Saturday, March 15, 2008

So What Color Was Jesus?

There was a lot of discussion this week in the media about race. I can't help but wonder why we are comfortable having a man of color die for our sins, but electing a black man as President seems to bring up so many ugly feelings and comments. So... really, what color was Jesus? Is white America ready for the possibility that Jesus may have looked like the people blowing-up our troops in Iraq or even the African-American candidate running for the highest office in the land?

According to an article by Giles Wilson in the BBC News Online Magazine Jesus was most likely 'a man of color'. The article quotes Professor Vincent Wimbush, an expert on ethnic interpretations of the Bible at California's Claremont Graduate University, who says the matter of the historical color of Jesus seems to him a "flat, dead-end issue". "He's of Mediterranean stock, and it's quite clear what that means. We see people like that in the world today, and that should end the matter."

The article also quotes New Testament scholar Dr Mark Goodacre, of the University of Birmingham. Dr Goodacre was involved in the reconstruction of a Middle Eastern first century skull for the BBC's Son of God program in 2001, which resulted in a suggestion of what a man like Jesus might have looked like. Dr Goodacre said that "We do seem to have a relatively dark skinned Jesus. In contemporary parlance I think the safest thing is to talk about Jesus as 'a man of color'." This probably means olive-coloured, he says.

Why in the 21st century are we still being divided by race issues?

Colored People - by Dc Talk

Pardon me, your epidermis is showing, sir
I couldn’t help but note your shade of melanin
I tip my hat to the colorful arrangement
Cause I see the beauty in the tones of our skin

We’ve gotta come together
And thank the Maker of us all

We’re colored people, and we live in a tainted place
We’re colored people, and they call us the human race
We’ve got a history so full of mistakes
And we are colored people who depend on a holy grace

A piece of canvas is only the beginning for
It takes on character with every loving stroke
This thing of beauty is the passion of an artist’s heart
By God’s design, we are a skin kaleidoscope

We’ve gotta come together,
Aren’t we all human after all?

(repeat chorus)

Ignorance has wronged some races
And vengeance is the Lord’s
If we aspire to share this space
Repentance is the cure

Well, just a day in the shoes of a color blind man
Should make it easy for you to see
That these diverse tones do more than cover our bones
As a part of our anatomy

(repeat chorus)

We’re colored people, and they call us the human race
[oh, colored people]
We’re colored people, and we all gotta share this space
[yeah we’ve got to come together somehow]
We’re colored people, and we live in a tainted world
[red and yellow, black and white]
We’re colored people, every man, woman, boy, and girl
[colored people, colored people, colored people, colored people, yeah]

Here are some 1st century comments about race...

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:26-28)

...put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all. (Colossians 3:10-11)

For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many. (1 Corinthians 12:13-14)

Peace, Love, and Light through Jesus the Christ!
Kevin (Cloud)

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