Artists and scientists studied the Shroud of Turin, a cloth that some say was wrapped around Jesus' face when he died, to develop the image.
"If you want to re-create the face of Jesus and you want to get the actual face of Jesus, you have only one object and that's the shroud," said computer artist Ray Downing of Studio Macbeth in New York City, which specializes in digital illustration and animation.
While some people said the image was "realistic" and what they imagined Christ looked like, others were not as certain.
"I find it questionable," one man told ABC News.
"I don't think there should be any one face," a woman said.
Another man questioned whether the Shroud of Turin was real.
"I believe it is an accurate image of whoever the shroud belongs to, but it's unclear if that shroud belongs to Jesus Christ," he said.
Others said they felt a spiritual connection to the image.
"I see love. I see compassion. I see my savior," said one woman who was at the Vatican when she saw the image.
The drive to create the image and the intense response to it are examples of the profound role that Jesus plays in so many lives.
"There's a long tradition in Christian theology and Christian history of seeking the face of Christ, of wanting to know what he was like as a man," said the Rev. Jonathan Morris, a Catholic priest and author in New York City.
Finding Jesus' Face
The centuries-old shroud contains a faint impression of the front and back of a human body, along with blood, dirt and water stains from its age.
Cutting-edge modern skills were required to pull an accurate flesh and blood face from a piece of fabric so old.
The year-long project culminated with a team of graphic artists using the newest technology to create a computer-generated image.
"I have a lot of information about that face and my estimation is we're pretty darn close to what this man looked like," Downing, the lead artist, said.
Ancient Shroud Provides Clues
One of the main problems -- the condition of the shroud -- provided key clues. The team realized there were distortions in the image on the shroud because the fabric had been wrapped around the body.
"The solution was to realize that the shroud wasn't hanging on the wall, it was wrapping a corpse," said Downing, who has also used computers to create images of Abraham Lincoln. "That's the crux of the problem, the face is hidden in there."
"By imitating those distortions, we could take the image and put it back into that shape and figure out what the face looked like & it gave us a blueprint," he said.
After forming the blueprint, the computer artists started the recreation. Of course, there were limitations to what they could do with what they had.
"Inevitably, you do run out of information," Downing said. "You can't see the pores in a linen fabric. There are no eyebrows. It doesn't take a lot of guesswork to assign pores and skin texture to a model, to know that the man did have eyebrows and to provide them. At some point, you do have to leave the realm of actual information and use experience."
10 Strange Places Jesus Has Appeared
Is it Jesus -- or just an excuse to stop ironing?
In November 2009, when Mary Jo Coady discovered an image of Jesus on her iron, she took a picture of it and put it up on Facebook. Eventually Coady and her iron became a nationwide news story.
Cheetos come in many shapes and sizes. This particular cheesy snack came in the form of Jesus Christ. "The Chessus," as it was dubbed, was found by Dan and Sara of Dallas. Whether or not the discovery was a hoax, CNN covered the story.
Al Dente Jesus
In 2006, Leo Williams saw the image of Jesus at an Italian restaurant in California ... in the burned portion of the cheese in his manicotti. Williams couldn't eat his meal because other customers kept taking pictures. Bon Appetite!
The mother of all strange Jesus sightings. In 1977, Maria Rubio found an image of Jesus Christ in a flour tortilla she was using to make her husband breakfast. The tortilla was eventually put on display, where it remained until 2005, when Rubio's granddaughter brought the famous flat bread to her school's show and tell, and dropped and broke it.
Baby, Baby Jesus
Boy, it's getting crowded in here!
Jesus has also been seen hanging out in a womb or two -- or so say a couple of moms, who saw him in their kids' sonograms. Amy Janer, a Miami mom, is convinced the son of God was sharing space with her son Sebastian, and Monet Sledge from Ohio looked into her sonogram and also saw Jesus, this time hanging on the cross.
In November 2004, an Arizona man's dental X-ray didn't reveal he needed a root canal, but it did show him Jesus Christ hovering over his bicuspids. He eventually sold the holy X-ray on eBay for $1,000.
This time Jesus showed up in the foil wrapper on a bottle of cider. Discovered by Michael Cartwright, only after he got home from a British pub and looked at pictures that were taken that evening. Unfortunately, the foil Holy Spirit was eventually tossed in the bin by an unaware waitress.
Ridin' Shotgun with Jesus
Jim Stevens of Jonesborough, Tenn., was perplexed when one day in mid-November of this year, he stepped out to his pickup and saw what looked like the face of Jesus Christ on the driver's side window.
In February 2006, Mike Thompson of Ohio was making flapjacks for his family when an image of the Lord caught his eye. He immediately put the pancake up for sale on eBay. The bids went up to $15,000 until it was revealed Thompson had made the image himself using a Jesus Pan he had purchased online.