Artists have tried to capture his likeness for 2000 years.

If you will Google “What did Jesus look like?” you will find many images of him created out of thin air and produced by the faithful over the many centuries.

There are some Biblical hints that tell us something about the appearance of Jesus.

We begin with full confidence in the basic Christian Theology that he was fully God and yet fully man, with all of the limitations that are implied by this condition.

We do know the following about him from the Bible account:

  • He had a great voice that could project to thousands of people from a boat to a crowd dispersed along a shoreline.  He could be heard over the sound of a gale.
  • He needed to bath regularly and wash his feet and also to eliminate waste, a picture that is hard for us to imagine but is nevertheless true.
  • He had all of the urges of a normal man but never gave in to sinful thoughts or actions.
  • He wore a beard
  • His hair was worn long.
  • He enjoyed a party and good food and good wine and was the center of attention at such.
  • He loved children.
  • He had a dark complexion typical of that time and place. He was a Semite.
  • Nothing remarkable about his weight or height that we can detect.
  • He had a commanding presence. People immediately responded to him either positively or negatively, and some strong men, when invited, immediately abandoned businesses and family to follow him.
  • He wore sandals and a loose cloak typical of his day. Probably wore a fringed prayer shawl, the mark of a rabbi.
  • He was in good health and never seemed to complain about normal illness although he did get weary, physically and mentally, from too much crowd exposure, and did seek solitude from time to time.
  • He enjoyed people and was not deterred by crowds.
  • He was not repelled by the terrible diseases and disfigurement that he saw in those he healed. He saw beyond their repulsive appearance and odor and had compassion and healed them.

But is there anything more that we can know about the physical appearance of Jesus?

 What about the Shroud of Turin?                    

Is it possible that a photograph actually exists of Jesus in death?

Is that really seriously possible or just a cruel hoax to fool people of faith?

There seems to be increasing evidence that this ancient relic, housed in a church in Italy, is in fact the genuine thing, the grave cloth that Jesus was wrapped in after the crucifixion.

Scholarly debate continues and there is still division on this question, but a growing consensus is developing in its favor.

I for one am convinced as to its authenticity.

In 1988, carbon 14 tests were performed on some of the fibers taken from the shroud and they were determined to be rather recent age and go back only to the Middle Ages.

This evidence brought the case for the authenticity of the shroud into question.                                                                                                            

Additional testing has now been done using very sophisticated tests including ultra red light and Raman spectroscopy multi parametric testing of tiny fibers.

This is reported in a recent book, The Mystery of the Shroud, by Guilo Fanti, the scientist in charge of these new tests, and is published in Italian.

These new tests dispute the earlier results and place the date of the shroud as between 200 BC and 400 AD, well within the range of time of the life of Jesus.

USA Today reported on this news  3/30/2013

“New scientific tests on the shroud of Turin…….dates the cloth to ancient times, challenging earlier experiments dating it only to the Middle Ages”

Admittedly its  history has some gaps and it cannot be tracked back to the first century without interruptions. References to its existence come and go throughout history.

It appears to have come from the region of Palestine as seeds found buried in it are consistent with that region.

The weave of the cloth is also consistent with that period of time.

It has been treasured for many centuries and that in and of itself is an important indicator. Having been treasured for centuries alone would not be sufficient proof inasmuch as the Middle Ages are replete with purported pieces of the “true cross” and all sorts of religious goble de gloop. But this long history of respect and reverence does support the fact that it has been considered very special for many centuries and the question remains as to why that should be so.


It was not until the advent of modern photography that the image on the shroud was at all clear and recognizable.

That image cannot be made out with any clarity with just the naked eye.

But when a photograph was first taken of the shroud, then suddenly, the NEGATIVE image (Not the positive image)  jumped out and the negative image could now be obviously seen as that of a person in death, one that had died a terrible death.

After observing the negative image, the following becomes very apparent about the person whose death is recorded in the impression here: the wounds that leaked serum onto the shroud exactly mirrored the description of the condition of the body of Jesus after the crucifixion: wounds to the wrists, and the ankles from the nails, to the side from the spear wound, from puncture wounds to the head from the thorns and from the multiple wounds caused by the Roman flogging even to the shape of the pieces of iron on the ends of the whips.

But maybe it is just a very clever fraud??

That suspicion exists and must be addressed.

Some have also suggested that it was an image that was carefully painted on the cloth.

Is that possible?

More information as an update

Important: There is no evidence to support the charge that this image was painted on the cloth.

In fact the evidence points the opposite way.

The image is only lightly adhered to the fabric and is not soaked into the fabric as would be expected if it were painted on the cloth.

The image is so fragile that it could easily be erased and lost by careless treatment. It is clearly not a painting.

So the claim of skeptics that it was painted on does not hold water.

In order to substantiate that explanation you would have to imagine an artist who lived maybe 1900 years ago, going about creating this as a hoax while avoiding the evidence that paint would have left.  He would not have been able to see what he was leaving on the fabric as its image is so very faint.

And so the really big question is how could he create this negative image that he could not even see, and if it started out as a painting then why not make it more recognizable to observers and thus increase its notice and veneration by the faithful? .

There would be no reason in a pre photographic era to make the image  faint and indistinguishable.

So the really big question then is, how then did the faint image on the shroud  come about if it is really sort of a photograph of Jesus in death?

One thought is: Consider the nature of the resurrection of Jesus and what that must have looked like to an observer.

Imagine that you were there sitting by the body when this occurred.

In a split second, a blinding flash of light as bright as the sun occurred. The shroud enclosed body, passed through the fabric of the death shroud that then slowly collapsed and was later found lying intact.

Perhaps a moment of intense radiation and light?

If the resurrection is a fact and it was a clearly supernatural event, then this explanation would make sense.

A heat induced impression such as this of that incredible moment could well have burned into the fabric the image we are now able to see, through the modern magic of photography.

Makes sense to me.

Look at this image and make up your own mind now that you have learned some of the facts.

Not so crazy sounding now as you may have thought when I introduced this subject here is it?

At my    page you can find all of the special articles I have been writing to keep my friends up to speed on all things holy land related. Please consider liking my page. Also please consider actually accompanying me on one of our 2014 departures for the Holy Land.


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