J is for Jesus

Christ_in_Gethsemane by Heinrich Hoffmann
Christ in Gethsemane by Heinrich Hoffmann

Jesus was the first topic that came to my mind for the letter of the day, but I resisted. My reluctance to blog about Jesus is that I don’t want to misrepresent Him in any way. Also, I like to stick to the focus of my blog: the arts and the creative process.

So I tried to find composers whose names begin with J, but I’m not familiar with their work. I came up against the same problem with poets and authors too.

I keep coming back to Jesus. Maybe there’s a reason.

I always (or since my 30s, anyway) thought I knew exactly Who He is—God the Son, second Person of the Holy Trinity, born of a virgin, died to redeem us, etc. But ever since I’ve started studying with my current Bible study group, my very traditional view has been challenged. We just finished a study of Jesus’ parables, and now we’re reading a book about how Christianity looked in the first two centuries. Let’s just say I’m praying and seeking to know Who Jesus really is.

So, instead of me telling you all about Jesus, let’s look at some artistic representations of Him.

Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci
Christ Crucified, Velazquez
Christ Crucified, by Velazquez
Christ Carrying the Cross, Titian
Christ Carrying the Cross by Titian
Christ_of_Saint_John_of_the_Cross Dali fair use
Christ of Saint John of the Cross by Dali

The problem with all of these portraits is that they look like a white guy, which Jesus probably wasn’t. He may have looked more like a Middle Eastern brown-skinned Jew.

On the other hand, people often relate to a Jesus who looks more like themselves. Here are some alternate imaginings (sorry, to avoid copyright issues, I’m sending you to other sites):

Bottom line is, we don’t know exactly what Jesus looked like. As far as we know, He didn’t sit for a portrait during His earthly life. Does it matter? No. Is it okay for artists to portray Him as they see Him? Of course.

About Andrea R Huelsenbeck

Andrea R Huelsenbeck is a wife, a mother of five and a former elementary general music teacher. A freelance writer in the 1990s, her nonfiction articles and book reviews appeared in Raising Arizona Kids, Christian Library Journal, and other publications. She is currently working on a young adult mystical fantasy novel and a mystery.

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