There’s this annoying thing that people sometimes do with Jesus and I gotta get it off my chest.

Too many paintings and portraits featuring the Lord depict him as…well, as a white dude:

That’s not what Jesus looked like! He was a Jew from Nazareth: He would have had olive/brown skin.

Now you might think “what’s the big deal” and on one level it isn’t a big deal, but it could be a symptom of a larger problem. I’m reminded of what Isaiah wrote about the Messiah:

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.
(Isaiah 53:2)

The Lord who came to earth came in an ordinary body. He did extra-ordinary things, certainly, but his appearance was so mundane that, if you saw Him walking down the street and didn’t know who He was, you wouldn’t think twice about Him. He was aggressively plain!

I’m annoyed because I think some people (not all, obviously) are embarrassed at the idea that their Savior was a dark-skinned Man and so when they depict Him in art they do so in a way that reflects their own racial preference. I want to be clear: Not everyone does this. Some people don’t care what Jesus’ skin color was, or how long His hair was, or the fact that He wore sandals to sandals to church etc. There are some who do care however, and that goes against the point Isaiah is making here: The Lord’s appearance is not supposed to matter because it is what’s on the inside of a man that matters, not the outer appearance.

We should see Jesus for His deeds not his appearance. If we go by His appearance, many would find Him undesirable, as Isaiah says in his critical chapter. Those who see what He did—“being wounded for our transgressions,” et al—see a Man worth serving till death (and life again), regardless of what He looked like!