My friend Joe recently dove headfirst into the online dating world. We had an enlightening conversation about why that approach never would have worked for Jesus.
“The first step in online dating is to post some great photos of yourself,” Joe explained. “If you don’t have any photos, the website will just use one of those generic silhouettes, which always look pretty creepy. No one ever responds if there aren’t any photos.”
We agreed this would present a problem for Jesus, since no photographs were possible back then. And we also debated whether Jesus would have been a fan of selfies or other photos of himself. He never was an advocate of self-promotion. Instead of putting his best foot forward, he often seemed to go out of his way to do the opposite.
“What if we just used some of the artists’ drawings of him?” I finally asked Joe.
“That would be problematic too,” he informed me. “People get outraged when the online pics don’t really look like you. Most of the artwork about Jesus is pretty ridiculous, especially the paintings with the rosy cheeks and a halo. And it would be a real turn-off to include any of the bloody scenes of his torture and death.”
We both paused to think about some of the awful paintings we’d seen of Jesus. Finally, Joe suggested that we might just want to put a description of how handsome the Lord was.
At that point, all I could think of was the description of Jesus in The Message paraphrase of Isaiah 53:2-3: “There was nothing attractive about him, nothing to cause us to take a second look. He was looked down on and passed over…One look at him and people turned away. We looked down on him, thought he was scum.” I could envision a line in Jesus’ profile that said, “One of my friends described me as being so ugly no one even wanted to look at me!”
“Joe, I don’t think a description of Jesus’ physical appearance is a very good idea either,” I concluded. “We really don’t know much about what he looked like anyway.”
“Well, what about the line that asks for his age?” Joe wondered. “That might present some problems too.”
“How about this, I offered:
‘Although I’m only 33 in earth years, I’m actually a lot older than that. In fact, one of my nicknames is Ancient of Days.’
“That could be pretty confusing,” Joe said glumly.
I decided to move on to the profile section, hoping things would get a little easier. “We’re off to a bad start on the photos, physical description, and age, Joe. What kind of relevant information could we provide in Jesus’ online profile?”
After thinking about this for a moment, Joe broke into a belly laugh. “That would be hilarious. I can picture it now:
‘My friends say I’m the Son of God and Messiah. My enemies say I’m an imposter and blasphemer. You must choose which of these is correct.’”
“Oh, my,” I groaned. “I’m not sure how people would respond to that.”
“Well, there’s usually a section about the person’s favorite things to do. Maybe that part of the profile would go better,” Joe said. “How about this:
‘I like to take long walks on the beach, hanging out with my 12 friends. Sometimes we attend parties, and I’ve been known to turn water into wine.’”
“Hmm…” I replied. “While that’s all true, it could paint a misleading picture unless we add more.”
“People love to mention visiting the mountains,” he replied confidently. “I guess we could include something about that.”
“Yeah, but in all honesty, we would have to describe it like this:
‘I frequently visit the mountains—either to pray all night or to be tempted by the devil.’”
Joe and I concluded that it might be best not to mention the mountains in Jesus’ profile. We went on to the section that asks about occupation and income.
“I guess Jesus would have to list his occupation as ‘retired carpenter, now an itinerant preacher and miracle-worker,’” I said. “And the income part would turn off most of the potential respondents too. He would have to say something like ‘income variable—living by faith.’”
“Yeah, I’m sure that would go over well,” Joe chuckled. “It would also be impossible to impress people by the kind of house he lived in, because he admitted at one point he had nowhere to lay his head. And people love to show off their fancy vehicles on the online dating sites, but that wouldn’t work either. Jesus would have to say, “I prefer to walk most places but occasionally borrow a friend’s donkey for special occasions.”
“Wow. I guess we better leave those sections blank or say, ‘I’ll tell you later.’ Is there anything else we can include in the profile?” I wondered.
“Most websites ask what people can expect if they get together with you. For example, ‘What would happen on your ideal date?’”
“Oh, that would be fantastic, too,” I said sarcastically. “Jesus would have to say something like this:
‘Those who come with me must deny themselves and take up their cross daily, forsaking all else.’”
After thinking for a moment, Joe came up with another alternative. “I think maybe we should go more with the ‘abundant life’ approach. How about something like this:
‘When you come with me, you will surely experience YOUR BEST LIFE NOW!’”
“That’s certainly more appealing,” I admitted. “But it doesn’t seem to be as accurate.”
Our discussion then drifted further into frivolity as we thought about some possible punchlines for Jesus’ profile. We eventually settled on this one:
“I’ve been waiting for my Bride for thousands of years. Don’t miss out!”
Thankfully, Jesus won’t need to opt for the online dating scene. His personal representative, the Holy Spirit, is actively recruiting prospects for his Bride. It will be a match made in heaven, to be sure.