There has been much interest lately about what Jesus looked like. My first response to the question is, “What difference does the hue of Jesus’s skin have to do with his teachings?
Not being concerned about the appearance of Jesus myself I decided, anyway, to do some research. I spent a couple of hours looking at depictions of Jesus. In case you are wondering we have zero contemporary images of Jesus. Most of the paintings of Jesus have been done by Europeans. Our best-known images of Jesus paint him as a white guy, mostly because white guys did the painting. There are other depictions of a non-white Jesus, which are also terrific.
Most movie depictions of Jesus show him as a white guy as well. I watched “Risen” (2016) last week and noticed the same. The movie tells the story of Clavius, a Roman Tribune who is ordered by Pilate to find the crucified body of Jesus. Clavius gradually comes to believe that Jesus is The Son of God and knows his life is changed forever. The story takes place in 1st century Palestine so, of course, the actors are all white guys. I also noticed that many of the disciples had British accents. Really? I have noticed this phenomena in other Jesus movies in the past.
For those of you who want Jesus to be white just remember where he was born and where he lived. 1st century Palestine did not boast of a very large percentage of white folk. With the earlier Hebrew migrations to Egypt and other African nations the chances of Jesus being black are far greater than the chance he was white. At the time Jesus was walking around the Sea of Galilee there were many black Jews but not much evidence of white Jews.
If you listen to the story of Judas betraying Jesus, you will hear the ‘bad guys’ telling Jesus to take them to Jesus and point him out. The need to point out Jesus among his disciples leads me to believe that Jesus looked pretty much like the rest of the folks in the region. This is true, unless the disciples were indeed Brits and Jesus looked like them.
I tend to believe that Jesus would have looked much like any other Palestinian male of the first century. Maybe, something like the guy in this computer-generated photo.
Friends, we don’t know what Jesus looked like. Does his skin hue change his teachings or actions? The one who says love your neighbor as yourself doesn’t have to have a certain skin color. His skin color is much less significant than his teaching. Let’s stop expending energy on something as insignificant as the color of Jesus’ skin. Instead let’s spend our energy loving our neighbor, no matter what color of skin they live in. Really!