Brother Ron Barnes
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                                    Black Jesus                              


Dear Brother Ron


Why isn't Jesus black? He was born in Jerusalem which is a Middle Eastern country. So chances are he would either be dark skinned or tan. If not to start, he would have tanned growing up. So why is He always portrayed as white?




Dear Trusting


I have often wondered the same thing myself. If you look at videos from the Middle East, you don't see too many blue-eyed blondes. Jesus was a pure native Hebrew. The book of Matthew begins with a listing of His heritage back to Abraham. This was done to validate Jesus as a "real" Jew, meaning a legitimate member of one of the tribes of Israel. So it would be logical to assume that He had the same physical characteristics as others of the same lineage.


I have visited many churches and seen pictures of a black Jesus, an oriental Jesus and a Native American Jesus. I believe this is done to help the congregation identify with Jesus as "one of us". Given the history of mistreatment suffered by other races at the hands of white oppressors, this is understandable. But I also believe that Christianity is not well served by the insertion of mythology into the dogma.


There have been many attempts to validate depictions of Jesus as having a light complexion and brown hair. You can learn more about the various physical descriptions of Jesus at


The official explanation is that Mary was a Hamite, meaning she was descended from the Europeans, not the people of the Middle East. The descriptions mentioned above have been the subject of much criticism and concerns about their authenticity. There is much speculation that they were created by the Church to make Jesus more acceptable to the people of Europe.


The important thing about Jesus is not the color of His skin, His hair or His eyes. The important thing is the message He gave us about a loving God and how to know, love and serve Him. Maybe the Muslims had this controversy in mind when they declared a ban on pictures of Mohammed. They wanted people to focus on the message, not the man.


Perhaps Christians would be well advised to do the same.


Best always

Brother Ron