Radical Jesus 2: The Real Look of Jesus

Last time I delt with the view of Jesus that I have seen typical of North American churches and Christians. Today we will deal with who Jesus really was, I will try to do it justice.

We will start at the same place that I started in the last post. What did Jesus look like? Typically we, in North America, have viewed Jesus as a tall white guy. While this is easier on our sensibility, making Jesus more familiar, it is not what He looked like. Jesus was not born in Europe, or North America. In fact if he was born in North America at that time he would have been a what we have come to call a Native American. Jesus was born in the Middle East. He would have had dark skin and probably black hair. Yes the Bible says nothing about this look of his but if he was born to parents that looked like the culture at the time does it not follow that he would have looked like the culture into which he was born?

With the sanitizing of the look of Jesus that we have done we have often sanitized His message as well. Coming from a different culture we don’t see, or don’t want to see, the way that Jesus’ message would have been received at the time. Jesus was a completely radical voice, with a radical message for His time.

For starters Jesus was a Jew. The Jews at the time felt that the Messiah came for the salvation of the Jews alone. They felt it would have been more of a military salvation, from their oppression under the Romans and not ‘just’ a spiritual renewal. Jesus did not bring revolution to the Jews but salvation. His message was not only for the Jews but for all the nations. In Colossians 3:11 Paul says: “Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.” To Christ there is no difference between races or genders or social status. Again, to the Jew there was Jew and everyone else. The Samaritans are a perfect example of this segregation, and of Jesus breaking it down.

Most of us have heard of the story of the woman at the well (John 4:3-30). Biblically it says that they had to pass through Samaria to get where they were going. Historically most people crossed the sea into Perea to avoid Samaria. There was nothing compelling them to pass that way except Jesus’ radical message. While traveling Jesus met with a woman (no status), who was a Samaritan (mixed blood) and was known for her poor moral character (5 husbands and now living with a different man). On top of Jesus meeting this woman that was so reviled for a Jew this is one of the only two times that he reveals himself directly as the Messiah. The other instance is during his trial with Pilate. So Jesus reveals that He is the Messiah to a woman that most Jews would never have seen because they would have avoided her entire country.

So we have seen that our sanitization of Jesus may have also led us to overlook the radical message that He preached to His time. Next we will look at suggestions on how to live radically in our current culture in light of the radical life of Jesus.


~ by curtismchale on January 17, 2008.

4 Responses to “Radical Jesus 2: The Real Look of Jesus”

  1. […] Post 2: The Real Look of Jesus […]

  2. So samaritans were Jews that were wed to gentiles?

  3. Amen, the Prophet Isaiah said that he would not be one who would be considered one of the “beautiful people”…that his looks would be quite plain…

  4. […] Jesus 3: Radical Today So in the last post we looked at the real message that Jesus was preaching to his time. He was not preaching a cleaned […]

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