Sugar-coated Jesus

Sentimental Jesus
There are far too many of saccharine Jesus paintings around –  they don’t really fit the most vivid biblical description of Jesus. When I read the following I think a more earthy and confronting approach is needed for a portrayal of Him.
He has no form or comeliness;
And when we see Him,
There is no beauty that we should desire Him.
He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted…
I want to go home and start painting!

6 thoughts on “Sugar-coated Jesus

  1. “There is no beauty that we should desire him” sets the imagination to wandering! I have raised this point in the past and it has not gone over well. People want a happy Jesus who looks like them–well-groomed and white. It also cracks me up that most of these picture Jesus with long hair, which wouldn’t be allowed on men in many churches who have these pictures!

  2. That’s a painting I definitely hope you’ll post !

    I’m reminded that one Spanish paraphrase Bible says in the narrative of Jesus’ trial and beating something to the effect that “His face looked like hamburger.” No beauty and no sugar-coating there !

  3. When I finally had the chance to attempt the painting I had trouble getting what I wanted onto the canvas and like always, the intended painting took a different direction. I’ll have to give it another try over the weekend.

    The closest I’ve come in the past is this one:

  4. I’ve also heard of bible colleges that wouldn’t allow their male students to have beards.
    Clearly Jesus and most other Biblical men wouldn’t have been welcome in those colleges.

  5. Hey, wakarusa…

    I had been thinking the beauty and desire could have more to do with power and strength, what were most useful in ancient times (and what Jesus set aside for a time). Then, after reading your post, I also rethought the story of Jesus talking to his disciples after he’d risen. They didn’t recognize him at first; and this can seem like he changed (variously, depending on the inclinations of a congregation or denomination or movement) to be more glorious or even yet to have a spiritual body (or that he’d only had a spiritual body before), or just that he’d changed to be somewhat different in the flesh than he had been. But he probably rose with scarring not only in his hands and side but disfiguring his features (which wouldn’t have been completely alien in those brutal days). Thank you for your translation sharing from Spanish.

    And he was considered “smitten, stricken by God.”

  6. Steve, I’ve been working on an anti-saccharine portrait of Jesus and I’m quite pleased with how it’s going. I hope to have it finished within the next week (unless the painting is spoiled by regrettable artistic choices that don’t work out).

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