Here in the Western world we’ve been worshiping an image of Jesus that has about zero likelihood that it represents the actual appearance of Jesus. The possibility that a white European looking dude with high cheekbones and an aquiline nose lived in the Middle East, well, God can do anything, but would He really?
Oh, and free associating, why is Jesus always depicted with long hair given the fact that our society tends to usually think guys with long hair are not usually totally “together”?
Looks like “us”
Interestingly, different groups have different images of Jesus. There’s Black Jesus, female Jesus, Latino Jesus, and many more. The common thread is that people seem to tend to imagine Jesus looking a lot like they do. The Internet is a big place, and there has to be one somewhere, but I couldn’t find a single image of Jesus looking Middle Eastern, except for the popular police artist’s renderings that certainly don’t look like someone you’d pray to.
But why change?
In these troubled times when we’re encouraged to call Homeland Security about anyone vaguely Middle Eastern looking, maybe having a vision of the Savior as a Middle Eastern male would help us remember that people just look different. The churches like to rail against Hollywood but at least Hollywood has begun representing diversity albeit to a somewhat limited degree. But in Christian art and literature, is it happening? Is it going to happen? Ironically religious imagery might just be the last bastion of the white male ideal.