The Race of Jesus Christ

Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified
Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified

This past weekend Christians and well wishers celebrated the life of Jesus Christ of whom the christian religion is based. Jesus Christ was born in what is present day Israel to Jewish parents during a time when his people were ruled by the colonial regime of the Roman empire under the reign of Caesar Augustus. Since time immemorial believers and skeptics alike have wanted to explore the life of Jesus Christ either to prove that he really existed or to disprove his teachings.

Controversies about Jesus’ identity are not new but portraits of a black Jesus is a very surprising and very different idea. The idea of the black Jesus was started during the black consciousness era where black Christians decided that they wanted to portray a Jesus who looked like them. The prevailing Jesus portraits are of a blonde hair blue eyed Jesus with very European features based on early portraits commissioned by the Roman Catholic Church.

The black consciousness leaders viewed these portraits as yet another means to further European supremacy. Portraying the savior of the world as European suggested that white was perfect while everything else was imperfect like people of other races. This thinking gave rise to the teaching that justified slavery, colonialism and repressive regimes such as apartheid.

A leading Christian scholar stated, “The race of Jesus Christ is not the most important piece of the life of Jesus, what is important is that he came to save the world and that he was truly the Son of God.”

However, if anyone would still like to dwell on this, the fact of the matter is Jesus Christ was a Jew and the Jewish people are from the Middle East. The Jewish people of Jesus’ day had black hair and olive skin. Jesus in following the custom of that day wore short hair because as Paul says it was unnatural for a man to have long hair. There is no historical portrait of Jesus Christ and every image that people claim to have is just a figment of their imagination.


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