would have looked like the men walking around Jerusalem today. In fact He would have been unnoticeable. The type of face you see and forget moments after they passed an everyman. In fact Isaiah tells us that “For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.” Isaiah 53:2.
What made Jesus special were not His looks but His words. We are told He spoke as one with authority. He was special not because of looks but because of His deeds, the miracles and healings and the raising of the dead. It was these things that made Jesus noticeable. I think that sometimes when Jesus had made the Jewish leaders mad and they sought to harm Him and the Bible tells us He slipped away, just maybe part of the reason He was able to slip away was because He did not stand out from the crowd. Maybe they were so shocked by His teachings that they could not believe such a plain man could say such things. Just a thought with little to back it up.
Jesus was a Jew. He was the anointed one, the Christ in Greek or the Messiah in Hebrew. He was not a Christian that is what we His followers are called. The term Christian wasn’t even used in Palestine during Jesus’ life but we are told in Acts 11:26 the term was first used in Antioch probably derisively at first as it means little christs. Mary and Joseph made sure that Jesus was brought up following all Jewish traditions and Laws. We may all want Jesus to look like we do but the important thing is we act like He did. Then it does not matter what Jesus looked like.
Have a blessed day,