Artworks of Jesus are uncountable. But the human man never sat for a sculptor or painter. Every piece is an imagination. The artist takes the gospel truth and tradition (hence Jesus always has thick long hair — where is bald Jesus?!), then it is all filtered through our cultural lens. We can never fully let go of our worldview, so the art takes on elements of the time period.
This is not completely bad. While Jesus was a first century Jew. He reaches to every person, in every race, in every culture. It is important to help each person realize Jesus became human to reach them. To walk with them. And art can make this a visual truth.
Which is how blue eyed Jesus came into being. We have one hanging in our church. There is value to know that Jesus reaches even to me. But there is also danger if we forget this is not really Jesus. Because the blue does not end at Jesus’s eyes. It flows into his expression. It bleeds into our perception of his heart. Serious. Focused.
Maybe this is “protestant work ethic” coming through the painting. And Jesus was serious about his role, focused on his calling. But Jesus also came “eating and drinking”. The religious leaders accused him of being a “glutton and drunkard” (Mt 11:19). Parties of celebration were a part of Jesus’s reputation.
Jesus may have been a man of sorrows. Intense and serious. But he must have also been a man of joy. Smiles and laughter. Try to imagine blue eyed, stern Jesus with children clinging and crawling all over him… no, that Jesus was laughing so loud the disciples were embarrassed. “Be mature, think how this appears!” But Jesus answered, you better become like these little ones… Now, before you make this phrase too serious, what Jesus meant is, “Stop being so blue, laugh with us!”
This Sunday we light the candle of Joy. I hope you will let it burn in your hearts! You can join us online or in person with masks at 10:30.