Skip to content

What Did Jesus Look Like?

What Did Jesus Look Like?

The Bible’s answer

 No one knows exactly what Jesus looked like, since his physical appearance is not described in the Bible. This indicates that Jesus’ physical features are not important. However, the Bible does give us some idea of Jesus’ general appearance.

  •   Features: Jesus was a Jew and likely inherited common Semitic traits from his mother. (Hebrews 7:​14) It is unlikely that his features were especially distinctive. On one occasion he was able to travel in secret from Galilee to Jerusalem without being recognized. (John 7:​10, 11) And he apparently did not stand out even among his closest disciples. Recall that Judas Iscariot had to identify Jesus to the armed crowd that arrested him.​—Matthew 26:47-​49.

  •   Hair length: It is unlikely that Jesus’ hair was long, because the Bible says that “long hair is a dishonor to a man.”​—1 Corinthians 11:14.

  •   Beard: Jesus wore a beard. He followed Jewish law, which prohibited adult males from ‘disfiguring the edges of their beard.’ (Leviticus 19:27; Galatians 4:4) Also, the Bible mentions Jesus’ beard in a prophecy about his suffering.​—Isaiah 50:6.

  •   Body: All indications are that Jesus was physically robust. During his ministry, he traveled many miles. (Matthew 9:​35) He cleansed the Jewish temple twice, overturning the tables of money changers, and once drove out livestock with a whip. (Luke 19:45, 46; John 2:​14, 15) McClintock and Strong’s Cyclopedia states: “The whole evangelical narrative indicates [Jesus’] sound and vigorous bodily health.”​—Volume IV, page 884.

  •   Facial expressions: Jesus was warm and compassionate, and his facial expressions no doubt reflected this. (Matthew 11:28, 29) People of all sorts sought him out for comfort and help. (Luke 5:​12, 13; 7:​37, 38) Even children felt at ease in his presence.​—Matthew 19:13-​15; Mark 9:​35-​37.

Misconceptions about Jesus’ appearance

 Misconception: Some argue that Jesus must have been of African descent because the book of Revelation compares his hair to wool and his feet to “burnished bronze.”​—Revelation 1:​14, 15, The New Jerusalem Bible.

 Fact: The book of Revelation is presented “in signs.” (Revelation 1:1) The description of Jesus’ hair and feet uses symbolic language to illustrate Jesus’ qualities after his resurrection, not to describe his physical appearance when he was on earth. In saying that Jesus’ “head and his hair were white as white wool, as snow,” Revelation 1:​14 uses color, not texture, as a point of comparison. This represents his wisdom due to age. (Revelation 3:​14) This verse is not comparing the texture of Jesus’ hair to that of wool any more than it is comparing the texture of his hair to that of snow.

 Jesus’ feet looked “like fine copper when glowing in a furnace.” (Revelation 1:​15) Also, his face was “like the sun when it shines at its brightest.” (Revelation 1:​16) Since no race has skin color matching these descriptions, this vision must be symbolic, showing the resurrected Jesus as the one “who dwells in unapproachable light.”​—1 Timothy 6:​16.

 Misconception: Jesus was weak and frail.

 Fact: Jesus was manly in his behavior. For example, he boldly identified himself to the armed crowd that came to arrest him. (John 18:​4-8) Jesus must also have been physically strong to have worked as a carpenter using manual tools.​—Mark 6:3.

 Why, then, did Jesus need help to carry his torture stake? And why did he die before the others executed with him died? (Luke 23:26; John 19:31-​33) Just prior to Jesus’ execution, his body was seriously weakened. He had been up all night, in part because of emotional agony. (Luke 22:42-​44) During the night the Jews had mistreated him, and the next morning the Romans had tortured him. (Matthew 26:67, 68; John 19:​1-3) Such factors likely hastened his death.

 Misconception: Jesus was always somber, melancholy.

 Fact: Jesus perfectly reflected the qualities of his heavenly Father, Jehovah, whom the Bible describes as “the happy God.” (1 Timothy 1:​11; John 14:9) In fact, Jesus taught others how to be happy. (Matthew 5:​3-9; Luke 11:28) These facts indicate that Jesus often reflected happiness in his facial expressions.