Images of Jesus Through Two Millennia
BY: Stephen Cook
Did Jesus have a beard? The Bible doesn’t tell us, and, in fact, the word "beard" doesn’t appear in the New Testament. Although Jewish custom may have required men to be bearded, many of the earliest images of Jesus show him beardless.
How then did our image of Jesus develop? Fairly early in history, he was shown as a man on the verge of middle age, with brown to black hair and beard, and an appearance of sorrow and compassion. Beyond this, however, each age has produced its own variant of the Jesus image to meet its own needs, projections, and beliefs.