Submitted by Jan on Tue, 25/04/2017 – 10:06
Bible Book: Luke
Chapter: 24
Verse: 13 – 35

As I read this passage the question I have is: “Why didn’t this couple recognise Jesus, what was it that had closed their eyes?”

Take a moment to close your eyes and picture Jesus….

I don’t know what you saw, but the first portraits of Jesus did not appear until the 1500’s, so we don’t really know what he looked like.

According to Publius Lentulus (1514):

He is a tall man, well shaped and of an amiable and reverend aspect; his hair is of a colour that can hardly be matched, falling into graceful curls… parted on the crown of his head, running is a stream to the front after the fashion of the Nazarites; his forehead high, large and imposing; his cheeks without spot or wrinkle, beautiful with a lovely red; his nose and mouth formed with exquisite symmetry; his beard, and of a colour suitable to his hair, reaching below his chin and parted in the middle like a fork; his eyes bright blue, clear and serene….No man has seen him laugh.

The last sentence alone convinces me that this is not the Jesus I follow! So who was this Jesus who was walking the Emmaus Road, and why didn’t they recognise him.

What do we know?

We know Palestine was hot and dusty, it was before the days of showers, and the latest range of deodorants and shampoo had not yet reached the local Palestinian Clicks Store. I’m not sure if Jesus used toothpaste or laundry detergent. A lot of the time JesMs R us probably stank, probably quite badly. I don’t know about your image of Jesus, but this one does not match mine.[1] We know that he didn’t stand out or have a shiny halo around his head – that would have been a dead give away. To this couple who wearily walked the road to Emmaus he looked like one of them, hot, dusty and sweaty. Maybe that was why they didn’t recognize him.

The only description we have of Jesus appearance is in Isaiah…

Just as there were many who were appalled at him – his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness…. He had no beauty and majesty to attract us to him nothing in His appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not (Is.53:2).

What does Jesus look like to us? Jesus sounds more like someone who is suffering from AIDS than someone who would appear in a stain glass window. But if we were to portray him as a dirty, smelly, unattractive (I am refraining from using the word ugly) person he would be highly offensive to most of Christendom, and probably to us too. Jesus was probably looked more like the drug user lying in an alley than the average Sunday church-goer.

I challenge you to take that thought and ponder on it, live with it and become comfortable with it.
[1] The concept of a stinky Jesus came to me from a talk I attended by Rev. Pax Tan.

Author: Hack R (Ms)
Language: English