WHAT DID YESHUA LOOK LIKE? – July 2005

God was manifested in the flesh, and great is this mystery!  When you imagine and think of what Yeshua the Messiah/Jesus Christ looked like as a man, what images come to your mind?  Most of us have seen many different paintings and drawings of Messiah done by many artists throughout much of the history of the last two thousand years.  There have been many actors who have played the part of Jesus in plays and movies.  We see Jesus dressed in various styles of clothing; His skin color in varying shades of darkness or lightness.  His hair is nearly always thin and straight – but maybe it was black, thick and curly — and a length that most people would consider “long”.  His eyes are sometimes black, sometimes blue.  We would probably picture Yeshua as being physically strong, but not muscular:  He walked a lot of miles (kilometers and furlongs), and He had the strength of the Son of God to pull up Peter from deep water while He Himself was standing on the water!

What does the Word of God have to tell us about the appearance of Yeshua of Nazareth when He was here the first time as a flesh and blood Man?  Not too much, really.  Jesus belonged to the tribe of Judah, born of a Jewish mother in Israel, situated on the western edge of Asia in the Middle East of today.  The apostles and writers of the New Testament accounts say virtually nothing about His physical appearance – whether of Himself or compared to anyone else.  (They speak much about His excellent and perfect moral character and conduct!)  As the son of David, was He ruddy and good-looking, like David (1Sam 16:12), or like the “beloved” in the Song of Songs (5:10)?  Yeshua probably had a beard.  The prophet Isaiah tells us that “He has no form or comeliness, and when we see Him, no beauty that we should desire Him.” (53:2)

Jesus, being the perfect Lamb of God who alone sacrificed Himself for our sins, would have been without blemish or defect, both physically and spiritually (Lev 1:10; 21:17-23; 1Sam 16:7; Heb 4:15).  In that Jesus pleased God His Father in all things because He loved Him (Jn 8:29), we can be sure that He did not tattoo His body or style His hair in strange ways like the heathen do (Lev 19:27-28; 21:5).  Yeshua would not have intentionally balded Himself.  For YHVH God has called His people to be holy, because He is holy.

Speaking of hair, is there anything in the Bible which sheds light on the length of Messiah’s hair?  As mentioned above, when people are asked to describe Jesus, almost always one of the first things they say is that he had long hair.  But did He?  Nazarites had long hair when they were under the vow (Num 6:1-5), but Yeshua was not a Nazarite (nazir נזיר) in the legal sense.  Yeshua drank wine and grape juice (Lk 7:34; Mk 14:23-25).  Yeshua is the Nazarene (netzer  נצר) (Mt 2:23), the chosen Son of David who is greater than David’s son (Is 11:1; Lk 20:41-44).  The Holy Spirit – the same Spirit of God who conceived Yeshua in Mary’s womb and with Whom He was filled the whole rest of His birth and life, and Who rested upon Him at His baptism – inspired the Apostle Paul to write in his letter to the Corinthian believers (1Cor 11:14) that long hair on a man is a dishonor to him.  Surely the Holy Spirit is not going to be calling long hair on a man dishonorable if the Lord Jesus Himself had long hair!

In addition, the Old Testament tells us by the same inspiration of the Holy Spirit that the priests of YHVH God are not to shave their heads, nor let their hair grow long and disheveled, but to keep their hair well-trimmed (Ezek 44:20; Lev 21:5).  Yeshua came to fulfill the Word of God His Father.  He did not come to annul but to fulfill the Law and the Prophets, and this will be fully accomplished during the Millennial Kingdom of God on the Earth when Israel – as a people and nation – comes into the New Covenant (Jer 31:31-34) at the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We, who have already entered the New Covenant by faith through the blood of Messiah, and have already received the gift of salvation through the forgiveness of our sins by God, are all priests chosen and sanctified unto the Lord.  In so far as it is possible with us, we are to make choices which please our Father in Heaven, who has shown such love for us, and not take advantage of His grace to look like, dress like, behave like those who do not know Him and Yeshua whom He sent.  This is true for males and females.  All things may be lawful for us, but not always helpful or worthwhile (1Cor 6:12-13; 10:23-24).  Our concern should be: how will my example bring honor to God our Father, to Jesus our Lord and Savior, and to the Holy Spirit.

Yeshua/Jesus is the Son of Man (Ben-HaAdam) (Lk 21:36).  What did He look like when He was here?  No one today really knows for sure, but the clues which have been revealed to us through the Bible do help us to clarify certain points.  Although Yeshua came as the Seed of Abraham and of David – an Israeli Jew – He is also “Everyman”.  He knows and understands every person – male and female of every status and color – from any tribe and ethnic group, and every person from any place at any time can relate to Him as the One who is theirs and they are His (Gal 4:4-7).

This same Yeshua – now seated and described in glory at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty (Hagvurah) in the Heavens (Rev 1:12-18; 5:5-6) – still today either inspires or antagonizes millions of people.  Who is Jesus/Yeshua to you (atah)?  What does He look like to you? (Ps 45:1-4).

BEGINNINGS UNTIL HE COMES: E’S BAPTISM – 16 July 2005

1Cor 15:14-19, 29-34   And if Messiah is not risen then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. . . .Otherwise what will they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all?  Why then are they baptized for the dead?. . .If the dead do not rise, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”  Do not be deceived; “evil company corrupts good habits”.

Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God.  I speak this to your shame.

Today we have been witnesses to the baptisms of E and of L.  As we read in our passage, our baptism into the death of Messiah Jesus testifies to our faith in the unique truth that Jesus was raised from among the dead, in His body, to everlasting life, and we (if we have died) will also rise from among the dead in our bodies in the day of the first resurrection.  This fact – this point of truth – is so central to the Biblical faith in YHVH God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, that without it, life is futile and there would be no reason to live in the fear of God and to do His will. If everyone who ever lived were to be saved, there would no reason for baptism; if there were no resurrection of the body, but rather some so-called ‘soul travel’ or ‘disembodied spirits’, there would be no meaning to immersion.  Baptism into the New Covenant is unique to the faith in the God who took on flesh and blood and died on the cross for our sins and rose again!

Praise God, it is true, and we do not baptize for the dead, but for the First and the Last – who was dead and came to life!  There is a Judgment Day!

Last week I said that God uses our troubles and sufferings in this life to bring us to obey Him, to trust in the love and promises of our Father in Heaven, and to call upon the Lord Jesus Christ to come and bring God’s Kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit to His people and to the world He created.  The Apostle Paul warns us as believers not to be deceived:  if we truly believe in the blood of Jesus crucified for our sin and risen from the dead for our justification before the Holy God, then our lives need to demonstrate this through real changes in our heart, our thinking, our life-style.

When we repent and believe the good news that there is forgiveness of sin and salvation in Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, baptism is actually only our first act of obedience to the faith we have received.  We are born again and begin a process of sanctification to become conformed to the image of being God’s son or daughter, to come to fullness.

Paul says in v. 34 that believers who are not awake, sensible, to righteousness (i.e., believing in Jesus and doing what He says) lack the knowledge of God.  A very practical test of our relationship to the Lord is whether we maintain a high standard of right and wrong, of good and evil, of honor or dishonor to the name of our God and Lord when we are with others – whether believers or unbelievers.  If we see that certain persons or groups of persons succeed consistently to bring us down from the standard of the Holy Spirit as written in the New Testament – if that person or group will not change – then we are to look for other friends and companions!

 Next Thursday evening we will participate in the wedding of Sergei and Stella.  Just as baptism is done once by a believer in the gospel and marks the beginning of a new life with God as Father and with Jesus as Savior and Lord and with other believers as God’s family, so a wedding between a man and a woman is ideally done once, and marks the beginning of a life together which is to prepare us for the wedding and eternal marriage with Yeshua Himself.

Everyone of us here who knows he or she is a son or daughter of God through Messiah Yeshua has a goal in your life:  to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and to learn to obey Him in all areas of life.  As we do this, we will

–evangelize so that others can come home to God our Father in Heaven;
–change our old ways of thinking and behavior;
–take responsibility for our decisions and actions;
–humble ourselves before God and before other people;
–see fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives;
–not stumble in the days of trouble;
–give glory to our wonderful Savior;
–love and anticipate His return to take His Bride and to bring the Kingdom of God to Israel and the rest of the world.

Do not lose hope!  The promise of good things to those who have begun their pilgrimage of faith – like Abraham – will be fulfilled by our faithful God who keeps covenant and ways of righteousness.

1Jn 3:1-3   Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!  Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.  Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.  And everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as He is pure.