What Color Is Your Jesus?
Bible Reading: Galatians 3:26-28
There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female. For you are all Christians-you are one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28
Here’s a question to talk about: What did Jesus look like?
People have painted pictures of Jesus looking like just about everything but a space alien-and they’ve probably done that too. But most Americans see Jesus as a youngish Harrison Ford-brown hair, brown eyes, with movie-star looks. And white. Tan, most likely, but definitely white. The kind of white that you might bump into in Seattle or Minneapolis in the dead of winter.
The truth is, Jesus’ skin color was probably far darker than the average American’s. He was a Jew. His Middle Eastern heritage was starkly obvious when he stood before Pilate, a pale Roman.
So why does this matter? Because some people use Jesus or the Christian faith to justify their hatred of other people-especially non-Christian people, like Muslims from the Middle East.
But Jesus is the best reason why racial prejudice (hating groups of people because of their race or skin color) is wrong. Even though Jesus was born as a human being at a specific place and time and had specific racial characteristics, his race and color didn’t limit his associations with people. How do we know?
• When Jesus was on earth, the Jews hated the Samaritans and looked down on them because they didn’t worship God the same way the Jews did. Jesus was a Jew, yet he spoke freely and respectfully to the Samaritan woman (see John 4:4-30).
• Jewish custom said that Jesus shouldn’t enter the home of a non-Jew. Yet when a Roman army officer pleaded for Jesus to heal his servant who lay sick at home, Jesus healed him (see Luke 7:3-10).
Jesus lived in a time and place that decided how to treat people based on their race (Jew or Gentile), social class (slave or free, rich or poor), and gender (male or female). But Paul pointed out in Galatians 3:26-28 that Jesus turned those prejudices upside down. As Jesus’ followers, we have the chance to be like him-not because we share his skin color or race, but by accepting and loving people no matter their gender, class, or race.
TALK: In what ways does Jesus look or act just like you? How is he different?
PRAY: Jesus, help us to be like you. Help us to overcome our prejudices against people who aren’t the same race, against men or women, or against people who have more or less money than we have.
ACT: Eat lunch this week with someone outside your race or social class.