Did you know Jesus' appearance was prophesied about? See what the Bible says about his appearance and how he may not be what Hollywood often portrays.


Jesus Was Not Good-Looking, and That’s a Relief to Me

Chris Pennington

Listen Now 8 mins

Is blush a product - or a brand? Asking for a friend who definitely wasn’t middle school me.

I was a typical 13-year-old guy back in the day. I had a lot of friends, was decent at sports, and could play the violin well enough to sit in the second row.

But I had a consistent tumultuous situation on my hands. I couldn’t grab the attention of any girl.

And desperate times call for desperate measures of makeup, right? No girl was noticing me, so I had to up my game in any way I could through cool skater shoes, khaki shorts, and Justin-Bieber-styled flow. And furthermore, if I had even a speck of acne on my face, I couldn’t afford for it to be noticed.

Hence the blush(?), via rummaging in my mom’s medicine cabinet.

Jesus Was Not Good Looking

And this theme - not the makeup phase, which really was only one time - carried on for a while. I always seemed to have an insecurity about my looks - and the significance that they held in my standing and reputation in life. Because it seems that no matter what age you are, the most successful people are the ones that could double as a Vogue model or a Taylor Swift backup dancer, right?

But I never thought it was a groundbreaking issue or that I was one of ‘those’ self-obsessed people until I noticed how I would look myself up and down every seven-ish minutes in the mirror at the gym. And as I started to reflect, I realized the physical fine-tuning was stressing me out, and the reward of keeping every hair combed and every bit of acne erased was not worth the anxiety and fear accompanying.

I knew I had a problem (or was just like most people - someone who wanted to look good and was feeling the pressure of it). And over the years, I have found relief from this pattern. While I’m still working to grow more every day in this area, I have found a peace that has radically changed my perspective on appearance (and how often I check that mirror).

What Did Jesus Look Like?

And what helped kickstart it was reading what the Bible tells us Jesus looked like - did you know it did that? Here’s a verse from Isaiah in the Old Testament of the Bible, prophesying about the physical qualities of Jesus:

He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.” (Isaiah 53:2)

(By the way, if you were to ask me in middle school, that’s what I would’ve thought every girl was saying about me behind my back)

Jesus Was Not Good Looking

Wait a minute - Jesus? Not attractive? Why, then, has every show or movie about Him portrayed him as a glowing, symmetrically-faced demi-god? Forget that they also make Him Caucasian—which is not historically accurate—why is he usually a pretty stunning-looking fella in Hollywood depictions?

I guess it only affirms further how our society holds an ungodly (pun intended) value on physical attraction - and the reinforcement that anyone worth following better be able to walk down a runway as well as they are able to be a leader of people.

The Attractiveness of Attraction

And this is a lie that I’ve bought into myself for a lot of my life - not that being physically attractive doesn’t draw people into a person (because research shows it does) or that it’s bad to be physically attractive - but that it’s either the only quality that matters or is the main one that matters.

I’m mortified reflecting on how much (in)security I’ve put in my own level of attraction (or unattraction). I have found myself at times thinking that how my hair looks or being at the right body fat percentage supersedes the way I love people and how I use my giftings - that my impact is dependent upon how I’m viewed physically, first and foremost.

And I’ll admit, of course, not all of my physical care and worry is for ‘holy’ reasons. Sometimes I just want to look better or a certain way because that feels pretty darn good.

Jesus Was Not Good Looking

But by taking one look at Jesus’ impact - I can see how these are all empty and unhealthy efforts at fulfillment and influence. Because if we are going off that prophecy from Isaiah being fulfilled, we assume Jesus was an average-looking fellow. Not necessarily ugly (though he could have been), but certainly was not America’s Next Top Model.

And yet, he is the most famous person in the history of the world.

According to some algorithms, he actually is. Time was constructed around him. More books have been written and printed about him than in the history of the world. Over 2.38 billion people claim to be religiously dedicated to him.

And apparently, the man was as average looking as Benedict Cumberbatch (I’m a big Doctor Stange guy, by the way, so no shade is being thrown here).

Why Did Jesus Choose to Look Average?

And due to the fact that He’s God, I’m sure he could have made himself pretty attractive, right? I mean, if I were God, I’m sure that’s what I would have done. I would make myself look as gorgeous as possible to draw all eyes to me - and then boom, I share some eternal truth that changes the course of human history. Full-proof, right?

If He, ya know, really wanted to make an impact, why wouldn’t Jesus have done that? If this were Madden, it’d be as if He boosted all his stats up to 99 but kept physical attractiveness at a cool 73.

But the more I thought about it…it makes sense he’d choose this route. A man who constantly speaks of humility…the meek inheriting the earth…he’d probably want to show that the world could be changed with a simple message of love, and it didn’t matter how attractive the person sharing it was.

It aligns so much with the character of Himself, too. He didn’t step onto the stage of earth and wow people with charm and looks. He came lowly, born out of poverty, living without a home for the peak years of his ministry, and wasn’t concerned with achieving the high statuses that are so tempting for those with a massive amount of followers.

God affirms this principle in his own words in another book in the Old Testament:

But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.’” (1 Samuel 16:7)

Jesus came. He looked like every other ordinary guy. He loved people. He changed everything.


Because love was His biggest weapon against evil and for good, not his beauty or lack thereof.

The Freedom of Less Mirror-Gazing

I wonder what it would look like to live my life with such confidence in my spiritual presence - and not my attractive presence. I’d save a lot of money not buying so many True Classic t-shirts (the dubbed “push-up bra for men”), that’s for sure.

Not that I believe it’s wrong to work out, try to look presentable or be an attractive person. When I or someone else clearly puts no effort into their hygiene or wardrobe, it can certainly be a negative distraction to those around them.

But where is my heart in this? Do I believe God’s movement in my life is not dependent upon how I look physically to others (because clearly, it didn’t matter that much for his)?

What if I walked into a room with the goal to impact others with my love and believed that that power was enough, that it didn’t need to be padded with a good hair day to be legitimate?

Jesus Was Not Good Looking

I’m taking this to God in prayer, to be sure. That I’d grow less of an attachment every day to how my physical self looks and more of an attachment to what my spiritual self looks.

And to take the risk, which sounds pretty freeing, to not have to check the mirror every seven minutes, and instead, count God’s love as my greatest gift to offer those around me.

Because Jesus was not good looking, and that’s a relief to me.


Disclaimer: This article is 100% human-generated.

Chris Pennington
Meet the author

Chris Pennington

Hi. I'm Chris. I'd like to think I'm an open book, which usually consists of useless hockey knowledge, Cajun food and a love of cats. Ask me about the time I broke the law to meet LeBron.

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