Summary: Rembrandt’s depictions of Jesus were even more controversial in the 17 century. His familiarity with the Jewish community in his native Netherlands moved him to paint Jesus with a Jewish appearance. People were shocked! Jesus looking Jewish?


Text: Luke 19:28-44


1. Have you heard of the controversial exhibit at the Detroit Institute of art?

2. It is the Rembrandt and the Face of Christ exhibit.

3. Rembrandt’s depictions of Jesus were even more controversial in the 17 century.

4. His familiarity with the Jewish community in his native Netherlands moved him to paint Jesus with a Jewish appearance.

5. People were shocked!

6. Jesus looking Jewish?

7. They saw Jesus in the art of the time portrayed as Caucasian.

8. It’s amazing how in every age, people misunderstood Christ.

9. Instead of struggling to be transformed into the image of Christ, they worked to transform Christ into an image of themselves.

10. Graphically it is most evident when we look at the historical depictions of Jesus.

11. Artists have traditionally painted Jesus as similar to the people around the artist at the time or around popular theological conceptions of Jesus.

12. At the height of the Black Power movement there were those who portrayed Jesus as a black revolutionary raising a rebellious fist in defiance of the political powers of his time.

13. In the 60’s when the hippy revolution arose, unwashed, robed and be-sandaled drop out, non-conformists portrayed Jesus as just like them.

14. After all Jesus wore sandals and a robe and had long hair. That was certainly was non-conformist.

15. Non-Conformist? Everyone wore sandals robes. And no one knows how long his hair was.

16. So, what did Jesus look like?

17. No one knows there are only three possible references to his looks.

Isaiah 53:2 (NIV) He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

Luke 2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.

John 18:4-5 4 Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” 5 They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.

We shouldn’t be surprised at this. Even while Jesus was on the Earth, people misunderstood him and tried to pour him into their own mold.

18. It is apparent from these passages he was of ordinary appearance to the first century Jews.

19. Question – Why doesn’t the Bible tell us what Jesus looked Like?

20. Because it shouldn’t matter to us.

Deuteronomy 29:29 “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

2 Peter 1:3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,

21. God doesn’t care what we look like. He cares that we think speak and act like Jesus.

1 John 2:6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

John 13:15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.

1 Peter 2:21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.

Jesus has shown us that what matters is our hearts our words and our deeds.

Matthew 15:15-20 15 But Peter said to him, “Explain the parable to us.” 16 And he said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17 Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? 18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. 20 These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.”

22. Our text today is an example of this.

23. Many misunderstand Jesus.

I. We find some examples of people misunderstanding Jesus on the day of the Triumphal Entry.

A. Jesus was misunderstood as King (19:28-36).

B. It was believed Jesus would use His power and might to restore Israel as an independent nation.

C. Look at the display of power and authority in this passage:

Luke 19:30 saying, “Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here.

1. Have you ever tried or have you seen someone who tried to ride a colt that has never been ridden before?

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