Was Jesus White?

Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly caused quite a stir when she stated that Jesus was white.  To be sure, many of us have probably seen more than one image that presents Jesus as a northern European.  But the question and the controversy is really about an important distinction.  There is the Jesus of history, and the Christ of faith.

When we consider the Jesus of history, we ask the question what did the historical Jesus look like?  In an historical context, Jesus had to look like a particular human being.  With all due respect to the paintings of Jesus as a northern European, it would have made Jesus quite odd to look like a northern European.  Most likely, he would have looked like Middle Easterners do today.  That is, hardly a fair-skinned blue-eyed man, but a dark skinned, Semitic-looking Palestinian Jew of the first century.

But when we consider the Christ of Faith, we consider a Christ who looks like us.  In fact, a Catholic pastor in Minnesota has been collecting various nativity sets for a number of years.  They represent the nativity depicted in a variety of ways.  So, in the context of faith, it is ok for all of us to believe Jesus bears resemblance to us, because the value is that Jesus became one of us to save us all.

So it is ok for Megyn Kelly to insist her image of Jesus is white.  But to universalize this in the context of what was historically accurate, is the real problem.  Jesus came to save all, regardless of what they looked like.  And if someone is drawn to a Jesus that looks more like them in salvation, then that is all right.