All Sinners Matter
Shaun King, one of Black Lives Matter’s leaders, has called for statues and murals of “white Jesus” to be torn down. Which makes sense because Jesus’ defining characteristic is not the love he showed humanity, not his compassion, not his sacrifice, not his teachings, but the color of his skin. Apparently, Mr. King requires that Jesus share the same skin color as himself for Jesus’ teachings, and his life to have meaning.
According to the New Testament, Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. He was not a child of mortal man, but of God Almighty. His skin color was most likely that of a Middle Eastern Jewish person, but that is irrelevant because Jesus is the most transcendent being in Western Culture. He cannot and will not be defined by something as insignificant as his skin color. And if we are unable to look beyond his skin color, we will be unable to fully embrace the meaning and the purpose of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.
Jesus came to Earth for all of us sinners, not a select group designated by the color of their skin. Jesus sees right through our skin directly into what matters most, our hearts and our souls. The trappings of this world that people like Shaun King get caught up in mean nothing to Jesus. Jesus chose the lowest of society, sinners and unethical people like tax collectors to be his Apostles. Jesus taught inclusion and embraced the marginalized. He healed lepers, the blind, the disabled. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus blessed the poor, the mourning, the meek, the hungry, and proclaimed their reward would be great in heaven.
Jesus stood up to the mob mentality like what has hi-jacked our social discourse today. He confronted a vengeance-filled pack of men ready to stone to death a woman caught in adultery, and proclaimed, “he who is without sin may cast the first stone.” The mob immediately dropped their stones and walked away, for none of them were without sin. Jesus destroyed the barrier between the “righteous” and “unrighteous” by exposing the fact that we all are sinners. If Jesus were walking the Earth today, he would confront the vengeance-filled mobs devastating our cities, hell bent on the destruction of all sinners, and proclaim, “he who is without sin may throw the first Molotov cocktail.” The mob probably would throw them anyway because they are so blinded by their own virtue, they actually believe they are without sin.
Jesus believed black lives matter, because he believed all lives matter. He came to save all of us. His message was inclusive, not exclusive. Jesus said, “love your enemies”, not loot their stores and burn down their buildings. Jesus loves and forgives all sinners. The mob led by Shaun King enacts revenge and ruin on those they deem are sinners. If Jesus came only for the sinless, the blameless, there would have been no one to come for. To Jesus, All Sinners Matter.
Jesus asked us to “love one another as I have loved you”. Jesus loves all of us, even those this warped new world believes are not deserving of his love or his forgiveness, who certain people tell us must be torn down and cancelled. Jesus came for all humanity, not just one race, not just one skin color. In the Gospel of John, Jesus spoke of the sheep of different folds coming together to “be one flock.”
In his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr, referenced the apostle Paul’s words from Galatians. “There is no longer Jew or Gentile, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” Once again, Jesus breaks down the barriers that small minded people use to divide us. The unifying vision of Dr. King is preferable to the divisive rhetoric of Shaun King. The messages of Jesus and Dr. King are eternal, not limiting.
Shaun King’s call to destroy “white Jesus” is meant to divide us by race, not unify us by faith. It is the exact opposite of what Jesus would do. He would not have called for removing of his likeness based on the depiction of his skin color. He would have welcomed his depiction in all colors, because his message transcends race, goes far beyond the physical differences that mere mortals too often allow or chose to divide humanity. Jesus taught that we all are children of God. His parable of the Good Samaritan breaks down racial barriers. So, if we need to depict Jesus in every race and skin color to help spread his message of love and forgiveness to all of humanity, then we should because his teaching, his love is what can really heal this broken world.
During his transfiguration on the mountain, Jesus’ face shines with bright rays of light. He is surrounded by Moses and Elijah, and God calls him his son. Thomas Aquinas considered the transfiguration "the greatest miracle" because it showed the perfection of life in Heaven. This event in Jesus’s life showed that he was neither bound nor defined by his worldly form, rendering his appearance irrelevant to the purpose and meaning of his life.
His life, his message, his teachings, his sacrifice are so profound that to focus on his skin color is to miss the entire meaning of Jesus’ life.