Focus – Would Jesus Ever Wear Motorcycle Leathers?
By Lt. Colonel Mervyn Morelock –
“He who loves me will be loved by my Father and I too will love him and show myself to him.”
John 14: 21b
“Would Jesus ever wear motorcycle leathers, have long hair, a beard and a tattoo?” That was the startling question asked by a young woman recently at an adult rehabilitation center who had come in for spiritual counseling during one of our ARC Good News Crusades.
It would have been easy to dismiss such a question as outrageous and irreverent, but the question came from someone who knew absolutely nothing about Jesus and who was looking for some assurance that could help her identify with a Savior that others in the center seemed to know.
While I shared with her the story of God’s love and the gift of his Son Jesus, who came to live among us as a man, who died for our sins on the cross, and was raised from the dead, her question still challenged my mind, Would he have worn motorcycle leathers?
Down through the centuries many have tried to imagine what Jesus looked like and what he wore. Artists around the world have tried to portray on canvas and in stone the image of Jesus. Each one tries to illustrate him in a way that shows Jesus contemporary to the age and the region of the artist because Jesus is universal and speaks to all men. In Japan, the infant Jesus is an oriental baby. In Korea, he is shown dressed in Korean garb. In Africa, his skin is black and is seen in an African style manger. In India, he is shown with dark hair and black eyes. Early English painters depicted Jesus with fair skin, wearing Elizabethan clothing, obviously very English!
A recent December cover of the US News carried a photograph showing the infant Jesus with blond hair and blue eyes. Several “Letter to the Editor” writers criticized the editors of the magazine for their choice of photos and reminded them that Jesus was Jewish and probably had dark hair, brown eyes and olive skin!
Jesus is depicted in so many different ways around the world because, though he was the Son of God, he took on the very nature of a servant and was found in appearance as a man. He speaks to all men of the wonderful Good News of God’s love and forgiveness. He so speaks to the human heart, that regardless of nationality, language, or circumstance, every man and woman feels that Jesus speaks directly to his or her need, so it is natural to feel that he must look like us, too.
So I had to confess to this young woman that, as a motorcycle enthusiast, it would not be outrageous for her to imagine that Jesus might wear motorcycle leather, have long hair, and yes, maybe even sport a tattoo or two (but not the kind we’ve seen on the arms of some motorcycle riders!).
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at, and our hands have touched– this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.” I John 1:1 (NIV)