Did Jesus have abs? When he was baptized, were people impressed by his physique? Did Jesus, the only son of God, who lived without sin and was perfect in every way, have a body to match? While it may seem superficial and semi-blasphemous, the intention behind this question is not to trivialize the life of Christ, but rather to explore the physical nature of his presence here and how it applies to us now. More specifically, I ask this because it reveals an inherent quality that all of us imperfect humans possess: an intense focus on our looks. Our body image plays a major role in our confidence and our self-value. And in a world where the gorgeous are glorified, having a positive and healthy body image is an increasingly evasive task.
When was the last time you truly looked at yourself in the mirror?
Look in the mirror and try and find aspects of your appearance that you like. Without even realizing it, you will eventually focus on the areas that you wish you could improve rather than the ones that you are confident in. It’s human nature. And while we Christians recognize that God loves us even though we are imperfect sinners, rarely do we talk about how God loves us even though we have imperfect bodies. Perhaps it’s because we take it as an unspoken truth. Of course God doesn’t care about whether we have a little bit of fat lining our stomachs or our hips. So why is it that we tend to have negative perceptions of our bodies?
Has media played a role in your positive/negative body image?
The industries of fashion and social media have played a major role in generating this pervasive attitude of negative body image. Photoshopped models leave us feeling less than. I realize that this is not true for everyone, but it is for me. I’ve always had trouble having a positive body image. I was a pretty chubby kid who was on the swim team. Seeing pictures of myself next to skinnier kids was somewhat demoralizing. And while I stretched out over the years, the self-consciousness seemed to hang on. Fortunately, however, as my body grew, so did my relationship with God.
I was taught in Sunday School that, “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” Later in life, I began to ask questions like, “Does Jesus love me in spite of _______?”, and would fill in the blank with different things. Sometimes, that blank was filled with “the fact that I don’t always love myself.” I learned more and more about the Bible and of the Lord and discovered that the answer was always yes. Psalm 136:26 says, “Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.” If we have love handles, God loves us. If we have sculpted abs, God loves us. If we have cellulite, God loves us. If we have pronounced ribs, God loves us. No matter what we look like, God loves us.
Did Jesus really have abs?
So the answer is yes, Jesus probably did have abs. The man did a lot of walking in his day. His physique may have impressed others, but even more impressive is his perpetuating love. Keeping this in mind, it is easier to love ourselves. By reminding ourselves that we are part of a greater body, we will find ourselves appreciating our bodies, along with all of their imperfections, just a little bit more.
This post’s author, Charlie Harrington, is one of the recipients of Selah’s Sara Lindsey Memorial Lovin’ Life Scholarship, offered to two graduating seniors every year