(This article is dedicated to all races of people, who are believers in Christ Jesus)
Today, there is much controversy behind the question, “What Color is Jesus?” However, you cannot give an answer to the question, “What Color is Jesus?” without examining the answer to another question: What is Racism? According to John J. Macionis, Professor and Distinguished Scholar of “Introduction to Sociology,” a powerful and harmful form of prejudice, racism is the belief that one racial category is innately superior or inferior to another. Racism has existed throughout world history. Despite their many achievements, the ancient Greeks, the peoples of India, and the Chinese all regarded people unlike themselves as inferior. Racism has also been widespread throughout the history of the United States, where ideas about racial superiority supported slavery. Today, overt racism in this country has decreased because more people believe in evaluating others, in Martin Luther King Jr.’s words, “not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Even so, racism remains a serious social problem, as some people think that certain racial and ethnic categories are smarter than others. As the Seeing Sociology in Everyday Life box explains, however, racial differences in mental abilities result from environment rather than biology (Macionis, 326). Today many pastors, bishops, and apostles find it difficult to preach about racism, consequently, because the threads of racism is still prevalent even in our church clergy. Often times, the result of the sermon may seem to influence the media and church congregation in a negative way.
“Before Christ found me in the world I was lost, militant, racist, and rebellious. I was living with an ignorant mentality. I had no idea who I was. All I knew was how the world had defined me. In my eyes, (I saw everything in color) I saw everything as “black or white.” Although there wasn’t one prejudice bone in my parent’s body; I allowed my environment and the world’s view to infiltrate my mind. Now that Christ has delivered me from ignorance, I have learned to adjust my heart, and fix my mind on what the word of God says about people in general. As I study ministry I realize that there is a greater calling on my life, and I am held accountable to God. There is more required of me in the eyes of God.”
And in the eyes of God, racism is a sin.
“Greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
God does not look on the outer appearance, but He looks on the heart of man.” (1 Samuel 16:7). This is the mentality that God wants to see in all of His children; you are not perfect, but you strive toward perfection: Apostle Paul said, “Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead” (Philippians 3:12-13). Jesus said, “Let this mind of Christ be in you that was also in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5).
Viewing religious movies
When you watch so-called, religious movies on your TV, at the movies, and you see that the movie has predominantly European actors and actresses, or Black/Hispanic/Latino, are you going to avoid watching the movie because you did not see any one who looked like you? Well, most of us do turn the channel, Why? Culturally and socially you understand each other’s language. Consequently, there are blacks who grow up in predominantly white neighborhoods, and whites who grow up in black neighborhoods, Hispanics and Latinos in black neighborhoods. Learning to be more flexible in your moral judgments and treat all people as God sees them will build more tolerance of other ethnic groups.
What does that say about your mentality? Are you as a Christian still suffering from a racist mentality? Apparently, there must be a reason why most of the religious movies have predominantly European characters. Did it ever occur to you that the same white people who make the movies about Jesus are your brothers? (if saved). What about the message in the movie? Isn’t it about Jesus? Apostle Paul draws on a great revelation when he said, “Whether preached with strife, envy, contention or love, the word of God is preached (Philippians 1:18-19). Therefore, if the movies we watch about Christ depict a racially biased image, pay attention to the message, not the image. If it aligns itself with the word of God, then God is pleased, and this could turn to the Salvation of others. God has made it perfectly clear to his children, that we are made in His image (Genesis 1:27). What does this mean? Christ is the image of God; and Christ dwells in the child of God; man’s soul bears the image of God; man carry’s God’s nature; therefore, we are made in His likeness. It certainly does not mean outer appearance or skin color; it means we are spirit beings in a body with the nature and character of Christ Jesus. In other words, God placed His honor and nature upon all believers. So there is no reason for you to get upset when you see a European image of God, you should know that God is not of any skin color. God is infinitely spiritual. Man is finite and can only bear God’s nature or character, when he accepts Jesus as Lord of his life.
Apostle James says, “Brothers and sisters do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor? (James 4:11-12).
Who Am I: Identity You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are a people of God; once you had not received mercy; but now you have received mercy (1 Peter 2:9-10).
Is it important what other people think of you, or is it important who God says you are? Do you recognize yourself as a "child of God," or as a "white man, black man, Chinese man, Hispanic man? Who does God say you are? Is it really up to Hollywood to define you, or have you accepted who God says you are? If you don't like how Hollywood defines "black folk," then perhaps you need to speak to some of the "black Network owners about making a movie about "black Jesus, "Hispanic, Latinos or "sons, of God, playing the roll as Jesus." But then, will that satisfy you or God? The Bible says, “If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? "Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:47-48). What did God mean when he said, “be perfect?”
It is God’s desire to overcome evil with good, and to entertain strangers, to love those who hate, to love the unthankful. Therefore, God wants you to be like Him. He wants you to love your enemies, and do good to those who despitefully use you (Matthew 5:44). God has done great things for you and expects more from you than from them. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more (Luke 12:48).
Jesus had a private conversation with His disciples: Who do you say I am? (Matthew 16:13). There were various opinions, but one disciple, Apostle Peter told the truth as he was taught by Christ Himself, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Peter summed up the whole matter. The disciples were taught by Christ, the truth. Therefore, they should have known better than others. Are you not a disciple of Christ? Who does God say you are? God never defined you as a "black man," white man, Hispanic man," these are all stereotypical names and generalizations and outer appearances made up for you, or how the world views you. As the Pharisees and Scribes would have rather viewed Christ as an “old prophet,” simply because they did not want to acknowledge the truth that Christ was and is the “Son of the Living God,” you too, are not acknowledged as a “son of God,” a “child of the most High God,” rather a “slave,” or black man, or negro?” “Hispanic,” “:Latino,” or “white man.” But you know better, just as apostle Peter did. You know the “Truth,” you know that you are a “son of God,” an “ambassador of God, a “friend of God’s,” a child of the Most High God,” indeed.
God was so well pleased with Peter knowing the truth, that he called Peter, “the rock,” in which He would build His church. You are blessed and highly favored of the Lord, you are “the church,” “the rock,” Jesus said, “Upon this rock I will build my church.(Matthew 16:18).
Apostle Paul said, “Be not conformed to the things of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:1-2). The Bible says, "There is neither male nor female, Greek nor Jew, slave nor free, we are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). As a Christian man or woman, have you forgotten what the word of God says? Sometimes you get so wrapped up into how the world sees you, instead of remembering how God defines you. Remember, 1 Peter 2:9, you are a chosen generation; or you are ambassadors of God, sons of God, are these names not higher than the outer appearance of a man? Does God not define you by your hearts, or by who He is? Did you forget what He said? Aren't you satisfied with whom Jesus made you to be, or would you rather continue your inner quarrel with man? “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? (James 4:1).
- What Does the Bible say about dealing with racism? God does not speak directly about racism, but God has His own “value system,” it is called, “the Beatitudes.” Jesus preached a “sermon on the Mount,” about the beatitudes in the book of Matthew chapter 5. The Beatitudes are the character of Christ, the mindset and/or the heart of Christ. Christ directs you with precise rules and regulations for living; to understand what you are to do; you are the salt of the earth, and the light of the world; Do not murder your brother, retaliate against your brother, but have brotherly love, and overcome good with evil, by loving your enemies. Love is the cure for racism. Love is God and God is Love.
B. The 8 Beatitudes:
(1) Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
(2) Blessed are them that mourn for they shall be comforted
(3) Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth
(4) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled
(5) Blessed are the merciful for they shall be shown mercy
(6) Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God
(7) Blessed are the peace makers for they shall be called the sons of God
(8) Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
- Why do most religious movies have mainly European actors/actress? Although there is a lot of talk about equal opportunity and freedom in the United States, we are a culture that suffers from judging one another by race, gender, ethnicity and social class. Macionis declares although we like to describe ourselves as a nation of equals there is little doubt that some of us are “more equal,” than others (Macionis, 61).
- How Does the Media influence racial biases? Macionis concedes since television first captured the public imagination in the 1950’s, white males have held center stage; racial and ethnic minorities were all but absent from television until the early 1970s, (white) men generally played the brilliant detectives, fearless explorers and skilled surgeons (298).
- What causes racism? Macionis concedes that prejudice is caused by focusing on frustration, personality and culture. The word racism is not in the Bible, but God admonishes his children to love one another, to love those who hate you. However, in the beginning we had a culture of the Kingdom of God, we knew nothing of frustration and worldly culture, which all came about as a result of sin. The entire universe and its culture was birthed as a result of sin. We were born in sin and shaped in iniquity. Therefore, sin is the cause of racism.
- Is racism a sin, and when did it began? Yes, racism is a sin, and it began when Lucifer (Devil) thought he was greater than God. The same is when a person thinks he is more superior than another person. Lucifer and his bad angels were kicked out of heaven, and that spirit of pride and superiority had fallen upon sinful man (Ezekiel 28:1-26).
- How does God see people? God Does not look on the outer appearance, He looks on the heart. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).
Racism not only exists in the United States, but in countries outside of the U.S. such as, Iran, where there are Muslim Extremists, who persecute Christians, and those who simply convert to Christianity are imprisoned. Those who travel outside of the United States to evangelize, missionaries and Script writers, movie makers to spread the good news of the gospel should be commended, no matter what ethnic group they belong to. The message is more important than the image. God has given them a crown in heaven for winning lost souls to Christ. There are terrorists who are burning crosses today, and it doesn’t matter to them what color the Jesus on the cross is, they are against the very idea that Jesus is God, or that Jesus is the Son of the Living God. Since God is the one who setup the powers that be, has it ever occurred to you that just maybe the environment or mainstream America is not ready for a black Jesus, Hispanic Jesus or any other color? What do I mean by environment not ready? God not only prepares his children for himself, but He also prepares them for the environment in which He places them. The word, “environment,” is not limited to your space, but society as a whole. Racism will exist as long as we see the world in color, by denomination, or religion, or cult, and it is a biblical principle that poor people will always be with us, whether black, white, Hispanic, European, Islamic, Catholic, Protestant or other. The question is, what is your personal world view, or whose eyes are you seeing the world through? Jesus Christ or your own?
The Good news (Salvation) is for all people. Since the early Christian church there has been a struggle with identity. The Jewish Christians struggled with defining themselves by the law or faith in Christ. According to Apostle Paul, the Jewish Christians were constrained to following the law, yet their new found faith in Christ invited them to be holy and liberated, free in Christ Jesus. Today, there is still a struggle with Christians understanding the “freedom in Christ,” and that they are no longer imprisoned to sin, enslaved to their past, racism, or choked by their sinful desires. Christ has made you FREE! Again, Salvation is for all people, Jews, Gentiles, black, white, Hispanic, and Latinos, there is no patent on Christ, He is the God of the whole universe. Salvation is by God’s grace through faith in Christ Jesus and that is it!
It’s not about making black or white movies, Why? To prove that you are superior to the white race or the black race? Are you not promoting racism? The only superior person is Jesus Christ, and spreading the good news (Salvation) of the gospel. God was using Christ to restore his relationship with humanity. He didn't hold people's faults against them, and he has given us this message of restored relationships to tell others (2 Corinthians 5:19). Therefore you are held accountable to God. Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you”(John 20:21-22) "For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions”(Matthew 6:14-15).
What color is Jesus? Jesus is not of any color. Jesus is a Jew, but being a Jew does not paint Jesus white, black, Hispanic or Latino or any other race. Jesus is God, and God is a Spirit with no body. “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:10-12).