New film asks, "was Jesus black?" - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Ursula Madden

New film asks, "was Jesus black?"

What did Jesus look like?
Was he white with flowing straight hair?

Maybe he was of Middle Eastern descent with wavy locks and olive-toned skin.

Or was he a black man with a kinky afro, possibly dreds?

The creator of the new film" Color of the Cross" - Jean Claude LaMarre - thinks he knows the answer.
LaMarre's movie depicts Christ as a black man, an idea that's been around for centuries.

LaMarre says, "Prior to the Renascence, most of the images of Jesus and Mary and child were dark skinned.  All the people of that day that we identify as Jews or Hebrews were darker skinned than they are today."
The idea that Jesus may have been crucified in part because of the color of his skin is new!

The movie quotes, "Die you black Jew!  Do you think they're doing this because he's black? "

Action News 5 asked Pastor Bill Adkins of Greater Imani Church if race may have played a role in Christ's crucifixion.

Adkins says, "I think it's more geo-political than it is racial as we tend to think of racism today."

Adkins continues, "Jesus' race was not behind his crucifixion."
High Point Associate Pastor Andy Savage agrees.

"The issue of Jesus has more to do about his claims in life and has nothing to do with his race," says Savage. 
Savage believes Jesus looked as though he was Middle-Eastern but says there's nothing wrong with other ethnic images of Christ.

Savage continues, "I think those descriptions are probably inaccurate to the person of Jesus.  But I think they're okay in the sense that people want to understand Jesus and they want to relate to him in their own way."
Action News 5 downloaded various pictures of Jesus and asked people which one looked most like the man they worship.

Everyone we asked pointed to this picture as their idea of Jesus...
A problem...says Color of the Cross writer and star Jean Claude LaMarre.

LaMarre says, "We are the only race of people, African Americans that worship a God outside of our own image."
Whatever image people associate with Christ, Pastor Savage says the message -- not the skin color -- matters most.

Savage says, "The race issue shades the claims of Christ, which I would say are the more important issues."
Issues a young director hopes audiences will embrace...while at least considering the color of the cross.

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