Billboard, Video Portraying Jesus as Tattoo Artist Spark Controversy

Tattoo ytLUBBOCK — A billboard and corresponding video portraying Jesus as a tattoo artist who takes the negative markings of mankind upon Himself are sparking controversy.

The effort, launched by an unnamed “small group of people humbled by the love of Jesus,” was recently unveiled along a highway in West Lubbock, Texas. The billboard simply shows a man depicting Jesus, whose chest and arms are covered with tattoos bearing words such as “outcast,” “addicted,” and “faithless.” The advertisement then directs members of the public to a website, which in addition to providing information about Christ, presents a video casting Jesus as a modern-day tattoo artist who transforms bad labels into good ones.

The video begins as a long-haired Jesus is awakened by his alarm clock and heads to his basement tattoo parlor where he awaits those in need of his service. A man soon arrives and sits in the chair, rolling up his sleeve to reveal the word “depressed” on his wrist. Jesus then reaches for his instruments, and goes to work at transforming the tattoo. The man looks down at his wrist and notices that his tattoo no longer reads “depressed,” but “confident.” He rises from the chair, gives Jesus a nod, and walks out the door.

The video then proceeds to show numerous other individuals coming to Jesus and revealing their tattoos, which bear words such as “addicted,” “self-righteous” or “useless.” He then changes their tattoos to read “freedom,” “humble” and “purpose.”

As he finishes with his last patron, he appears overwhelmed. Moments later, he takes off his shirt to reveal that all of the tattoos that had been upon the people are now written upon himself.

“All of us have been marked,” the narrator then states. “As time passes, life leaves its etchings on our mind, our body, even our soul. These markings define us, our place in society, [and] how we perceive ourselves, and as hard as we try, we can never seem to find a way to cover these marks and hide them from those who judge us.”

“One man proclaimed a revolutionary message of love and forgiveness, hope and freedom,” he continues. “He was beaten and bloodied and killed for us, and took the markings that should have been ours upon Himself, so that we could find forgiveness and a new start.”

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Reaction to the effort has been mixed, as some find it to be an inappropriate or blasphemous depiction of Christ, while others believe that it is an effective evangelistic tool.

“I thought that it was cleverly done because, basically, it’s a visual of Jesus taking the sins of people and covering them and taking them from an outcast or something and giving them a new start, which is what the Gospel is about,” Pastor David Wilson of Southcrest Baptist Church in Lubbock told ABC News. “I like to fish, and I use different baits for different fish, and to me this is fishing for people who would never walk in the door of a church.”

“Utterly detestable,” Pastor Mark Herridge of Pentecostal Lighthouse Church in Livingston told Christian News Network. “Tattoos have always been associated with paganism. To lift them up as an evangelistic tool is to completely miss the point of why Jesus saved us.”

“All of us have scars from our past, but we do not glorify our past. We glorify the living Christ that has set us free from sin and death,” he continued. “Man was created in God’s image, but as I watched this video, I see where man is trying to create God in His own image instead.”

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  • S. Abraham

    Should we sin first in order to save others from sin? Is it the will of the Father?

    You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves: I am the LORD. (Lev 19:28)

    “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (Mat 7:21-23)

    • alma lund

      you nor I wrote the Bible We cannot dispute the scripts thank you as I was looking for these very scrips. I agree with the scripts.

  • J. Ponders

    AMEN S. Abraham. Perhaps the intent is meant for good; however, it appears that no one understands the Word of God and does not do any research. Tattoos are not from God and when we particpate in the things that are not of God, we are agreeing to that other invisible Kingdom (Satan-the god of this world) who has blinded the eyes of people, even the believer. I understand the creativity in reaching the lost, but not when it’s coming out of that invisible ungodly kingdom. My heart breaks when I read that so many people believe this is acceptable. This is not from the Kingdom of God! I pray for those who may not understand that we cannot mix the world (pagan) with sacred. Thanks to EX Ministries ( and other sound ministries in sharing the Word of God uncompromisingly.

  • baynurse

    I think this was brilliant and well done. I think there are many interpretations of why Jesus did what he did, or what the message in this piece of art is. I feel that both the video and the life of Jesus, tells us that Jesus was man, human, just like us, suffered the same injustices, pains, and troubles, and even weaknesses that we have. and he overcame them, healed them in himself , even conquered death , as in he died and came back, as a man he experienced all that we come tohium with, he knew depression, He knew pain, he knew hatred, adn injustice, and death, and he healed it in others cuz he healed it in himself.

    • Bill

      Jesus is also God and is to be approached, discussed, protrayed with complete humility and reverence.

      “And being found in human form, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
      Phil 2:8-11 (ESV)

      To depict Jesus covered in tattos, which the bible clear considers sin is absolutely blasphemous.

      This is a symptom of a church that has lowered their view of Jesus to the level of common man. The man centered church at it’s worst.

      • S. Abraham

        Yes. You are right. Ultimately, how we work for the Lord depends upon our own spiritual condition, ie whether we live by faith (God’s Word) or by sight (our own understanding based upon the flesh), 2 Cor 5:7. Even Paul was careful not to violate the law of Christ while proclaiming the good news to those without the law, 1 Cor 9:21.

  • Dan

    Bill. You miss a point. The creators of this message at this point are not identified. They mat not represent any church but may be among the large group who are unchurched Christians. I have always gone to church. When I shared this with my daughter her response was “cool”. It’s ok if you are uncomfortable with this approach. But didn’t Paul say something about using different approaches to reach the lost? I agree with my daughter. It’s cool.

  • This is a good video. Thanks a lot for sharing this – Sometimes new approaches like this are needed to get the point across.