By David R. Ferguson
When you hear the Bible being read out loud, or when you read it to yourself, do you ever try to make a mental picture of the characters in these stories? I know I do. I often wonder how much my imagined appearance of these characters lines up with what was the reality. The truth of the matter is that we aren’t given much information from the Bible as to what these people looked like, besides a few women who are described as being beautiful (Sarah, Rebecca, Esther, Abishag, and the woman in Song of Solomon, who just may have been Abishag); and a few men who are said to be handsome (Joseph, David, Absalom, and Adonijah). We also have some individuals the Bible says were hairy (Esau) or they had long hair (Samson, Elijah, Absalom, Nebuchadnezzar, and John the Baptist).
Although the Bible doesn’t say what the Apostle Paul looked like, we do have a non-Biblical account of his appearance which says the following: “He was a man of middling size, and his hair was scanty, and his legs were a little crooked, and his knees were projecting, and he had large eyes and his eyebrows met, and his nose was somewhat long, and he was full of grace and mercy; at one time he seemed like a man, and at another time he seemed like an Angel.” I am the first to admit that description hardly is the picture of Paul that comes to my mind!
Paul wrote in Galatians 6:14 [NASB], “But may I never boast except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” This tells me there is one physical description I am sure applied to Paul: He was Cross-eyed! And no, I am not saying his eyes were crossed. I am saying Paul’s entire being was focused on Jesus and Him crucified on that cruel Cross of Calvary. In Hebrews 12:2 [NASB], the writer tells us that we should be “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of faith, Who for the joy set before Him endured the Cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”May it be said of ALL those who have been born again into Jesus Christ that we, too, are Cross-eyed with our eyes focused on Him and the work He performed on our behalf on Calvary! Once we come to the Lord in obedient, saving faith we should do as Cross-eyed Paul and “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14 [NAS]). May we forever remain Cross-eyed and look to Jesus as “the originator and perfecter of the faith” (Hebrews 12:2 [NAS]).