On whose side are you?

On whose side are you?

“Did you know that Jesus was black?” Stunningly, this question was posed by a member of the Body during a bible class in which I was present. I responded to the question by saying that some white people say Jesus is white, some black people say Jesus is black and His people, the Jews don’t want anything to do with Him. These assertions about Jesus’ ethnicity are as foolish as the day is long. Jesus was a Jew (Hebrews 7:14) He was of middle eastern descent so neither black nor white. This being said, it is important to refrain from dismissing assertions like these. I have always maintained and frequently proclaim that I am not concerned about what a person says but why they are saying it. How people reach their conclusions is as important if not more so than what they say. Our speech and actions are the sum of our thoughts; Jesus proclaimed this truth to His adversaries. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaksLuke 6:45. The empathic statements about Jesus’ “race” may be ridiculous but it spawns from a deeper problem. Claiming Jesus’ ethnicity to be the same as yours has to do with elevation by association. The Great king Jesus belongs to our race, He is our people, He is on our Side!

God is not influenced by your ethnicity, social standing, or political preference.

Morne Stephanus

An apt illustration of this problem is seen in the pictorial portrayal of Jesus during times of slavery and segregation. Every image of Jesus was sketched with Him being a blue-eyed, blond-haired individual who, contrary to the scriptures was very handsome (Isaiah 53:2). Growing up in Catholicism we had one hanging in our home, and it’s still there. Those who propagated racism wanted the Messiah to look like them, thus elevating themselves in the eyes of the ones they oppressed. In no shape or form could they portray Jesus as a middle eastern individual because that would intimate their subservience to someone of color. Hence, it is no wonder many call Christianity the “white man’s religion.” Herein lies the problem with our society at large, people want Jesus on their side to inordinately to elevate themselves (Cf. Romans 12:13). What many fail to realize is that God is not on anyone’s side, nor does He show partiality to one group or race of people. Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by HimActs 10:34-35.

The apostle Peter said it plainly enough for all to grasp. If we practice righteousness we are on God’s side. Subsequently, if we live in wickedness we are on the side of His adversary. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother1 John 3:8-10. The nation of Israel found out the hard way that their special relationship with God was predicated on His salvific purpose (Cf. Genesis 12:1-3) and their obedience (Cf. Leviticus 26:14-16). Foolishly Israel believed that God’s approval of them was void of conditions. On one occasion they arrogantly went into battle while sin was rampant in the nation (Cf. 1 Samuel 7:3) thinking that the presence of the Ark of The Covenant would secure the victory. After all God was on “their side.” The ark was taken by the Philistines, and Israel was defeated (1 Samuel 4:1). Did God “side” with the Philistines? No, His favor was with His people only as long as His people were with Him. God not being on their side was not the issue them not being on His, was.  

The entire Bible account from start to finish has but one message, get on God’s side. When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, they set man up to be at odds with God (Cf. Romans 6:23 & Isaiah 59:1-2). In Christ, God has provided a way for mankind to be reconciled to Him (2 Corinthians 5:18). Brethren and friends God has but one side, His own! God has never sided with anyone nor has He ever chosen a side. God is not influenced by your ethnicity, social standing, or political preference. Not even those of us in Christ can claim that God is on our side. The Scriptures are replete with warnings to the child of God to remain with God, to continue on His side (Cf. James 4:4 & 1 John 1:7).  Our blessings and favor in Christ are wholly dependent on whether or not we are continually with Him (Cf. Romans 8:1, 31). What God desires from all of us is that we align with Him. Instead of trying to get God to be on your side, you need to make sure that you are on His side!