The Different Pictures of Jesus

The image of Jesus Christ as most people recognize it entails a tall bearded man with long hair who frequently liked to adorn sandals. If a present day Judas Iscariot was to describe him to Roman soldiers they’d be interrogating every hacky-sack group hanging around on a college quad playing acoustic guitar. Since there was no Instagram 2000 years ago, there is no definitive pictures of Jesus. In fact, he was never described in the New Testament and there is no body to examine to tell exactly what Jesus looked like.

Pictures of Jesus as a Baby

baby-jesusMany people are familiar with the images of Jesus as a baby. He is generally shown cradled in his mother’s arms in the famous manger scene with hay, animals, and possibly the Three Wise Men surrounding him. Based on what culture depicts these pictures of Jesus, his ethnicity changes. The most common depicted race of Jesus is Caucasian but in other parts of the world he is shown as black, Hispanic, or Arabic. Many people believe he was black.

Western Jesus

This doesn’t refer to Jesus wearing a cowboy hat and boot spurs yet the assumption that he is a tall, lean, carpenter, with flowing long hair, a full beard, and light colored eyes. Even though this is the most common of the pictures of him, if that depiction were true he would’ve looked vastly different from other people in the region at that time. There is no writing in the bible that Jesus’ look was special or unique and the Gospel of Matthew states that Judas had to point out Jesus when he was arrested because he couldn’t be deciphered from the Disciples.

Jesus’ Image Reconstructed With Technology

With the advances of forensic technology, it was only a matter of time before scientists aimed at using their research to get consensus images of Jesus. In 2001 scientists used first century Jewish skulls in order to construct Jesus using forensic anthropology. Their results yielded images of Jesus with a broader face, larger nose, darker skin, short curly hair and a close cropped beard.  While Jesus’ long hair had been one of his defining traits, in the first Epistle of Corinthians Paul the Apostle stated it was disgraceful for a man to have long hair and he wouldn’t have said that of Christ. It should be noted that this forensic study was not an accurate depiction of the actual Jesus, just a general characteristic outline of what he might look like.

Jesus Appears To People

jc-breadOne way that the pictures of Jesus have become commonly accepted in society is because of the reports of Jesus miraculously appearing to people all through history. For example, people may hallucinate and see Jesus or Virgin Mary in their minds. In the year 525 the mandylion image was created when Jesus washed his face with water and the imprint was left in the cloth that he dried off with. Another famous image of Jesus occurred when an amateur photographer took a picture of the Shroud of Turin in 1898 and when developing the negatives the Holy Face of Jesus appeared. Saints Faustina Kowalska have also reported being shown a miraculous image when Jesus appeared to her and asked her to paint what she saw. Until Jesus descends on Earth again, we may never know what the man actually looked like. For now, we’ll have to trust the images that have been presented to us throughout history and instead focus on His message rather than His looks. For the time being, keep looking for pictures of Jesus appearing as stains on a shirt or in the shape of a potato chip because eBay needs saving.

The Importance of Church

Church is a very important aspect of the Christian faith. Even from the earliest times, people gathered together for meetings, to worship their deity, and to share fellowship. There are several reasons why most Christians see church services as an important part of their faith. Since its development, the worship service has greatly evolved. Almost every church includes meeting on Sunday, prayers, music in the form of unaccompanied or instrumentally accompanied hymns, a collection of tithe, Bible readings, teaching done by a priest or pastor in the form of a homily or sermon given before the congregation, and sometimes, special sacraments, such as communion (Eucharist). Here are some reasons why church is seen so important to their faith:

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Observance of the Sabbath is commanded in the Bible

Many see the Sabbath (Sunday) as a holy day during their week when work should be abstained from (if possible), other things in life should be put aside, and God should be worshipped. One of the simplest ways to do this is to join an already established church in your community and attend worship services. Sunday is often set-aside for church services, Christian fellowship, and worship of the Christian God, also known as the Holy Trinity.

Fellowship with Others

Although Christian services are about worshipping the Holy Trinity, especially Jesus, they are also about fellowship with other believers. Early Christians thought this type of fellowship made their faith stronger. Some churches may offer special times of fellowship for church members or the community outside or worship services. Others may host meals or celebrations on important Christian holidays, such as Easter or Christmas. Many people find comfort in being friends with others who also share their outlook on life and religion.

Strengthening of their Faith

Not only can Church strengthen faith through sacraments, worship, and fellowship. Many also see Church as strengthening their faith because it is a holy time set aside to remember their faith and consider it seriously. In the hectic world we currently live in, this pre-scheduled time can be convenient for many. During church services it is also typical for people to share testimony about how their faith has grown, or what God has done for them. By sharing these inspirational stories, others feel their faith is validated in some way, and that they are on the right pathway in their lives.

Daily Prayer: Why Do It?

Daily prayer is an important part of the Christian faith. Whether done on its own, in thanks for a meal, at worship service, or as part of a daily devotional, prayer can help to put Christians in direct contact with their god. Here are some reasons why many people of the Christian faith have made prayer a part of their daily lives:

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Helps Us to Dedicate Our Lives

Prayer as an act of daily contact with god helps people to better dedicate their lives, actions, and thoughts to holy things, as opposed to more worldly issues. Prayer should be a daily habit, not just something Christians do in times of struggle or trouble in their lives. Prayer is also a way to acknowledge who is most important in your daily life. Many Christians pray as a daily act of supplication to the deity they believe is their creator.

Prayer Gives Guidance and Allows Expression of Gratitude

Staying in contact with god helps Christians to guide their daily lives, as well as bigger decisions. God can help people make life decisions through not just the guidance given in scripture, but also through the knowledge the Lord can impart as part of prayer. It also serves as a chance to remain in contact with the grater deity, as well as letting him know all the aspects of your daily life, which scripture can guide in some parts, but not all. When God does something of value, prayer is also the perfect place to thank him for that, as well. Most aspects of daily life may seem droll, but examining them through prayer is a good way to be sure you are on the straight and narrow path.

Prayer is a Way to Ask Forgiveness

prayingsiloBecause all Christians believe they sin, and always fall short of the lifestyle god has set out for them, prayer is a great way to ask for forgiveness of such sins. From the smallest white lie, to asking for past forgiveness for sins, no matter how large, prayer is the place to go. You may also ask for help in overcoming sins that you struggle with on a regular basis, no matter how large or small those sins may seemingly be. Unconfessed sin is believed to hinder the personal relationship with the creator that Christians long for and need to strengthen their faith.

Symbols of Christianity

Symbolism is very important in the Christian faith. Most Christian symbols are instantly recognizable, and known the world over. This article will talk about different symbols that Christians often use to show their faith, and explain their significance and origins. Symbols may be incorporated into worship, worn on clothing, or made into jewelry as a constant reminder of faith, Jesus’ sacrifice, and God’s love:

The Cross

cross

The cross is one of the very earliest of Christian symbols, which is still in use today, and is universally recognizable. As a symbol, the cross can represent Jesus, the Holy Trinity, the sacrifice of Jesus when he died upon the cross for his follower’s sins, Christianity as a religion, the Holy Church, faith, and more. Almost every church has a depiction of a cross somewhere and it is a popular choice for believers to wear as jewelry, or to have depicted on their clothing. The cross was first mentioned as being used as a symbol for Christianity starting in the second century.  Crosses were often used in places of worship, tombs, in artwork, and as seals.

The Crucifix

crucifixThe crucifix is a depiction of a cross, either 2 or 3 dimensional which also depicts Jesus at his time of crucifixion. In most crucifixes, he is shown as hanging on the cross in an upright position, with his arms outstretched and nailed to the horizontal plane of the cross, and his feet as being nailed, one on top of the other, on the vertical plane. Jesus is also normally depicted wearing a crown of thorns, and with varying states of clothing, depending upon the time period of the depiction. The crucifix may be worn as jewelry, or used in ceremonies. Many churches have a crucifix somewhere within their church, as it serves as an important reminder of Jesus’ physical sacrifice. This symbol first appeared in the fifth century.

The Ichthys

The ichthys is more popularly known as the fish symbol. The symbol was very popular among early Christians, and stood for the phrase, “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior” in the Greek. In the early days of Christianity, this symbol was used to distinguish those for or against the Christians, set apart meeting places of Christians, or to decorate tombs. Some believe this serves as a reference to the many mentions of fish in the New Testament, or may predate Christianity as a symbol.

ichthys

The Powerful Image of Christ



jesuschrist1Jesus Christ is the focal point of many followers of the Christian faith.  According to the bible, it was Jesus whom walked among us, healed us, suffered and ultimately died in order to save us from our sins.  With more than 2 billion followers, the Christian faith is still strong. Though there are many followers, having a pure blind faith can be hard to maintain.  Blind faith means having faith in something without any proof that it exists.  Many followers are constantly looking for that proof.  Many others believe they see proof of their beliefs every day.  There are small miracles that believers see such as a beautiful sunrise or the first drops of a desperately needed rain.  Sometimes the perceived miracles are larger, such as a child walking away from a horrific automobile accident.  Every so often, the belief of a miracle is on a grand scale.

Images of Jesus having been found in obscure places have been reported for centuries.  Crying statues or shining lights have strengthened followers’ faith time and again.  Are these miracles real or attempts to bring in more followers to the Christian faith?  Perhaps some of these miracles are attempts at fame.  Maybe, they are truly miracles sent from heaven.

One of the famous images of Jesus is named the Edessa Image or the Mandylion.  This picture of Jesus is a likeness that was supposedly press on linen by Jesus when he was alive.  A king ailing from leprosy, King Abgar, had heard of Jesus’s healing powers and sent a man to see Jesus and ask Jesus to come heal him. Though Jesus couldn’t go to the king then, it is said that after washing his face, Jesus dried his face with a linen towel and then gave it to the messenger telling him to give it to King Abgar.  The towel miraculously had the likeness of Jesus pressed into it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are now three copies of the linen, one belongs to Paris, one to Genoa, and one to the Vatican.   It is argued as to which one of these linens is the linen that holds Jesus’s true likeness.  The original had been passed through many different countries and hands and so it is unsure which of the linens if any is the original. The Vatican and Genose linens both have the same holes in the same positions that allow them to be framed in a silver sheet.  They are both almost identical.

After many years, a test was permitted to be done on the Vatican’s Madnylion.  This test found that the likeness was in fact made of paint. That was not the only proof that the likeness had the hands of man involved with its making.  The testing also proved that some of the facial features had been altered.  The Vatican freely admits these findings, though the linen is still a revered article and considered miraculous.


A popular picture of Jesus said to be a miraculous sign shows a cloud formation that has humanoid features.  There are countless photos of clouds that seem to take on the face of a man or of a man standing with hands spread before him.  Sometimes these miraculous images aren’t just of Jesus but are visions people claim of the Virgin Mary or an angel.

Pictures of Jesus can bring many things.  Pictures of Jesus can give hope to those in need.  Images of Jesus can bring back a person’s fading faith.  The legitimacy of miraculous images will always be questioned by skeptics.  Whether the images of Jesus are miraculous or man-made, they will always have an impact on the believer and skeptic alike.