Jesus Christ, the one, the only. You’ve heard of him, that’s for sure. In fact, it’s not a stretch to say that Jesus is the most popular person to the history of the world. Sure, he wasn’t popular right out of the gates, judging by the large number of folks who wanted him dead. And succeeded. But since what was literally the greatest comeback of all time, Jesus has been riding the ultimate cool guy wave. People are always writing songs about him, decorating their houses with pictures of him, trying to talk to him. Many years before Jesus was even born, God bet that his son would be so popular that he made a rule that we must have a weekly party in his honor. Major props to Jesus for living up to the hype.
At the same time, Jesus’ reputation is strange given how little we actually know about him. Other than a few cursory mentions in various historical documents and a life story spread across four unimaginatively titled gospels (stop making everything about you, Mark!), all our ideas about Jesus are based on oft-contradicting interpretations. In response, countless forms of Christianity have sprouted up, and millions of people have died in wars defending their self-proclaimed kickass version of Jesus against less “on fleek” versions of Jesus. The conflict continues today. And yet, in nearly every visual representation of Jesus, people can agree on one fundamental truth.
He. Was. Drop. Dead. Sexy.
That’s right. Across centuries and continents, Jesus is always a total hunk. Not quite a 10/10–remember that he was a humble man, after all–but still a solid 8.5. It makes sense if you think about it. He had the toned arms and washboard abs of a carpenter, the dreamy gaze of a man who has seen the face of God himself, and the unmistakeable swagger of a dude who can walk on water. He really took care of himself, too. Jesus was in amazing shape for a guy who could multiply bread and fish whenever he wanted.
It’s almost detrimental for Christianity to have such an attractive savior. Even as a staunch heterosexual, I often found myself distracted in church, and I am sure having images of a divine beefcake all around me didn’t help. Interestingly, Christians’ idea of interior decorating sure do clash with their general opinions of homosexuality. A lot of people wonder what Jesus would tell the gay community if he were here today. I think he’d probably say, “Hey, pal. My eyes are up here!”
Christians might be better off adopting another faith’s portrayal of less handsome divine figures, at least to help us stay focused at important moments. Safer approaches include Buddhism (“How about a laid-back fat guy?”), Hindu (“I just feel like there should be more arms.”), and radical Islam (“Put the damn pencil down!”).
Of course, we base Jesus’ universally-accepted hotness solely on popular depictions. Nowhere does the Bible describe Jesus’s physicality in great detail. Imagine how many problems would be solved if we only had:
“And there in the sands of Galilee, Jesus brought down his staff with a strength matched only by his jawline. His five-foot-eleven frame glided through the doorway of the temple. ‘I am the Son of God,’ he proclaimed with a mouth that had pretty big lips, but looked good on him though. And his beloved disciple John answered, ‘Rabbi, you are truly the King of Kings. Also, your eyes are green and your hair is dark brown.'” – Luke 8:11-14.
Then again, Jesus might be far from the glorious picture we have created. Modern-day beauty standards are harsh, but they don’t hold a candle up to Jesus’. For all we know, the real Jesus could have cankles and a neckbeard, which seems pretty likely since man was created in his image. Or maybe that old Spanish lady was right. She finally gave us a furry, flounder-faced, historically accurate visage of Jesus, and all we did with her masterpiece was use it to insult her artistic prowess. Chin up, Señora Giménez. ¡Your art is not muy mal!
Alternatively, he could have just gotten really out of shape hanging out in heaven, a place full of calzones and devoid of StairMasters. That’s probably why we’re still waiting for the Second Coming. Jesus is still up there trying to shed those extra pounds. Basically, he’s the Val Kilmer of the Holy Trinity.
So was Jesus really so dashing? The only answer is that we accept whatever Christ is out there. He could have looked like the average Galilean man of his time, or he could have been an extremely caucasian boxer with a game-face like no other. Each is equally plausible; we have no way of knowing. But as long as you believe that all Jesuses are beautiful, that’s all that matters.* And that’s the gospel truth.