In this blog, I’ve argued for a more realistic depiction of Christ. Mary Todd Grey on timesandseason.org provides a stark, but unquestionably realistic, description of Jesus and his living conditions:
As far as the world’s opinion of what constitutes greatness, Jesus was nothing special. He was not just poor, he was impoverished. As Elder Holland reminds us, there were times when he was even homeless. According to Isaiah he wasn’t attractive. And while the KJV describes Jesus as a carpenter a more accurate translation would be what we might think of as a construction worker. Nazareth was a poor village, he would have grown up with no luxuries—luxuries at that time being things like furniture and clothing that didn’t itch and enough food to stave off hunger. He wasn’t physically clean—only the wealthy had access to any kind of bathing facilities. There was no soap, no change of clothes, no privacy. There wasn’t enough money and there were too many taxes and there was no one to care.
[Jesus] was not someone who served a mission to the poor or who threw a beggar the occasional coin or who used a position of power to help those less fortunate. He was not a handsome, clean, well-fed benefactor who visited and talked with and showed compassion to the poor and then went home to a bath and a change of clothes and a meal followed by a comfortable bed. He couldn’t be those things, because what he was, was one of “them”. He was the less fortunate, the forgotten, the beggar. And he was these things because he was a God completely uninterested in protecting himself because he was completely committed to his hope in humanity.
Douglas R. Coombs commenting on Mary’s post promotes a similar description of Mary Magdalene:
My mind raced to think of Donatello’s “Penitent Magdalene,” which presents a ragged, tattered and torn Mary Magdalene, very human, yet reaching for the divine.