Jesus’ Kingly Appearance

What did Jesus look like? We have no portrait of his likeness. We have no bust showing his facial features.1

What we know is that Jesus was born in a manger—that it was as a baby he came into our world. Though we don’t know much about his childhood, we can read about him as a twelve-year-old in the Temple (Luke 2:41-52), providing amazement to the teachers there (Luke 2:47). But, again, we don’t know what he looked like: his facial features, build, etc.

Yet we can state with some confidence what Jesus didn’t look like. Almost certainly, he resembled nothing like some images of Him, portrayed as a fair-skinned, fair-featured European. On the contrary, Jesus had Middle Eastern Jewish ancestry. Accordingly, he was likely olive-skinned with dark or brown hair, in keeping with others hailing from the Judean area. But as regards any specific physical characteristics, the New Testament (NT) is silent.

We might be able to infer that Jesus was an average looking man by analyzing some NT scenes. For example, Judas Iscariot pointed Jesus out to the soldiers marshalled to arrest him (Matt 26:47-49; Mark 14:43-45; Luke 22:47-49).2 This might suggest Jesus had no special physical qualities to make him stand out amongst the others. But, then again, it was dark, and the light from the torches may have distorted the faces of Jesus and the disciples such that an insider like Judas could more easily identify him. Or, it could be that at least some in the group were in the dark as to what Jesus looked like in the first place.

This Jesus a King?

Perhaps more compelling, Pilate showed apparent surprise upon meeting Jesus. Was he expecting someone more kingly, more ‘regal’ looking? All four Gospels are unanimous in how they record Pilate’s question, which can be phrased either “You are the king of the Jews?” or “Are you the king of the Jews?” (Matt 27:11; Mark 15:2; Luke 23:3; John 18:33). By the phraseology (syntax) of the Greek, emphasis seems to be on “you” here.3 But there is no specific wording in the context with which to find a substantive answer as to what exactly provoked Pilate’s response.

However, viewing the description of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53 may provide a glimpse. Of Isaiah 53:2 J. Alec Motyer observes and opines:

[H]e looked unimpressive (no beauty . . . to attract). To such an extent was he but a man among men that the ordinary tests of beauty (‘looks’), majesty (‘unimpressiveness’) and appearance could be applied—with negative results.4

From this we might conclude that the earthly Jesus was an average looking man. No striking features. But it is possible the physical description here strictly relates to Jesus’ battered body hanging on the cross.5 Yet, even if Isaiah 53 is specifically about the Atonement, the description in verse 2 cannot be ruled out as simultaneously providing a description of the earthly Jesus in a general sense.  Whichever the case, this passage, on its face, cannot be used to definitively determine Jesus’ physical features.

Motyer’s statement above may prompt another possible avenue for inquiry. If we consider the example of Saul’s selection as king, we may find a more solid basis upon which to accept Isaiah 53:2 as providing a description of the earthly Jesus. This, in turn, may provide some substantiation for understanding Pilate’s surprise as pertaining to Jesus’ physical characteristics.

To be more specific, recall that one of the apparent reasons Saul was selected king was because he was tall and handsome (1 Sam 9:2; 10:1,23-24). In other words, the Jews seemed to have selected Saul, at least partly, because he ‘looked like’ a king, in their eyes. In comparison, using the same criteria, the Suffering Servant described in Isaiah did not ‘look like’ a king. Thus, if Isaiah 53:2 describes Jesus, Pilate may have been bewildered upon seeing him, for he may have been expecting someone more ‘regal’ in appearance.

A basis for such thought finds itself in the pseudo-science of physiognomy, as detailed in the work of Mikeal C. Parsons.6 This term reflects the idea in the idiom ‘judging a book by its cover’. To some even the converse is true: judging a cover by its book. In this latter view, by knowing a person’s character, one can determine corresponding physical characteristics even before first sight.

Returning again to Motyer’s statement, observe his final words, “with negative results.”  It appears the author here understands some sort of physiognomic connection.

Parsons notes the presence—and the possible presence7—of the practice of physiognomy in the Old Testament (OT), using the selection of King Saul as but one example. 8 Extra-biblical Jewish texts from this time period evidence this same outward/inward connection.9 All this could point to the reasoning behind the lack of physical descriptions of Jesus in the NT—if indeed he was an average man in terms of earthly physical characteristics, such as the description in Isaiah 53:2.

In other words, the Gospel writers’ silence on this issue may be quite purposeful. Knowing the contemporary tendency towards judging outward characteristics as the bases for determining inner qualities, the writers may have been dissuaded from describing Jesus’ physical form in any way. They may have been concerned that readers might make a caricature of him.

A stronger connection of this practice of physiognomy rears its ugly head in contemporary Hellenistic (Greek) culture.10 It “permeated the Greco-Roman thought world.”11 This thought may have emanated from the prominent anthropological and philosophical notions centering on a separate soul and body:

[S]oul and body react on each other; when the character of the soul changes, it changes also the body, and conversely, when the form of the body changes, it changes the character of the soul.12

The Hellenistic version of physiognomy encompassed a wide range of criteria, differing a bit according to the eye of the beholder. These include color of hair, eyes and skin; shape and size of forehead, nose, ears, cheeks, hands, etc.; size of head; sizes of features relative to others; asymmetry/symmetry; size of physique generally; as well as gait and other movements.13

An example of a negative imagining of Jesus’ physical features based on this pseudo-science is found in Cook’s The Interpretation of the New Testament in Greco-Roman Paganism.14 In this work Celsus described Jesus as “small and ugly and ignoble”.15 Celsus apparently arrives at his conclusions on Jesus’ physical features based on distorted understandings of Jesus’ incarnation, death and resurrection, which thereby informed Celsus’ view of Jesus’ morality.16 Since the crucifixion was reserved for criminals, Jesus’ death ‘confirmed’ his supposed “base origins and unworthy character”.17 In other words, a person of such ‘lowly’ character—according to Celsus’ misconstruals—surely was correspondingly “small and ugly”.18

Celsus sarcastically critiques Jesus in his mock-questioning of an imagined Jesus: Upon learning of the child king Jesus, Herod slaughtered innocent children (Matthew 2:3-16),

“lest you should reign instead of him after you were grown. Why then, when you were grown did you not reign? But you, ‘child of God’, ignobly beg in this manner [cf. Matt 10:9-11], poking about in fear and wandering up and down in ruin.”19

Celsus’ apparent awareness of the Gospel accounts of Jesus carrying neither food nor money20 likely contributed to his scathing judgment as “ignoble”.21 In accordance with such a view,

‘Evangelical poverty’ was unimpressive to Celsus. The title ‘king’ for such an impoverished individual is ridiculous to Celsus. Jesus never became a ‘king’ in the sense of the word that Celsus takes for granted.22

Considering all the above, isn’t it possible, perhaps even probable, the silence in the NT regarding Jesus’ earthly physical form is, in fact, by design? And could this account for why there are no direct NT quotations of the physical features portion of Isaiah 53:2?

Appropriating Jesus’ words in John 8:15, “You judge according to the flesh” (cf. 7:24).

Yes, Jesus is King!

Some use Psalm 45:2 to support the idea of a handsome Jesus. But this is probably best understood—if applicable to Jesus at all—as reflective of the post-earthly Jesus, his glorified form.23 And while the NT is silent regarding Jesus’ physical features during his earthly ministry, a few NT texts feature descriptions of a post-glorified Jesus.

We catch a glimpse of Jesus’ glory in the Transfiguration scene (Matt 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-36). But John the Revelator describes Jesus in his post-earthly glory. In the first chapter of Revelation, John witnesses:

13 someone like a son of man, dressed in a foot-length robe and girded with a golden wrap around his chest, 14 his head and hair white like wool—white as snow—and his eyes like flames of fire, 15 his feet similar to fine bronze polished in a furnace, and his voice as vibrant as voluminous waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth a sharp double-edged sword proceeds. His face shines like the sun in its full force.

What a description!

With the words “like a son of man” (homoios huios anthrōpou), John evokes the human-like figure in Daniel 7:13 (hōs huios anthrōpou).24 To explain, “son of man” is a rendering of the Hebrew idiom ben Adam, which translates as son of Adam, and is understood to mean human.25 Thus, “son of man” also means human. Comparatively, the particularized the Son of Man, used by Jesus in self-reference throughout the Gospels, refers solely to him. Accordingly, without the attached to “son of man” in both Rev 1:13 and Daniel 7:13,26 this conveys that the figure coming on the clouds (Dan 7:13; Rev 1:7) is human-like in appearance—though, of course this figure is King Jesus at the Second Coming, the parousia. In other words, in Rev 1:13 John is not using the Son of Man, because this term represents Jesus in his earthly ministry. Therefore, the context here (and Dan 7:13) is best understood as referring to King Jesus in his suprahuman, glorified form—like a human.

John provides another magnificent description of King Jesus in Revelation 19:

11 Then I saw heaven standing open, and behold! A white horse! The one riding it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are like flames of fire, and on his head are many diadems. A name has been written upon him, which no one knows except him. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and he has named himself THE WORD OF GOD. 14 The armies in heaven follow him on white horses, wearing pure white linen. 15 Out of his mouth proceeds a sharp sword with which he may strike the nations/people. He will shepherd them with an iron staff. And he tramples the winepress of the furious wrath of Almighty God. 16 And upon this robe, where it rests on his thigh, a name is inscribed: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

To use a term that has been diluted in popular culture due to persistent misuse, but here meant in all its original splendor: AWESOME! The verbiage appears to be figurative to some degree, yet we can see points of contact with 2Thessalonians 2:8:

And then the lawless one will be revealed—whom the Lord Jesus will cast away with the breath of His mouth and extinguish by the radiance of his coming/arrival (parousia).

The “breath of his mouth” seems to be a rephrasing of both Rev 1:16 and Rev 19:15 (cf. Isaiah 11:4). The “radiance of his coming” is similar to the final portion of 1:16, though it is implied in the whole context of 19:11-16.27

Come soon King Jesus!


1 For possible reasons why, see the section titled Use of ΙΧΘΥΣ in early Christianity in Fishers of Persons article.
2 John’s Gospel portrays this scene a bit differently (John 18:3-5).
3 The Gospels are uniform here, to include word order: Σὺ εἶ ὁ βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων, Su ei ho basileus tōn Ioudaiōn, You are the king of the Jews? This would be the word-for-word rendering, and the one I prefer here. Since Greek finite verbs encode person and number, a pronoun is not necessary unless the subject is unclear in the context. In this case the referent is obvious: the 2nd person singular encoded in the present tense-form “are” (εἰ̑, ei) can only refer to Jesus. Thus, the presence of the Greek pronoun “you” (σὺ, su) here is unnecessary, for the question can just as easily stand without it: Εἶ ὁ βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων (You are the king of the Jews?). The reading of the text per all four Gospels could even possibly be rendered: You? You are king of the Jews? (see Bernard and Evans just below). This would be in keeping with the context. For these reasons, I deem the use here emphatic.

Though not the consensus, this view of su as emphatic is far from rare. Cf. Charles L. Quarles, Matthew, EGGNT, Andreas J. Köstenberger & Robert W. Yarbrough, gen. eds. (Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2017), p 333: Σύ is emphatic and may imply a mocking tone . . .; Joel Marcus, Mark 8—16, The Yale Anchor Bible (New Haven, CT: Yale UP, 2009), p 1033: . . . the sarcastic tone of Pilate’s initial question . . . [is] because the Jewish authorities have reported his royal pretensions and/or reputation…however, such pretensions seem outlandish, since . . . Jesus’ bound condition is the opposite of the unfettered power associated with kingship; Craig A. Evans, Mark 8:27—16:20, Word Biblical Commentary [WBC] (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2001), p 478: The emphatic pronoun carries with it a touch of mockery, perhaps suggesting Pilate had anticipated meeting someone more impressive (i.e., “You? You must be kidding!”); B. F. Westcott, The Gospel According to St. John, Westcott’s Commentaries on the Gospel of John, Ephesians, Hebrews, and the Epistles of John; Accordance electronic ed. version 2.8 (Altamonte Springs: OakTree Software, 2006), para 5147: The form of the sentence . . . suggests a feeling of surprise in the questioner: “Art thou, poor, and bound, and wearied, the King of whom men have spoken?”; J.H. Bernard, The Gospel According to St. John, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary; ed. Samuel Rolles Driver, Alfred Plummer, and Charles A. Briggs; Accordance electronic ed. version 2.8 (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1928), para 15345: “Thou! (σύ is emphatic) art Thou the King of the Jews?” Evidently Pilate did not believe that Jesus was a revolutionary leader . . . There was nothing in His appearance or His demeanor to make such a charge plausible.; Raymond E. Brown, The Gospel According to John XIII-XXI, The Anchor Yale Bible; (New Haven: Yale UP, 1974), p 2.851: In the question Pilate asks, it is possible the ‘you’ is emphatic . . . expressing incredulity. Pilate . . . may have been amazed at the mien of Jesus who has been accused of claiming the title.; Leon Morris, The Gospel According to John, New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1971), p 768: “Thou” is emphatic. “Art thou the King of the Jews?”; Murray J. Harris, John, EGGNT (Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2015), p 305:If Pilate’s question is formal, σύ will be without emphasis…but if he is being sarcastic, σύ will have the sense, “Are you, of all people, the king of the Jews?”

Some commentators supporting no emphasis tend to see a direct parallel between Pilate’s question (Su ei . . . ) and Jesus’ response (Su legeis . . . ), therefore construing that if emphasis (“You!”) is understood with Pilate, then Jesus was similarly snarky in return, which is then deemed untenable; however, as Lidija Novakovic remarks (John 11—21: A Handbook on the Greek Text, BHGNT [Waco, TX: Baylor UP, 2020]) regarding Jesus’ response: σὺ [su] is contrastive, distinguishing Pilate from others . . . (p 239).  (Novakovic is non-committal regarding su in John 18:33 [p 238], though.) In all those supporting emphasis there are slight variations as to the reasoning, but most agree Pilate’s surprise relates to fathoming Jesus as king. There is the possibility that Pilate was expecting—at least in part—an individual with more striking physical features, such as being taller in height, handsomer, etc., which then elicited his surprise. See below.
4 J. Alec Motyer, Isaiah: An Introduction and Commentary, TOTC (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999), p 377.
5 That is, the description here could provide a graphic description of the ‘slain Lamb’ of Revelation 5:6 (cf. John 1:29) instead of the earthly Jesus in his usual appearance. See, e.g., G. K. Beale & Sean M. McDonough, “Revelation” in Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, G. K. Beale & D. A. Carson, eds. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007): The Isa. 53 background especially highlights the atoning aspect of the lamb’s sacrificial death and also applies the metaphor’s “root” (cf. Rev. 5:5) and “lamb” to the sacrificial victim. In fact, “root” also occurs in Isa. 11:1, 10 (alluded to in Rev. 5:5), which may have inspired attraction to the same metaphor in 53:2 (p 1101). Cf. Craig L. Blomberg, “Matthew” in Beale & Carson, who describes, the servant’s disfigured appearance (p 31).
6 Mikeal C. Parsons, Body and Character in Luke and Acts: The Subversion of Physiognomy in Early Christianity (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2006 / Waco, TX: Baylor UP, 2011). The Baylor appears to be a straight reissue of the Baker. All references below will refer to the original Baker issue. (See my review of this work here.) Parsons’ main thesis is that Luke/Acts illustrates the reversal of physiognomic thought as “Luke presumes physiognomic principles only to overturn them by story’s end” (p 15).
7 Here Parsons references Lev 21 and its requirements for both sacrifice and priest (p 40), noting how some construe the lack of corresponding moral requirements to go with the physical in Lev 21:16-18 as implying “a connection between the outward and the inward” (p 41).
8 Parsons, pp 39-40. The author also uses King David (1 Sam 16:12) and Absalom (2 Sam 14:25) as examples (p 40).
9 Parsons, pp 42-45.
10 Parsons, pp 17-37.
11 Parsons, p 17.
12 Parsons, p 14. I note that this is not foreign to modern culture, as evidenced, e.g., in the band Talking Heads’ track “Seen and Not Seen” (from the 1980 Remain in Light), in which the narrator wishes to change his facial features by consciously adapting his thoughts, assuming others shared this same ability.
13 Parsons, 18-37.
14 John Granger Cook, The Interpretation of the New Testament in Greco-Roman Paganism (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2002).
15 Cook, p 35.
16 I draw these inferences from the way Cook frames some of his statements (p 35, 48), but particularly his quote of Celsus—which follows in the main text above—as viewed through the lens of the pervasive influence of physiognomy.
17 Eugene V. Gallagher, Divine Man or Magician: Celsus and Origen on Jesus (Chico, CA: Publishers Press, 1982), p 122, as cited in Cook, p 48.
18 See the corresponding verbiage in the main text of note 15, and see note 16 and its corresponding text.
19 Cook, p 35. Though Cook does not place child of God in quotes, I understand Celsus’ use here as sarcasm, since it is obvious he deemed Jesus unworthy to be a son of god or a king; and, therefore, my quotes are to indicate this cynicism. See also the comments relating to Origen’s Against Celsus in Claudio Moreschini and Enrico Norelli’s Early Christian Greek and Latin Literature: A Literary History: Volume One (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2005): Celsus . . . criticized the idea of a descent (future for Jews, past for Christians) of a Son of God to earth, for this contradicts the very nature of God by attributing a change to him (p 291). Given such an a priori view (mistaken as it is), Celsus clearly does not grant ‘Son of God’ status to Jesus.
20 Cook, p 35.
21 This is my extrapolation of Cook (p 35) here given his earlier quote of Celsus’ “ . . . and ignoble” (see content referenced at note 15 above).
22 Cook, p 35.
23 Psalm 45:2 is variously translated in the English versions; however, the first part of the verse, which includes “handsome” in some versions, is not quoted or alluded to in the NT—as far as I’ve determined. The latter part of the verse (with “grace” or “gracious”) may be alluded to in Luke 4:22, though. Thus, I infer the possibility of this pertaining to Jesus only insofar as the citing/allusion to other verses in Psalm 45 (6-7) in the context of Hebrews 1:8-9 (See George H. Guthrie, “Hebrews” in Beale & Carson, pp 937, 939). And even if it does apply to Jesus, then it must be post-resurrection, as per the Hebrews context (1:3ff).
24 The words homoios and hōs are synonymous; in fact John uses the latter quite a bit in vv 13-16. John also uses homoios huios anthrōpou in Rev 14:14.
25 For more explanation on this, see ‘Son of Man’ in the LXX here.
26 In other words, these lack both Greek articles—one before huios (“son”) and one before anthrōpou (“man”), in comparison with the other occurrences in the NT where Jesus self-references as the Son of [the] Man during his earthly ministry. Relatedly, I have argued extensively that this same non-particularized huios anthrōpou in John 5:27 is meant to indicate “son of man”, aka “human” in that context in order to tie it to Daniel 7:13 and Rev 1:13; 14:14: see The Son of God Given Authority to Judge Because He is ‘Human’: A Study in John 5:27, pt 4 and pt 5.
27 And the latter part of 19:16 is parallel to 14:14, and 19:11-16 has other points of contact with 14:14-20.


26 Responses to Jesus’ Kingly Appearance

  1. Jim says:

    What made you turn to this thought Craig?

    I recall vividly being very impacted as a teen by Robert Powell’s portrayal of the title role in Jesus of Nazareth. There was a highly emotive music score, and Powell had these gaunt cheek bones and piercing gaze. As with nearly all film versions picturing Christ, he usually is dressed in a unique coloured robe to set him apart from the crowd, but I think he would have blended in very easily, of course. In fact, there are several scriptures that describe how he slipped away from persecuting crowds, and whilst some of that may have been supernatural, I think also that he was simply a very ordinary man, all but invisible unless preaching in a boat or a rocky pinnacle.

    I secretly wonder if he had any male pattern baldness going on too, as I give myself a number zero buzz cut every week or so 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Craig says:

      Like many of my articles, it evolved over time. Back when Leftists, etc. were destroying ‘Christian’ statues, though I was against the destruction, I also questioned the Biblical legitimacy of erecting a Jesus statue in the first place, and I pointed out how many are just not historically accurate (White, European), which can lead to unnecessary divisiveness. (I posted many thoughts in this vein on another blog.) I was going to write an article refuting Jesus statues generally by using the RCC’s own Cathechism–its internal illogic (and it is) and how it violates Chalcedon, essentially devolving into Nestorianism (these statues are presumably depicting Jesus in his humanity; however, this implicitly denies his inherent divinity // OTOH, if humanity/deity is affirmed, then the statue is of God, which is a violation of the Ten Commandments). But I never did.

      Then, as I had been working (and continuing to work) on an article requiring quite a bit of analysis, I thought I’d write one on the historical Jesus’ physical features. I thought it’d be relatively short and easy. As I started writing, it evolved quite a bit!

      I had intended to center it on Isa 53:2 as a basis for Jesus’ average ME looks; and I considered Pilate and Saul, figuring to work them in. Yet I later recalled Parsons’ excellent work on physiognomy and decided to reread sections of that book. Then I recalled Cook’s book in which Celsus severely criticized Christianity and I wondered if he’d made a judgment regarding Jesus’ physical appearance. Well, of course, he had (I didn’t catch that before). So I connected the prevalent physiognomic thought as the likely means by which Celsus’ arrived at his conclusions (an admitted extrapolation, noted in the footnotes).

      You’ve spelled baldness wrong; it’s badness! (OK, full disclosure: I saw that on someone else’s blog years ago.) I still have a fairly good head of hair, but than again I’m “small and ugly”. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Craig says:

    As I was translating Revelation 19:15 I came across something that really opened my eyes to the shepherd-staff idea. That is, the image of a shepherd usually includes a man holding a staff with which to guide the sheep (herding the sheep with his staff). In Scripture the verb form “to shepherd” is also used (Matt 2:6; Acts 20:28; 1Peter 5:2)—though sometimes (frustrating to me) translated in English versions as a noun instead (thereby losing its force).

    The word for “staff” is found in contexts sometimes not related to sheep (Matt 10:10/Mark 6:8; Heb 9:4). In Revelation 12:5 we find both words: a male child will shepherd with a staff of iron. This same imagery is found in 19:15: He will shepherd them with an iron staff. In other words, these passages retain the image of Jesus as shepherd (sheep-herder) using a “staff”, though transforming it. That is, we will all be ‘shepherded’ by Jesus one way or the other! Willingly or unwillingly.

    It seems to me that many English translations ‘over-translate’, thereby glossing over these important metaphors!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Jim says:

    Thanks for explaining the background in detail Craig.

    To your second comment on Rev 19:15 and ‘shepherd’ for ‘rule’, you’ll no doubt know the same word is used in Eph 4:11 where it is translated ‘pastors’. I believe church would be a whole lot more like Jesus intended if its leadership were less pastoring (ruling) from the front and more shepherding from the back, using the staff to keep the flock from going over a cliff as opposed to hitting it on the head for not eating the ‘right’ grass!

    As far as our appearance is concerned, thankfully we all have our blemishes, foibles, cracks and creases to keep us humble (as long as we accept them that way and don’t follow the never ending pursuit of unachievable perfection). Dealing with the genes we’re given is part of life’s richness but it’s our character that, I think, is of the highest concern to God.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Craig says:

      Amen! to your second paragraph (after the one-sentence one). We Westerners put too much emphasis on the “Pastor”, as if he (she) defines each congregation. And, though I think there is right and wrong grass, I think the grass we are to eat is much more diverse than what some others rigidly think.

      Physical traits are mere appearances. But the diversity keeps things interesting. Who’d want everyone looking the same?

      BTW, I hope you caught some of my puns. I use these things to try to take the weight off serious subjects. These include in the dark, on its face, catch a glimpse, eye of the beholder, and my favorite physiognomy rears its ugly head. That last one came to me near the final revision. And this one also came in final editing: And while the NT is silent regarding Jesus’ physical features during his earthly ministry, a few NT texts feature descriptions of a post-glorified Jesus. (I even used the word “snarky” in the footnotes.)

      Liked by 2 people

    • Craig says:

      BTW, Dave Cullen aka Computing Forever on YouTube–the one whose video I used on the post Yes, This is a Spiritual Battle–has had his channel removed from YouTube. (And others have around the same time.) I replaced the deleted vlog on that post with his mirrored vlog on BitChute.

      He talks about his banning here:

      I’ve been watching his vlogs off and on for about 5 years now. Though I think he’s bit off on his Christian views, I was delighted to learn of his profession when it occurred about a year ago. It seemed to me he’d been inching that way for a while. So, recognizing that he is a new believer, I cut him some slack for his views.


    • Craig says:


      Here’s something for your son. Chick Corea in a duo with Anthony Braxton. Corea during his most avante garde period. Their unison playing in Braxton’s knotty ‘theme’ (opening and closing the piece) is pretty amazing:

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Craig says:

    It seems my computer is spying on me. Nonetheless, this (which came to me from Academia today as part of my daily emails from the site) helps to confirm my case that Isaiah 53:2 in not quoted in the NT. And it looks like an interesting article:

    Liked by 1 person

  5. SLIMJIM says:

    You’ve really thought through this and also found quite some fascinating extra-biblical information! You’ve given Scripture, extra-biblical primary sources and secondary sources. I do think Jesus look “normal” during His days such a way that people were unimpressed because of their false expectation. Good post brother

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Craig says:

    And, relatedly…


  7. Craig says:

    Glad to ‘see’ that!


  8. Hey, Craig!

    After rereading your post, I couldn’t help but to contrast David’s appearance with that of Messiah. In Samuel’s own eyes, Eliab, David’s eldest brother was the Lord’s choice for king. As such, the Lord responded to Samuel saying, “do not look [hiphil, imperfect, 2ms could be translated, “do not cause yourself to look”] on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him [qal, perfect, 1cs 3ms suffix—complete rejection of Eliab for king]. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Sam 16:7 ESV, “Lord sees” and both “looks” are the same Hebrew word, qal, imperfect 3ms). God is truly other!

    Now, David on the other hand “was ruddy with beautiful eyes and best appearance“ (16:12 my translation). David, young and handsome is the one who fights Goliath and through whom Messiah would come, as the fulfillment of the Davidic covenant (2 Sam 7). While David was handsome and a mighty warrior, Messiah wields no sword as He IS the sword (great job with Rev 19 by the way!). The more I think about your post the more I think the Divine Author most likely kept human authors from accentuating Messiah’s appearance so as to not create a caricature of Jesus’s appearance as you state. I still think the reason the disciples did not recognize Jesus when He revealed His Resurrected self was because He was beaten so badly, they could not process/reconcile this complete, total, glorified healing.

    The Davidic covenant originated with a young and handsome king with multiple wives and concubines, was fulfilled by a plain/humble, single GodMan who was beaten beyond recognition, died a criminal’s death on the cross who 3 days later rose from the grave, defeating pain, death and hell itself.

    As people scorned the coming Messiah in David’s day, they scorned Messiah during His time on earth and are scorning Him now, I am thankful there will be a day, which is growing ever closer where we “will see [our] King in His beauty, and [we] will be glad forever” (Thomas R. Schreiner, The King in His Beauty: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013), 646).

    Thank you Craig for this amazing and life-giving post! I will definitely be doing more work on this for myself, so thank you again!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Craig says:

      Good observations on 1 Sam 16:7! I see the LXX retains the same parallelism in the verb for “see” also.

      I like Schreiner. I have his BECNT in hard copy–got it cheap locally because the spine is damaged. I also recalled using his thoughts on John 14:12 in the comments accompany an article I wrote almost 10 years ago (I can’t believe I remembered that!):

      Click to access John14_12.pdf

      Liked by 1 person

      • I will confess, while I have a bunch of his writings and like to listen to his teachings on YouTube, I am not a CT girl. Looking forward to reading this, thanks for the link!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Craig says:

          For me, I just glean the insights of every writer I come across, without focusing on their theological slants. Everyone I read, without exception, has views, exegetical ideas, etc. that differ from my own, but I just take the good stuff. Even Bultmann had some great insights–though other very strange ideas. But if a given author is good on the basics, then it’s all good with me!

          Liked by 1 person

        • I hear what you’re saying on “tak[ing] the good stuff.” To help me discern this, every thing I read is filtered through, “what does the author believe?” I also check who is endorsing the book as well as the publisher. Whether it’s a “news” piece or a Zondervan commentary. There are some folks I have a harder time finding the good with. I have been subjected to more Moltmann and Pannenberg then I would prefer!

          Liked by 1 person

  9. tanyadee4 says:


    Liked by 1 person

  10. Craig says:

    Thanks for reading Tanya!


    • Craig says:

      For those interested in the Greek, Dr. Rob Plummer introduced Novakovik’s two-volume in the Baylor Handbook on the Greek New Testament (BHGNT) series. Though I think he’s largely correct in his comparison of this series with the Exegetical Guide the Greek New Testament (EGGNT), he misses a few important points. Two of these are: (a) the fact that the BHGNT dispenses with the category of deponency (explained in the Series Introduction section), and (b) the series, though providing the authors leeway, tends towards explaining verbal aspect and discourse analysis–things that Murray’s EGGNT on John (and the series in general) largely does not address.

      This blog post references both works (Novakovik and Murray) in footnote 3.


  11. Pingback: Not Declining the Divine Name? | CrossWise

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