Of Jesus Race and Skin Color
None of us can conclusively say what race or color of skin Jesus had while here on earth or will have in the end time, if any.
None of the original biblical manuscripts include graphics/pictures. Our God was wise to send/bring Jesus before we had cameras, etc. Jesus race and color of skin does not matter anyway. This is also true of the other biblical apostles, disciples, and Christians. Jesus says salvation is of the Jews; thus, confirming himself to be a Jew since he is the Saviour. Yet, none of us can conclusively determine from the Bible or non-Bible writings that Jews of that day were of only one skin color and race.
Some point to Revelation 1:14 to justify claiming Jesus was/is black. That scripture says: “His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;” But I don’t recall ever seeing a black person with white wooly hair or hair as white as wool. Moreover, I don’t think Jesus walked around earth with eyes that looking like a flaming fire for I think people would have run from him and definitely thought he was deformed. It seems Revelation 1:14 involves symbolism in Jesus appearance to John.
None of us can conclusively determine that we are descendants of Jesus or any of the biblical apostles or other biblical disciples of Jesus Christ, regardless of whether they were Jews or Gentiles. Furthermore, biblically speaking, Gentiles are non-Jews. They are not Jews away from the Jewish homeland; such a claim is at best childish understanding and at worst both spiritual and intellectual dishonesty. Indeed, under Jesus, God’s children certainly include both Jews and Gentiles who are believers in Jesus Christ as the promised Messiah.
Even with the advent of DNA no conclusive determination can be made regarding such far off ancestry. Science is temporally useful; but, it has no spiritual value because science is at best experimental and speculative: Consider the celestial body called Pluto. Once the scientist called it a planet; but, now they say it is not a planet.
Indeed, any determination regarding race or ancestry of far off people would be merely speculative and of no spiritual value. It provides us with no conclusive identity as such identification would be speculative and again of no spiritual value; its only purpose would be to consider one’s race or group spiritually superior to another race or group. Jesus purpose in saying salvation is of the Jews was not to declare the Jews as eternally spiritually superior to others. His purpose was to declare them as temporarily superior in their knowledge of God and as chosen by God to be that nation through whom the Saviour came. But now the Saviour is available to all nations of the world (Matthew 28:18-20). Therefore, this spiritual superiority of the Jews no longer exists in any real valuable sense to them or any nation.
It is rather childish and arrogant for anyone to claim any right to represent Jesus as being of their skin color or race to the exclusion of others. Such a claim is satanic at its core; this does not mean the claimants are insincere about their search for truth, their trust in God, or their acceptance of Jesus as Lord and Saviour, though their understanding be incomplete. Indeed, right after Jesus commended Peter for hearing from God (Matthew 16:17) Jesus had to rebuke even Peter for listening to Satan (Matthew 16:23). Yet, if their claim is rooted in hatred or disdain for others then they simply need to check their hearts and their relationship to God. All of this reminds us of the spiritual war in which we fight; let us be steadfast soldiers in Jesus Army and not in Satan’s army.
Let us not be the evil we accuse others of having been or of being. If you are a black man and want a picture of Jesus as a black man, get a picture of him as a black man if that makes you feel good. If you are a white man and want a picture of him as a white man, get a picture of him as a white man if that makes you feel good. The same applies to all other races, nationalities, and ethnicities, etc. After all, the picture is nothing more than the artist representation of him, either one is just as useful as the other. They are nothing more than a symbol; neither is the ‘real thing’.
Of Racism and Racist
Fundamentally, a racist is one who holds racism in his/her mind/heart; such a person may express and manifest that racism in a variety of ways. But what is racism? There are those who say racism has to do with believing one’s race is superior to another race. Under this definition they say no individual within an oppressed group can be a racist.
The above definition of racism is certainly one definition of racism. However, in an everyday practical sense most people seem to view racism as the act of prejudging a person based on that person’s race; this prejudging starts in thoughts of the heart and/or mind and can manifest in word and/or action. This prejudging is called prejudice. Since all persons can be prejudice, it follows in a practical sense that all persons can be racist when that prejudice is based solely on the basis of another person’s race.
In other words, racism is manifested behaviour in word and/or action that views and/or treats a person of another race with disdain or contempt using any power available including the power of words, of teaching, of economics, of law, etc. In this sense all persons can be racist regardless of their race.
Power such as economic power becomes a tool by which a racist expresses and/or leverages that racism. Teaching a child to despise another race is another powerful tool that some racist of various races (White, Black, etc.) use to enforce and/or perpetuate their racism. Integration of races at schools is a major counter to such teaching as children experiences contradict such teaching. This is one major reason that personal racism has markedly decreased in our society although lingering threads and effects of institution racism yet exist. We should with love and forgiveness continue to work to continue to eliminate or at least reduce both individual and institutional racism within our society.
Racism is fundamental an individual characteristic. A group can properly be labeled a racist group only if a person can choose to belong to that group. For example, it would be a falsehood to say White People is a racist group or Black People is a racist group. This is because one does not choose to become White or Black but it is biological. Furthermore, it would be false to represent all white people to be racist just as it would be false to represent that all black people are racist.
If interested, see article entitled Of Racist and Racism here.
To God Be the Glory!
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