“Son of God” is a pretty entertaining movie and I’d encourage anyone to go see it: believers or nonbelievers. It is interesting to see another person’s interpretation of how the Biblical stories played out. Watching the movie brought about different thoughts about the stereotypes that have been attributed to Jesus over the years. For example, a person could have seen Jesus as a hippie “promoting peace and free love.” Another person could suggest that Jesus was portrayed as a Rock Star appearing to be placed on a pedestal. What I’d like to talk a little bit about is the reason why in most cases Jesus is typically categorized as a white man even though most would argue that visions of Jesus in the Bible portray that “[parts of his body] were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters” (Revelation 1:15), meaning that Jesus was anything but white.
During the movie, my Bestie pointed out that Jesus was the only person in the movie that did not have a hint of color. He was purely white: skin, teeth, clothes, everything about Jesus was white. Part of the reason for this could have simply been because the color white in religion typically symbolizes pureness and well, you can’t get any more pure than Jesus.
With that being said, most people still get irate and find it offensive when they see the images of Jesus as a white man. I used to be one of them until it dawned on me that the portrayal of Jesus is not about his race/ethnicity, but more so what that color represents in its authentic world of colors.
Even though Jesus roamed the Earth, we do not get descriptions of him in the physical sense, but we do know that Jesus “had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him” (Isaiah 53:2) and that “when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is” (I John 3:2). When thinking of this description and the natural essence of colors. White is the only color that can be manipulated to look like other colors. For example, when painting and you’re running low on blue paint, one would just add the blue to the white and the white would then take on characteristics of the blue. Granted, it won’t be the same shade of blue, but it will still be blue nonetheless. In order for Jesus to be a representation of all people, he has to be portrayed as a color that would envelope the characteristics of all people. Because Jesus is portrayed as white and is the light, his presence should be a reflection of who we are as a people. His whiteness is inviting to all those who worship. “The glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb” (Revelation 21:23), there is reason to believe that Jesus should be depicted as illuminating that white light because he is our reason for seeing. He’s only depicted as a man because that is what we humans are: men.
The next time I see an image of white Jesus, as an African American woman, I will not take offense. I will simply smile and place myself in the image because when Jesus returns, he will be like me, and I am formed in Heavenly Papa’s image.