We have no authentic portraits, images, or likenesses of Jesus that were done during his life and so we really have no understanding of Jesus true appearance. The portraits, images, and likenesses of Jesus that have been done through the years come merely from the artist’s imagination. I understand that in history the first depictions of Jesus were of a man with the appearance of a middle-eastern descent, but as Christianity (I’m using the term in its broadest possible sense here) became more dominated by those of European descent, depictions of Jesus took a more European look. This clearly indicates a subjective understanding of Jesus’ appearance and not one in which we can definitively say, “This is what He looked like.”
So, would it be sinful to make an appearance of Jesus? Yes, it would be. What is one going to do with an image or likeness of Jesus? Admire it? Appreciate it? Respect it? Why would those things not be idolatrous? Consider if you would Exodus 20:4-5 “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me�.” This is a very clear prohibition and it is the standard upon which the New Testament condemns idolatry. We are told in 1 Corinthians 10:14 to “flee idolatry.” In Galatians 5:20, idolatry is listed among the works of the flesh. In Colossians 3:5 we are told to put idolatry (along with a host of other things) to death in our lives.
The fact of the matter is that the word of God tells us how to admire, appreciate and respect Jesus in our life. We do this through loving Him and keeping His commandments (John 14:15). As we mentioned earlier, we have everything that we need in the scriptures to be godly (2 Peter 1:3). No where, in any part of the scriptures, do we find even as much as a hint that we ought to make and respect images or likenesses of Jesus, in fact, we find just the opposite in Exodus 20:4-5. Jesus is now reigning from heaven and that is where we direct our honor, respect, reverence, and appreciation today, not toward some carved image or painted likeness.