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Why is Jesus’ Skin Color an Issue All of a Sudden?

by | Apr 15, 2019

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For centuries since Christianity as a religion first came to boot and was immortalized by artists and painters from the world’s finest corners, there has never in the history of mankind been a debate over the color of Jesus Christ. For most of us, the color of skin was a non-issue—we’re talking, of course, about the source of our enlightenment and salvation. A man who is above race, above skin color, above tiny boxes that attempt to classify him as a member of one particular group.

And for the longest time, nobody had a problem with it.

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Christianity spread around the world and there was never a problem with people accepting Jesus Christ as a man with some facial hair and a great deal of good things to teach us—but most importantly, he was the savior of his people. For the longest time, no one batted an eye.

That is, until now.

The Race Race

There’s a race about race that everyone seems keen to participate in: from the Irish to the Middle Easterners, it has only been in the past decade or so that a wild and active stamping of certain colored inks on Christ’s legacy has erupted. The most common proclamation remains that Jesus wasn’t white—he was brown. It won’t be long or wrong to predict that come tomorrow a group would stand up and claim he was black, and then another would claim he had red flaming hair, and then another would claim he was yellow.

Jesus painting

On the surface, this debate only appears to be an attempt to disclose reality, to look deep down in the pages of history and determine if we’ve been fed fake news. Below the surface, the campaign is a sinister and malicious one.

What should give this campaign away is the sudden importance being accorded to color. Everything, all of a sudden, has a colored identity. The debate surrounding Jesus’ color also happens to be part of the same anti-white sentiment that has so taken the world by storm. The demonization of a race begins with the brushing of one’s skin color as either inherently wicked or unimportant. It goes without saying that for as long as the image of Jesus materializes as a white man in people’s minds, they will find it hard—impossible almost—to think of the skin color as innately evil. When the Christ is taken out of the equation—it all becomes easier.

Why this Should Concern Christians

The legacy of Jesus Christ is cemented in messages of love and harmony, truth and suffering, sacrifice and goodness—at no time was skin color remotely an issue. To delegate the Christ to a colored entity is to bring him down to menial concerns, to deny him the transcendental existence he posits, to reduce him to his skin color. When there’s a debate about Christ and it’s all about his skin color, there’s no question that something has gone very wrong with our priorities— something that forces us to focus not on his message or his teachings, but the color of his skin.

Jesus Christ is above that—and Christians should take heed not to give in to the temptation of advancement in apologetics.

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