Was Jesus black?
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Question: Was Jesus black? Did he have dark skin? What did he look like?
Answer: My quick answer is that I cannot be certain whether our Savior was black or not. This is because the Bible gives us almost NO physical description of Jesus. Our Savior, the God who became a man, was a Jew and a member of the tribe of Judah. Jesus was a descendant of David, King of Israel, who was described by the prophet Samuel as not being black but looking "ruddy":
"And Samuel said to Jesse, 'Are all the young men here?' Then he said, 'There remains yet the youngest, and there he is, keeping the sheep.' And Samuel said to Jesse, 'Send and bring him. For we will not sit down till he comes here.'
"So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy [Hebrew: 'admôniy, Strong's Concordance Number #H132, meaning "reddish of the hair or complexion"], with bright eyes, and good-looking. And the Lord said, 'Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!'" (1Samuel 16:11-12, NKJV throughout)
Note also that this ancestor of Jesus had "bright eyes, and good-looking," although having beautiful ancestors is certainly no guarantee of how a person looks. Although he doesn't mention him being black, Isaiah does give us a general description of the physical appearance of Jesus:
"For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.
"He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief . And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him." (Isaiah 53:2-3)
One religious author wrote concerning what he thought Jesus looked like:
"Scripture indicates Jesus was neither outstandingly tall, nor outstandingly short; He was therefore of the average height of the average Jewish young man of His day. Research suggests that men were somewhat larger than they subsequently became during the Middle Ages; consequently (he) could have been between 5' 7" and 5'10" (1.70 and 1.77 meters).
"His physical stature would have been similar to any other average laboring person who had spent his growing years lifting, tugging, pushing, pulling, and enjoying hard work out of doors . . .
"Jesus looked like what He was: a commonplace Jew of first-century Palestine . . . (he) could have been either blond, redheaded, or dark-headed. There is no way to really tell, since members of the family of Judah can regularly exhibit any of this range of complexions and/or colors of eye or hair." (The Real Jesus, Chapter 6).
Considering the Biblical description and racial characteristics given us by secular history, the evidence points to the fact that Jesus was not black or African in ancestry or looks. The important thing is that, no matter WHAT he looked like or what color was His skin, or what texture was His hair, or what shape His physical features took, He was God, the Son of God, and our Lord and Savior and He remains the only path to salvation for man.
Thank you for your question about was Jesus black.
Written by: Clay Willis