Perhaps this is a question to which you’ve never given much thought. Maybe this causes you to think even further back to the beginning of time: what color were Adam and Eve? Try this: close your eyes and think about the image of Jesus. What color do you see? Do you have a picture of Jesus hanging on your wall? What color is He in it? Here is a fact no one can argue with: there are no photographs of Jesus. There have been many depictions of Jesus throughout the years. I googled pictures of Jesus and found an image of every shade from white to black. Does Jesus’ skin pigmentation matter?
Here’s what we do know from Scripture. Jesus was a Jew. Matthew 1:1 says He was, “The son of David, the son of Abraham”, both Jews. Hebrews 7:14 says He was from Judah, John 1:11 says, “He came to His own (Judah).” Jesus said, speaking to the Gentiles, “We (Jews) know what we (Jews) worship” (John 4:22). So, if Jesus was Jewish, what did He look like? There is a physical description of Jesus mentioned in Scripture. Isaiah 53:2 says, “For He grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him.” This means Jesus looked like any ordinary man. And to be clear, He was sinless and fully man and fully God at the same time (e.g. Hebrews 4:15, John 1:14, Colossians 2:9).
Historically, Jesus has been portrayed more often as white (fair skin, eyes other than dark, and lighter hair). However looking at Jesus’ ethnicity in Scripture, that’s bad theology. Being Jewish, He most likely had dark eyes, dark hair, and dark skin. If Jesus’ skin color were of the utmost importance, God would have specifically said “Jesus was black/white/brown/tan/dark”. But here is the most important question on this topic: Does the redemption (Colossians 1:14; Ephesians 1:7) Jesus offered on the cross hinge on the color of His skin? Sometimes people claim Jesus was one ethnicity or another to claim superiority over one another. What a repulsive sin! But, again, let’s look at Scripture. In Acts 10:34-35, Peter said, “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.” Did you see that? Every nation! This Gospel of Jesus’ atoning work on the cross is for the whole world of those who trust in Him as Savior (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8). There are no cultural, racial, or ethnic barriers for those who are in Christ. Galatians 3:28 says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek…you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:14 says,” For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two groups (Jew and Gentile) one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.” The racial hostility in this world can be healed alone through the Peace that is Jesus. The color of Jesus skin is irrelevant when it comes to His saving power. That applies to us: the color of people around us should not matter – what should matter is the condition of their soul.
What color is my Jesus? While I know He was Jewish that isn’t the first color I think about. I think about the color red – the color of His blood shed on the cross for our sins. I don’t have a white Jesus…or a black Jesus…or somewhere-in-between Jesus. I simply and thankfully have Jesus – who died to save all mankind. What color are the people of heaven? Revelation 5:9, 7:9, and 14:6 say there are people of every tribe, tongue, and nation. Our churches should reflect this! Every shade human skin could possibly be on earth will also be in heaven! I’m not sure you’ll be able to tell Jesus’ skin color in heaven as, “He Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being” (Hebrews 1:3). His glory will beam bright and illuminate all of heaven (Revelation 22:5). Why don’t we stop arguing about what color Jesus was and work together to see that the whole world knows Jesus as Savior? I don’t worship a picture of Jesus on a wall or an image in a history book. I worship the resurrected, ever-living, one and only Savior who was sent by God into this world “to save sinners of whom I am chief” (1 Timothy 1:15).