Jesus Tattoo: A Controversial Skin Ornament

Some wear it out of conviction and commitment to their Christian faith. Some others worship him more as a historical person and see him as an inspiration. Religious tattoos like the Jesus tattoo are very controversial and could hurt religious feelings. 

Jesus Tattoo: Religious Confession or Fashion Statement?

Many tattoo motifs can be inked quite harmless and for many wearers they serve only to decorate their skin. But there are certainly those motives where it should be clear that they evoke clear associations and that they are more likely to be addressed, or that they could be problematic in certain contexts or countries. These include mainly religious tattoos from the Christian but also Buddhist and Hindu areas.

Anyone who chooses a Jesus tattoo can have two main reasons for doing so:

• religious belief and commitment to Christianity
• Adoration of Jesus as a person and recognition of his deeds

Whether one of these motivations moves you to have a Jesus tattoo inked or a very different occasion, it should be clear to you that many people with a religious tattoo also associate a very specific message and thus change their attitude to perceive. Because such a tattoo is more than pure decoration, as is the case with a flower motif, it is a statement. In the realm of faith, not everyone understands fun and feels provoked. Even if faith is a private matter for us, it can have a completely different effect in other countries and cultures.
Of course, you are free to wear such a tattoo for purely aesthetic reasons, without at least seeing a religious message in it. In this case, wearing it for some of the strictly religious would be a significant provocation that you could face more often. Not everyone is made for such an offensive confrontation.

Jesus Christ in a global context

Jesus Christ or Jesus of Nazareth is known worldwide as the central figure of the Christian faith and namesake of Christianity. As a traveling preacher and compassionate person who practiced charity and was there for people, he is also recognized in many other world religions.

According to Christian teaching and according to the New Testament, Jesus has the following meanings and attributions:

• Son of God
• Redeemer of humanity
• Messiah sent by God
• Son of David
• the anointed
• High Priest
• Son of Man
• the Lamb of God (the sacrificed Lamb)
• Good shepherd
• Master
• light
• Mediator between God and man
• Savior of the world
• truth
• way to God
• wisdom
• Witness

So a Jesus tattoo on your skin has a very positive meaning and either expresses your faith or shows that you worship Jesus as a historical person and symbol of the Divine.

May Christians get tattooed?

Amongst Christians themselves, the fact of tattooing and tattooing on the skin is highly controversial. In modern communities, which are very tolerant of a personal way of life, it is usually no problem to own piercings or tattoos. Some very strict, traditional church communities, on the other hand, could have a bigger problem with Christian motifs and symbols.
The Bible even explicitly mentions that the skin must not contain any changes. The following quote refers to the practice of pagan funerary rituals and tattoos of grief.

For the sake of a dead person, you should not make any cuts in your body nor set your mark, I am the LORD.

However, some theologians and historians believe that they have found further biblical evidence that the apostle Paul himself was tattooed.

Henceforth nobody bothers me any more, for I carry the marks of Jesus in my womb.

Marks are the stigmata, those marks, marks, and scars added to and reminding of Jesus on the cross. But also the interpretation of this biblical passage is discussed. At any rate, suffering plays a major role in Christianity. If you look at the suffering during a tattoo so Christian, you could also see it as a willingness to sacrifice yourself out of conviction. This aspect of suffering would be further emphasized by a Jesus motif, which depicts him hanging on the cross.

Ultimately, every Christian has to decide for himself how much he wants to wear such a tattoo and what it means for him. The decision should be well-considered in any case and also the body part where you wear the tattoo. Because the more it is present daily, the more looks you attract and may be judged accordingly.

This is what your Jesus tattoo might look like

There are many forms of representation for a Jesus tattoo. Many tattoo artists adhere to the Jesus portrayal of Christian paintings of the Baroque and Middle Ages. Of course, there is nothing against more modern, comic-like motifs that one should consider with much irony. That depends a lot on the above reasons and motivations for this tattoo. Then, in principle, all design options and modern tattoo styles are open, as you can see in the following examples.

In this beautiful realistic black and white tattoo Jesus carries the typical halo or nimbus. The dove stands in Christian symbolism for the Holy Spirit.

Many wear their Jesus tattoo on the upper arm, but also the forearm is very popular. The heart symbolizes the love that reaches beyond death.

Also on the back of the hand a Jesus motif is possible. However, it is one of the more painful places.

You can also combine the cross as one of the most famous symbols of Christianity with a Jesus tattoo.

This Jesus in comic style should be viewed with a smile and could certainly be less well received by some believers.

The crucified Jesus emphasizes the suffering aspect of Christianity and shows the sacrifice of Jesus, who according to Christian belief has died for the sins of mankind. The inscription INRI means “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews”.

You do not even let Jesus Christ tattoo you. Most of it is behind a story or the desire to carry one’s faith outside and to make a statement. After all, it will accompany you throughout your life. Just as you do not change your mood, belief or religion on a whim, you do not even let yourself be stung spontaneously. Even if your body belongs to you and in principle you can do with it what you want: You should always be aware that it is a religious motive and that you can be prepared for asking questions.