[dropcaps]J[/dropcaps]esus Christ is the central figure of Christianity, which most Christian denominations declare to be the Son of God and the awaited messiah promised in the Old Testament scriptures.
According to the canonical gospel accounts, Jesus was born in the city of Bethlehem in approximately 7-2 B.C., and raised in Nazareth and Galilee, brought up by parents Joseph, a carpenter, and Mary. After his baptism by John the Baptist, he began his ministry in Jerusalem, healing the sick and proclaiming the gospel of the arrival of the messiah prophesied in the Old Testament scriptures. His ministry ended on earth after his crucifixion around 30-33 A.D. in Jerusalem, yet the legacy of the gospel of Jesus continued after his crucifixion and resurrection through Jesus’ disciples and apostles, carrying the Old and New Testament scriptures throughout the world. Today, Christianity focuses on the teachings of Jesus through the gospel, as well as the belief that Jesus is the Son of God.
The physical appearance and background of Jesus is still in debate today; recently in the city of Davidson, North Carolina, St. Alban’s Episcopal Church installed a sculpture portraying Jesus as a homeless figure, huddled underneath a blanket while lying on a bench. This is contrary to the popular portrayal of Jesus as a charismatic, majestic and good-looking messiah. The installment of the sculpture has been met with both positive and negative reactions, with some believers feeling offended by the statue’s challenging depiction of Jesus as homeless, while other believers, including the pastor of the church, David Buck, embraces the sculpture’s authenticity of Jesus’ persona. In fact, followers of the sculpture’s portrayal have even taken the time to sit on the bench, place their hands on Jesus’ feet, and offer a prayer. As more homeless Jesus statues are planned on being erected in a select few other church sites, the homeless Jesus statue serves as a manner to raise discussion and awareness of the way Jesus is conceptualized according to the Holy Bible. As the legacy of Jesus’ significance in today’s religion and popular culture continues, perhaps the depiction of homeless Jesus will become a more recognized thought instead of the tall, blue-eyed and clean-cut version of Christ seen in many portraits.