What color was Jesus??
I’ve heard this question debated many times throughout my life. Most white people seem to assume that Jesus had fair skin like they do (at least it would seem that way by looking at paintings from the past). Black people seem to want to believe that Jesus had to have been darker skinned, or maybe even black, because of various reasons. The truth is that there are still sects of people who disagree with most churches because they believe we serve a “white” Jesus.
This question of Jesus’ race somehow crept its way into the high school boys Sunday School class that I used to co-lead with a friend of mine. I must say that I was a bit caught off guard by the excitement and passion that ensued once the subject was mentioned. Arguments came from all angles and all perspectives from all over the room. After hearing many of the students’ thoughts, I shared my own.
To me it makes sense to believe that because Jesus was born an Israelite, He would look as an Israelite would look. Logically, it seems that He would look the same way that people from that region of the world look today. Neither black nor white, but rather an Arabic looking man with a brown skin tone. That to me makes sense.
The bigger question I’ve always had when it comes to this issue is “why does it matter?” Why do people care what color Jesus was? What difference does it make whether he was black, brown, white, green, red, or purple? To even allow the debate over Jesus’ race to become a big deal is just a distraction from what’s really important. If one really believes that Jesus is the Son of God, born of a virgin, to come to this world to die for all of our sins, then be raised from the dead, then why does His race matter?! The bigger picture of Jesus tells a story of what He did and who He is, not what His skin tone was.
Imagine that a person you know is on the “Price Is Right”. Your friend makes it all the way to the end, and she wins her Showcase Showdown, which includes a trip to Tahiti and a brand new car. She calls you after the show, excited that she won, but concerned because she’s not sure which airline she’ll be flying to Tahiti or in which factory her new car was assembled. You can’t believe how silly she sounds. She just won an extravagant prize, but she’s consumed with details that shouldn’t matter.
Jesus came to this Earth to give us the greatest prize imaginable—life. Because of our sin, every one of us deserves death, but He came to bear our guilt. To spend time arguing about Jesus’ race, minimizes that fact and shifts our focus to unimportant details. These are the types of arguments the Bible talks about in Colossians 2:8—arguments that never amount to anything. Remember to keep your focus on the big picture. Thanks for reading…
*steps off soapbox*
Catch you next time…