Why is the ‘Real Face’ of Jesus Controversial? The Real Christmas Story…

real face

Hello World,

Today marks the fourth Sunday of Advent as we celebrate the birth of Jesus THIS FRIDAY! Every year I always struggle to get into the true Christmas spirit amid the commercialism of this holiday that would have us skip over Thanksgiving and plunge headfirst into racking up debt to buy our family and friends happiness…During this season, I have to retreat and reflect on Scriptures such as Seven Scriptures to Remind Us that Jesus is the Real Reason for the Season…so that I am reminded that the original Christmas was about how God enabled his son Jesus to come to this earth in the form of a baby born to a Jewish couple in the Middle East…

That is why I am a bit perplexed that medical artist Richard Neave’s rendering of the real face of Jesus has gone viral! Although my earliest recollections of portraits of Jesus featured a man with blonde hair and blue eyes which I probably learned about in Sunday School and or the private Christian school I attended as a child, I stopped believing those depictions were accurate once I understood the Christmas story even as a child. That was probably around the time that I read “The Diary of Anne Frank” and began to study world history. My deductive reasoning led me to believe that Jesus, while in human form, must have been of a darker hue and looked similar to those who live in the Middle East…That would only make sense…


Still, I love that that forensic science is now backing up what was clear to me…Below is an excerpt from the article “The Real Face Of Jesus” on popularmechanics.com.

For those accustomed to traditional Sunday school portraits of Jesus, the sculpture of the dark and swarthy Middle Eastern man that emerges from Neave’s laboratory is a reminder of the roots of their faith. “The fact that he probably looked a great deal more like a darker-skinned Semite than westerners are used to seeing him pictured is a reminder of his universality,” says Charles D. Hackett, director of Episcopal studies at the Candler School of Theology in Atlanta. “And [it is] a reminder of our tendency to sinfully appropriate him in the service of our cultural values.”

Neave emphasizes that his re-creation is simply that of an adult man who lived in the same place and at the same time as Jesus. As might well be expected, not everyone agrees.

Forensic depictions are not an exact science, cautions Alison Galloway, professor of anthropology at the University of California in Santa Cruz. The details in a face follow the soft tissue above the muscle, and it is here where forensic artists differ widely in technique. Galloway points out that some artists pay more attention to the subtle differences in such details as the distance between the bottom of the nose and the mouth. And the most recognizable features of the face—the folds of the eyes, structure of the nose and shape of the mouth—are left to the artist. “In some cases the resemblance between the reconstruction and the actual individual can be uncanny,” says Galloway. “But in others there may be more resemblance with the other work of the same artist.” Despite this reservation, she reaches one conclusion that is inescapable to almost everyone who has ever seen Neave’s Jesus. “This is probably a lot closer to the truth than the work of many great masters.”

And furthermore, I hope this rendering of the real face of Jesus encourages many of us to get off of our cultural high horses regarding refugees coming into this country particularly at this time of the year...This meme says it better than I can…


I’m not saying that we don’t need to be cautious because we absolutely have to be in this time of terrorism. But for that those of us who profess to be Christians, our actions have to be rooted in love and not fear…

Can I get an Amen?

Any thoughts?



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One thought on “Why is the ‘Real Face’ of Jesus Controversial? The Real Christmas Story…

  1. Looks are not what Jesus is about.
    Good is GOD.
    Has anyone ever seen the face of God?
    Has anyone ever seen a human soul?
    Love and faith are blind.
    Be kind.