Black Jesus

I rather doubt that Jesus was actually black. I also question the Hollywood version, good-looking Euro-Jesus with shoulder length hair and high cheek-bones. Instead, as a first century Jew, he perhaps was a dark complected Middle Easterner who Isaiah (53:2) suggests looked unremarkable. That's fitting, isn't it? God looks at the heart, after all, and not the shell. 

My interest in suggesting black Jesus is to foster racial reconciliation in the body of Christ. We know and are convinced that the secular world is lost, wildly corrupt, unable and unwilling to submit to God. If you're waiting for Senate legislation or a college course to usher in racial harmony, I suspect you'll be waiting a very long time.

As believers, though, we're called to a much higher standard.

If Jesus' kingdom includes every tongue and tribe (Rev. 7:9) how come so few of our congregations mirror the heavenly template?  

In America, we've turned the Kingdom of God into the American Dream, an untamed lust for prosperity, ease and wealth.  Jesus, the suffering servant who eschewed wealth and warned of the dire consequences of greed, might not be welcome in some American congregations. In some cases, our churches resemble spiritual country clubs more than New Testament assemblies. In this milieu, undesirables are simply not welcome. 

There are very clearly two Americas and (newsflash) black folks in large part do not enjoy the same privileges as whites. In many respects the problems of the black community are their own doing. For instance, their failure as families is tragic. But much of the inferiority society projects on blacks becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Does the image of Jesus as a handsome white guy help perpetuate this model? 

For the sake of argument, let's imagine Jesus as black, and bestow divine equality on folks of African descent. Black Jesus becomes a very powerful image even if it's probably not historically accurate.

Please, by all means, buy some black Jesus shirts. But bigger picture, wear the shirts as an expression of your brother / sisterhood with black folks in general and other black believers, specifically. 

 

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