There are two approaches to this question. There’s the cultural approach, and there’s the spiritual approach. Culturally, we know Jesus was a cool guy. He was very sophisticated. He attended dinner parties, mingled with business elites, politicians and socialites. “Lagos Bigs Girls” could also approach him with their issues. The woman with the alabaster box of expensive perfume is described as “city woman” by Luke. (Luke 7:37) Jesus was so uber cool that when Peter and John were arrested and they put up such an incredible defense in court, the people concluded that level of sophistication could only have come from hanging around Jesus. These were guys with no formal education!
Jesus was intellectually sophisticated. The people knew him to be. But does this mean he had cool hairstyle, you know, like a rock star in the movies…long hippie hairstyle? Most likely not, though the Bible didn’t say anything about his hairstyle. We don’t know if he had crew cut, or Boy Alinco. Yet hairstyle can be a serious subject in scriptures. And we may not know much about Jesus’ hairstyle but we sure know what angel hairstyle looks like. We know from Paul’s writing that angels have long hair – “Don’t you agree there is something naturally powerful in the symbolism – a woman, her beautiful hair reminiscent of angels…” (1 Corinthians 11:13-16 MSG). Now, at the time of Paul’s writing it was unfashionable for men to have long hair. This, mind you, was roughly 50 years after the death of Jesus. “Isn’t it obvious it’s disgraceful for a man to have long hair?” Paul had written. (1 Corinthians 11:14 NLT) So we know roughly 50 years after Jesus died, it was cool for women and angels to have long hair, but uncool for men to have long hair. Please don’t ask if there’s a hairdressing salon for angels in heaven.
At the time Jesus lived, men wore short hair. It’s why all the marble busts from that period featured men with short hair. The marble busts of Herod and all those powerful Roman emperors had short hair. Though in the days of David – roughly 1000 years before Jesus was born, men had long hair. At least, cool young men. David’s third son Absalom had a rock star appearance. He had very long hair. (2 Samuel 14:25-26) And Ezekiel gave us information on Talmudic instruction on hairstyle for priests: “They must neither shave their heads nor grow their hair too long. Instead they must trim it regularly.” (Ezekiel 44:20) If Jesus followed this tradition, then he must have visited Big Bros Salon in Nazareth regularly. But it would seem Jesus had the same basic hairstyle as every man. Or there would have been no need for Judas to point him out with a kiss. He looked like everyone else. He’ll just have told them, go for the guy with the long hair. But what we do know is that he had a beard. There was that prophecy about his beard being pulled raw from his face by his haters – “I offered my back to those who beat me and my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard. I did not hide my face from mockery and spitting.” (Isaiah 50:6)
Now, let’s look at the spiritual angle. The question of Jesus shaving his hair seems to assume he was a Nazirite like Samson, and perhaps his power resided in that hair. Before Samson was conceived, an angel had approached his parents giving them instruction about the boy’s hairstyle. (Judges 13) You see, Samson’s mum, Mrs. Manoah had had difficulty conceiving. We don’t really know for how long, but it was that angel who told her she’ll have a boy. The boy the angel said must be a teetotaler – he must never take booze. He must be on strict diet. There were forbidden food. He must never have a haircut. That’s because the boy was consecrated (specially set apart) for God’s service. See him as some sort of special agent. He was to lead a liberation movement. He was a national icon. At the time the Philistines had colonised Israel for over 40 years and they were very oppressive.
Now, there were two classes of Nazirites in those days. (Samson wasn’t the only Nazirite). There were those like Samson, directly appointed by God…and there were also those who took a voluntary vow. Numbers chapter 6 gives us information on that. In that passage God had instructed Moses: “If any of the people, either men or women, take the special vow of a Nazirite, setting themselves apart to the Lord in a special way, they must give up wine and other alcoholic drinks. They must never cut their hair throughout the time of their vow, for they’re holy and set apart to the Lord.” (Numbers 6:4-5) So we know there were also female Nazirites. Nazirites weren’t allowed to take 5-Alive, sorry grape juice. They couldn’t eat cakes either, that is, cakes that contained raisins…which effectively ruled out fruitcakes. They also couldn’t go near dead bodies, even if it’s their mum, or dad, or sis or brother. Indeed, “If someone falls dead beside them, the hair they have dedicated will be defiled. They must wait seven days and then shave their heads. Then they’ll be cleansed from their defilement.” (Numbers 6:9) Then the hair can grow back again. The hair on their head is the SYMBOL of their dedication to God. (Numbers 6:7) Note however that the voluntary Nazirite vow is for a specific time period. But for Samson and the like, it was for life. Now you know where the idea of dreadlocks came from. The Rastafarian lifestyle is akin to a Nazirite vow. Unfortunately, it’s so Old Testament and we’re no longer under the Law of Moses.
It’s important not to confuse “Nazirite” with “Nazarene.” Jesus was not a Nazirite, he was a Nazarene. That means he was from a place called Nazareth, hence Nazarene. Nigerians are from a place called Nigeria. Americans are from a place called America. Nazarenes are from a place called Nazareth. Get it?
Jesus was obviously not a Nazirite. He took alcohol. He took wine at the last supper. (Mark 14:23-25). “For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard.’” (Luke 7:33-34) He definitely touched dead bodies. Remember the little daughter of the synagogue official he raised up from the dead? He took her by the hand. So he touched dead bodies. (Matthew 9:25) Nazirites can’t touch dead bodies remember? (Numbers 6:6)
And so it would have made no difference whatsoever whether Jesus shaved his head or not. It would be a radical hairstyle for his day no doubt, but it would have had no spiritual import. And if he did, many won’t be surprised. Jesus was unconventional.
But in the New Testament, the concept of the Nazirite has been reformatted. Christians are effectively Nazirites. Only we don’t need dreadlocks and all that mortuary regulation. Paul makes it plain Christians are “Nazirites”: “Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship.” (Romans 12:1 AMP)
What’s expected of us as New Testament “Nazirites”? “Do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].” (Romans 12:1 AMP)
It was this New Testament Nazirite stuff Peter was talking about: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a [special] people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies [the wonderful deeds and virtues and perfections] of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9 AMP)
How did we become Nazirites? Simple. Through an invoice. “You were bought with a price [you were actually purchased with the precious blood of Jesus and made His own]. So then, honor and glorify God with your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:20)
Now you understand why it really makes no difference what hairstyle Jesus had – shaved or full-headed. He was a Nazarene, not a Nazirite. And by the way there’s no power in any hair. Not even Samson’s. The power resides in the Spirit of God. (Judges 14:6) The hair was just a brand identity of covenant.
If you’ll like to give your life to Jesus, please pray this prayer: Father I acknowledge that I am a sinner, that Jesus died for me, that you raised him from the dead. Father please forgive me. I accept Jesus today as my Lord and my Saviour. Amen.
© #Illuminare Leke Alder | firstname.lastname@example.orgThere’s no power in any hair. The power resides in the Spirit of God. Click To Tweet