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What does Jesus really look like?
by Tom Brown

By the grace of God I was privileged to see Jesus Christ in a vision. This vision took place when I was visiting a nursing home in El Paso, Texas. It occurred during the early 1980s. I had come to preach and minister to the elderly. On this day, I was rather discouraged.

As the people were singing songs, I closed my eyes and asked, "Lord, is it worth me coming to this nursing home to visit and preach to the people? They don’t seem to be improving." After praying this simple prayer, I opened my eyes, and to my astonishment I saw the Lord.

I didn’t see Him in his traditional garments; instead I saw Him sitting in a wheelchair with a blanket over His legs. There was suppose to be an elderly man sitting there, but instead it was the Lord. As I looked across the room, all I could see was Jesus. I saw Jesus in the place of all the people. He wore a nurse’s uniform. He sat in a chair where there was a lady supposed to have sat. I could not see anyone’s face. I only saw the Lord.

As I looked in astonishment, I heard the Lord say, "Whatever you have done for one of the least of these, you have done unto me." The vision ended.

I knew that the Lord was telling me to continue to visit these wonderful people, because it was like visiting the Lord. Everywhere I’ve gone I have tried to have this same attitude. Whoever I preach to, I see Christ in them.

People have wanted to know exactly what the Lord looked like. I really can’t tell you how tall he was, since most of the time he was sitting down, but I will never forget His face, especially His piercing eyes. I never tried to get anyone to draw a portrait of Him from my account.

Recently, I stumbled across a portrait of Jesus that looked closely like the vision I saw. It was this portrait.

I was amazed when I saw it. It was the portrait drawn by the acclaimed portrait artist Stan Stevenson. He drew the portrait using computer-enhanced photographs of the Shroud of Turin. He drew the portrait exactly as the man would have looked before the beating.

I never put much stock into the Shroud of Turin, because at first the shroud looked to me as a different man that I remembered seeing in the vision. Of course it did; it was Jesus after His beating.

The Bible says that He was beaten beyond recognition. So I didn’t recognize Jesus in the shroud. I even told people that it wasn’t Jesus; it did not remind me of my vision. But when I saw the enhanced portrait of what the man in the shroud would have looked like before the beating, I said to myself, "That’s the man I saw. That’s Jesus." This is my testimony to what I saw.

Email from readers who agrees

"I had a vision of Jesus two years ago.  In my vision he looked very much like the picture you have on your website.  At the time I was hurting because of a tumor inside my spinal cord. A group of Christians were praying for me at the church during the Wednesday night service.  Jesus appeared to me and was rubbing my back while looking at me in a very kind and understanding way.  His eyes reassured me that I was going to be o.k.  The pain went away for a while and a peace came over me.  The next week my surgery was successful and I was at peace going into surgery knowing Jesus was with me."  K. Stone

"I have to say that when I saw this picture of what Jesus looked like, it threw me back, because I saw this very face in my dream." Name withheld

"I've seen this portrait time and again. Jesus was of Aramaic decent. I happen to be Arabic, from Iraq. I am not dark at all, and my hair is a naturally light brown, my Mum, in fact, has brothers with red hair. Arabic people are not all dark haired and brown. Also sometimes, people tend to forget that Jesus was a Jewish man. The portrait doesn't hold a man with blond hair and sparking baby blues. It very well looks like an Arabic man." S. Lazar

Email from a reader who disagrees

"I truly believe that you saw what you saw, and I hate to belittle the argument of Jesus’ race, but really, Jesus was of Aramaic descent and there is no way that European representation should be posted as an ideal of what our Lord and Savior looked like. I know it was not your aim to say that He was white but all my life growing up I was presented with a white Jesus and it wasn’t until I became an adult and researched His people, did I realize that it is hard for many to imagine Him looking like those we sometimes fear and hate the most, Arabics.”—Lakeisha

Response by Tom Brown

Many people through the years who have also had visions of Christ have emailed me to confirm that the portrait of Christ is similar to theirs. There have also been many who do not believe that Christ could look like this because to their opinion this portrait looks more like a European man than an Arab or Middle Easterner.

Even though I am not particularly interested in making a big deal over the physical features of Christ, it should be noted that Jesus was a Jew. According to anthropologists, Jews belong to the Caucasian race, which includes all those throughout Europe, the Middle East, and north of the Sahara. What some commonly call the Jewish, Arab, or European race is really a misnomer. Those would be ethnic groups within the same race, thus they may share similar features. In fact, sometimes, a person within an ethnic group may be mistaken as being part of another ethnic group.

Can you always tell who is a German, an Englishman, an Iranian, or a Spaniard? I have seen many light skin, light hair Iraqis and on the contrary I’ve seen many dark skin, dark hair Romanians. To think that an ethnic group must always resemble certain features is ludicrous.

Ask this important question: are there many modern-day Jews that would fit the profile of this portrait? Of course!

To the artist’s credit, he made the skin darker, assuming that Christ would have lived much of His life outdoors, and thus His skin darkened by the hot sun. You will notice that the hair is dark, not blonde, which corresponds to the vision I saw of Christ. In my opinion, this portrait does not depict a light skin, blonde-hair European. Of course, people’s opinion might differ from mine. I only showed this portrait, for I thought people would be interested in knowing what I saw in the vision.

Let me make another point: we should not be offended or exalted by the simple fact that Christ was born a Jew. That’s the facts of the scriptures. This does not make one race or ethnic group more important than the others. Christ had to come through one race, and one ethnic group, and through one family. Race and ethnicity does not matter to God.

Finally, your faith does not stand or fall based on your belief in my vision. We must simply believe in the gospel, not one’s visions.


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