During a recent children’s activity one of the little boys asked his teacher if Jesus’ eyes were blue. The question amuses, but it addresses some deeper considerations that may normally be overlooked. What did Jesus look like?
No pictures of Jesus were ever taken. If any paintings or drawings of Jesus were made while He was on earth they have long been lost. Archeology has found no first century busts of Jesus and no texts describing His appearance. Much European art depicting Jesus is demonstrably inaccurate. Jesus was not European. The more He looks like King Arthur, the less accurate the image is likely to be. Other people groups have depicted Jesus in their own unique style and have fallen into the same errors as the Europeans. This author has seen images of Jesus with distinctively African features, including very dark skin, and of Asian Jesus’, including epicanthic folds. Jesus was not European, African or Asian.
The Bible gives a few descriptions of Jesus that guide our speculations of what He looked like. Jesus had a beard. Isaiah 50:6 prophesied that the Messiah would allow His abusers to pluck out His beard. Jesus was average looking. Isaiah 53:2 indicates that the Messiah would not be spectacular looking or exceptionally handsome. Nothing about Jesus’ appearance attracted others to Him.
Most importantly, the Bible plainly declares Jesus to be a Jewish man. Consequently, He would have had the features, skin, hair and eye coloring typical of an Israelite. A broad range of skin, hair and eye coloring can be found in any people group, but Jesus was most likely dark skinned (though not “black”), with dark hair and dark eyes. This is not at all certain, but Jesus most likely looked like an average Jesus man.
This question is important because Jesus was fully God and fully human. As a human Jesus descended from David, Judah, Jacob and Abraham. He was as genetically Jewish as any other Israelite. He might even have resembled His mother’s side of the family. Though blue eyes can be found in modern day Jews, Jesus probably did not have blue eyes.