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What color was Jesus?


By B. Walker.

I have been asked this on many occasions and why this is such an issue dates back to the time of the creation and genetic mutations. Later on during the time of the Nazi’s and the study of Eugenics, those needing to hate and create strife sparked the national plight for Aryanism and one supreme race over another. In my mind this is nothing more than a tool used to create hate and a perfect example of what is called the Alinsky method or divide and conquer, and to cast a disparaging light on people of color, and in fact the truth of the matter is there is no pure races we have all been cross pollinated so to speak so those who search for this perfect race or skin tone might as well give up! Salvation is offered to all of God’s children who are willing to accept the free gift of salvation no matter what your genetic makeup may be.

This reminds me of the story in the Bible of the Canaanite woman who came to Jesus

The setting for this incident takes place in the region of Tyre and Sidon. Jesus specifically mentions this region during his teaching in Matthew 11:20-21

"Then Jesus began to denounce the cities in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent he states;”Woe to you, Korizin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes."  We pick up at the point where Jesus enters this region.

Matthew 15:21-28 (King James Version)

 21. Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.

 22. And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. (Canaan=Syrian/Phoenician a mixed blood or gentile. An ancient term for a region encompassing modern-day Israel, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories, and adjoining coastal lands, including parts of Jordan, Syria and northeastern Egypt. In the Hebrew Bible, the "Land of Canaan" extends from Lebanon southward across Gaza to the "Brook of Egypt" and eastward to the Jordan River Valley. In far ancient times, the southern area included various ethnic groups, and those found to have practiced idolatry and pagan worship.)

 23. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying; Send her away; for she crieth after us. (Rather than being stunned by the recognition of Jesus as Messiah by the woman, the disciples response is cultural, asking Jesus to send her away seeing as how she was a gentile, and at that a woman.)


 24. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.(For the promise was made unto the house of Israel for their redeemer.)

 25. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. (She literally acknowledged his supremacy as found in the word used for Lord: #2962 Strong’s is the word kurios. And the word worshipped #4352 proskuneo, meaning to prostrate oneself, or bow or kneel before in reverence and adorement.)

 26. But he answered and said, It is notmeet (good) to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.

 27. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs (Or mixed breeds) eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.

 28. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

At first, this is certainly a fascinating picture of God’s grace, apart from the obvious question of "Did Jesus call that woman a dog, and why?" By examining the events, setting up this dialog, one can see a more complete picture of this incident.

(The word used in Greek for meet, is kalos or kal-os’ it is of uncertain affinity; and is used (figuratively) meaning good, (literally or morally) ie valuable or virtuous (for appearance or use, thus it is distinguished from #18 in Strong’s concordance which is exchanged in English meaning good in the widest sense of the word. in effect Jesus was telling the woman it doesn’t look proper for me to offer you the spiritual things offered to the children of promise…….. Let’s take another look at the word dog and what was meant here, Strong’s uses the word # 2952 Kunarion it is the neutral of 2965 that means Dog or hound in the literal or figurative sense of being not of full blood. The word in this sense would be affirmed as the offspring of those not of full blood or diluted blood or puppies of the original dogs or hound.)

The woman's heritage and location makes her knowledge of Jesus remarkable. According to Mark's account, she was a Greek born in Syria of the Phoenicians, an area well outside of Jesus' ministry to confirm what we state here let’s look at Mark and how he relates the story..

Mark 7:24-30 (King James Version)

 24. And from thence he arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would have no man know it: but he could not be hid.

 25. For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet: (here is where we learn #4352 proskuneo, meaning to prostrate oneself as I stated above)

26. The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter. (Note Luke himself makes note she was a Greek/Gentile a Syrophenciam or mixed blood or mongrel dog)

27. But Jesus said unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it unto the dogs. (Note in Luke’s account it is implied that Jesus was to offer the place at the table to the Jew’s first! He does not imply that the Gentile was excluded and in fact we know they were not excluded.)

28. And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children's crumbs. (This reminds me of the parable of the prodigal son, who realizes that even the scraps in his father’s house are better than what the world has to offer.)

 29. And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter.

30. And when she was come to her house, she found the devil gone out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.

 Syria borders Judea on the north and Phoenicia is a coastal strip and fits perfectly in this story of the land within Syria along the Great Mediterranean Sea. Tyre, a city in Phoenicia, and would have been approximately 55 miles from Galilee, a region Jesus ministered in... She is further described as a Canaanite; the Canaanites being enemies of the Jews since God ordered their removal and destruction in the time of Moses and Joshua as found in Deut. 20:16 and Numb. 33:50-53

From a religious standpoint, Greeks had no status in the Jewish religion or God's kingdom because of their idolatry and pantheon of gods used in their worship. The Canaanites date back into antiquity and some trace them back to the time of Ham. The Bible attributes the name to Canaan, the son of Ham and the grandson of Noah, whose offspring correspond to the names of various ethnic groups in the land of Canaan, listed in the "Table of Nations" (Gen. 10), where Sidon is named as his firstborn son, to be subdued by the descendants of Shem.

The Canaanite, the enemy of God's people, would have been despised. One might conclude that through the eyes of Jewish men, a Greek- Canaanite woman would have been considered sub-human, or a bastard, because of their mixture of genetics from the children of God, perhaps to the extent of being unworthy of life itself. These roots trace much further back to the beginning of human history that I will not cover here as this was not my original subject matter, but I am only giving some history before I give reply to the subject under discussion here. I would note that God himself sent his people out to destroy many people’s sparing not woman or child. I also relate here that Noah was a just man, he and his family being spared because he was perfect in his genealogy or genetic makeup from Adam, as this is the root from which Jesus was to be born the son of David.

The Canaanite woman begins the incident by calling out to Jesus. The title she uses is significant. She doesn't address him with general titles of respect but rather she addresses him as "Son of David." She knew who he was and correctly defined the time. The title "Son of David" is a very exclusive title, which is only used to refer to the Jewish Messiah. As found in Matt. 12:23 and Matt. 22:41-42.) Additionally, the revelation of Jesus as Messiah only comes directly from God, as evidenced by Peter's confession and acknowledgement of Jesus as Messiah to which Jesus replied," Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in Heaven." Matt.16: 16-17. Further note that it was upon this revelation Jesus proclaimed he would build his church, and not on the personage of Peter but of the revelation Peter had of Christ.

Though Jesus does not respond to this woman when she cries out, Jesus doesn't send her away, but states, "I was sent only to the lost children of Israel," and "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to the dogs." There are only two ways this woman can respond. She can assume she's being insulted and called a dog and take offense and be angry, or she can discern the spiritual message hidden beneath the master’s speech and statement. By her response, she appears to understand that Jesus' primary calling is to the Jews and those of promise, but incredibly, she also recognizes that just the crumbs, that fall from the masters table, are enough for what she's asking for in the healing of her daughter, and that we all rely on God for our very existence.

The woman's recognition of Jesus as the Son of David, and her comprehension of the spiritual message underlying Jesus' response to her, and her belief that this miracle required nothing more than crumbs of Jesus' power provided overwhelming evidence for Jesus to declare, "O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

What does this all have to do with what color Jesus was? It would be easy for me to just blurt out and quote scripture here to give a reply but this issue is more complex than most understand and I feel it necessary to give more of an historical account so that some cannot twist scripture to somehow exclude some because of their genetic make up for which we have no control over, or to play to the racist class as many do to this day as a means to cast disparaging images on others. It is good to discern the times and to keep in mind that Christ died once for all men so that we might be saved. For it is the desire of God the father, that no flesh should perish but that all should come to the knowledge of the truth and except the free gift of salvation for there is none righteous no not one.

The Apostle Paul is the evidence to the fact that God loves all his children and sent Paul out to the Gentiles to preach the Gospel (Good News) to a hurting world who still needs a savior today as much as the day Jesus died at Calvary. Has God cast the Jews out in favor of the gentiles, No! Not on your life, The fact of the matter is that God made a promise to the Jews through Abraham that will never be broken, and the fact is the Jew is still Gods chosen people, and had they at the time not rejected Christ none of us would be saved today, and in fact this happened so that those gentiles would in turn carry the gospel to the world, so that God is all, in all, and the Jews would be reconciled to their God at the time of the end.

Keep in mind Jesus was a Jew, born of a Jewish virgin who was from a long line of Jewish heritage we know Jesus genealogy and he was called the son of David. Now again we ask what color was Jesus and how do we know for sure? To answer this we go to scripture and what it has to say about the Lord. We know he was not a very good looking man as stated in Isaiah as we are told he had no form or comeliness and they esteemed him not.

We go to a description of his family line and King David who is stated to have been good looking and of a ruddy complexion 1 Samuel 16:12

1 Samuel 16:12 (King James Version)

12And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was (ruddy), and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the LORD said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he.

1 Samuel 17:42 (King James Version)

 42And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and (ruddy,) and of a fair countenance. In Hebrew the word ruddy is admoniy, ad-mo-nee or more fully admowniy; meaning reddish as to show blood in the face as in rosey red cheeks or to become flush from fair skin.

Further read the songs of Solomon who in his praise speaks of the coming Christ and gives a description of him in Solomon 5: 10-16

My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand .His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven. The word ruddy in this verse is the Hebrew word adom, (adam) aw-dome; meaning rosy, red, ruddy, show red in the face to become or made red or flush!

So what we know is that Jesus was fair in complexion and had black hair as black as a raven. There is much more to be said here but I think it safe to say that Jesus was fair or olive skinned with black hair and this would be “A” typical for one of Jewish Origins. Some claim he was lily white but if you look at the Jewish people they too are fair skinned if you use many others in the area as a guide to define color tone. But to hold one skin tone above another is foolishness as Jesus is Lord to all no matter what genetic makeup or skin pigment you may have.

For God so loved the World! This means all not just a few! That he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in his should not perish but have everlasting life.