What does Jesus really look like? It's a question we've explored before and one we recently asked Colton Burpo, the 14-year-old boy who claims he visited heaven and interacted with Christ during a near-death experience back in 2003.
"Well he has brown hair, brown beard, a very bright smile -- brightest that I’ve ever seen," Burpo, the subject of the new film "Heaven Is For Real," told TheBlaze. "And his eyes were just beautiful sea blue."
Following his purported experience, Colton's family spent years trying to find an image that resembled this description. But it wasn't until 2006 when Glenn Beck featured a young prodigy named Akiane Kramarik on his CNN show that the family found what they had been looking for.
A copy of the painting on sale on Akiane.com (Image source: Akiane.com)
Kramarik, who is a painter and a poet, claims that God began speaking to her through vivid visions when she was just four years old. She soon began drawing and painting complex images of Jesus and the heavens -- renditions of what she apparently saw during first-hand.
And one of those paintings, titled "Prince of Peace," a portrait of Christ, was included in a video package that aired on Beck's former CNN program.
Colton's father, Todd Burpo, who is a Christian pastor, told TheBlaze that when he saw the segment he quickly realized that the details in the painting matched what his son observed in heaven.
And Colton agreed.
When asked what he was thinking when he saw the painting of Jesus, the teenager told TheBlaze, "That they finally got one right."
Burpo believes that the matching elements in the painting help to corroborate Colton's story. In fact, he claimed that Kramarik and his son had never met, yet they shared very similar stories.
"I understand why some people would say well isn’t it convenient that you’re a pastor -- and would you have written about it if your son hadn’t seen a Christian version of heaven?" he said. "And I can understand that perspective, but that’s where [Kramarik’s] story is so incredible, because her parents were atheists. Never been to church a day in her life and Jesus started visiting her."
Watch Beck's profile on Kramarik below:
The father, who has fervently defended his son's account of what unfolded, told TheBlaze that Colton's experiences helped to make his own perceptions of heaven and the afterlife "more concrete."
"I’ve always had high regard for Scripture but the Bible is confusing about heaven at best. There’s verses here and there and they’re all kind of mixed up. They don’t draw out a very good picture," he said. "You know you have to trust God. You know hell is way worse than heaven. But what is heaven like? Streets are gold, gates are made of pearl. But it is very minimal on details."
Watch the trailer for "Heaven Is For Real" below:
And Burpo wasn't done there.
"His picture of heaven and what he says he remembers not only is he consistent with all of the pieces but it’s helped me bring a lot of the pieces together," he added. "And so now my picture is fuller. It’s more concrete. I can touch it better because I know how those pieces fit together and for me that’s added a lot of peace to me."
As for Colton, while the teen said some of his memories have faded over time, his most vivid recollections include seeing Jesus and meeting his great grandfather and sister in heaven.
His story is currently being told on the big screen in "Heaven Is For Real."
Featured image via Shutterstock.com