There are countless artistic expressions of Jesus and what he might have looked like. As a white person I grew up looking at pictures of a white Jesus. I never even thought a thing about this until I became an adult. I guess we all think Jesus is like us when really we should be striving to be more like Him. Every culture around the world identifies with Jesus but only one culture gets to officially claim they actually look like Jesus: middle eastern Jews. Jesus probably looked more like this:
We’re all most comfortable around people like us but when we seek to make others like us we fail. God doesn’t intend for everyone to be like me and my culture so I shouldn’t seek to require everyone around me to conform. I grew up seeing a white Jesus. My intellect knows Jesus wasn’t white. He probably looked more like my Hispanic friends as I don’t personally know any Jews from the middle east. A google search on the faces of Jesus can teach us a lot. Jesus didn’t look like me. I should seek to be like Him, not depict Him as more like me, for doing that makes me the center. In essence when we do this we worship ourselves. What a great danger!
Jesus might have even been so dark skinned that we’d say He was black. Bottom line is we don’t know exactly what color or shade of skin Jesus was. I think if we dwell on this point we miss who Jesus is entirely. It’s obvious that when people met Jesus their main thoughts weren’t about His skin color. I don’t recall any comments on the shade of his skin. People knew immediately He was different. He was God Himself here among us. We have the opportunity to look beyond skin color and really see one another, the real souls that inhabit the bodies around us. After all, it’s the soul that really matters. Our temporary temples we dwell in for now will grow old and give out.
Jesus had one body and one mission. Our mission can align with Jesus. We can look like Him a little more every day in the things we do and say. This is far more important than trying to conform Jesus to fit me.
Once I asked a girl what she learned while we were returning home from taking them to see a live nativity drama experience. “Jesus is for poor people too,” she said. Never had I fathomed that the students we ministered to would think Jesus is just for us wealthy white people. We all still have a lot to learn.