by Rob Shiflet
Bible Reading: Galatians 3:26-28
There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28, NIV
WHAT DID JESUS look like?
We don’t really know the answer to that question, but many Americans and Europeans picture Jesus of Nazareth with brown hair, brown eyes, handsome—and white. Caucasian. Suntanned, maybe, but definitely white. The kind of “white” you might meet in Minneapolis. Cincinnati. Or Peoria, Illinois.
But that’s a myth. In all probability, Jesus was much darker in complexion than the average white American or European. He was born a Jew, he lived as a Jew, and he remained a Jew throughout his life. More importantly, even though he entered the stage of humanity at a specific place and time and possessed specific racial characteristics, in a larger sense Jesus transcends the barriers of race and color.
He was a Jew, yet he spoke freely and respectfully to a Samaritan woman. (See John 4.)
Custom prohibited Jesus, a Jew, from entering the home of a Gentile; yet when a Roman centurion pleaded on behalf of his servant, who lay sick at home, Jesus replied, “I will come and heal him.” (See Matthew 8:5-13.)
When he was hounded by a Canaanite woman (Canaanites were historic enemies of the Jewish people), Jesus commended her faith and healed her daughter. (See Matthew 15:21-28.)
Jesus, though, was a victim of racial prejudice himself. On one trip through Samaria, he was rejected because the Samaritans guessed that he was a Jew bound for Jerusalem. (See Luke 9:51-56.)
The society that Jesus entered when he became a man drew three primary distinctions among people: They were divided by their race (Jew or Gentile), class (slave or free), and sex (male or female). The Good News that Jesus brought presented a radical departure from those class distinctions, however. Paul summarized it eloquently when he wrote, “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus…. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26-28, NIV).
The followers of Jesus must be like him, not in their color or racial characteristics, but in accepting and loving and living in harmony with all people-regardless of sex, class, or race distinctions.
REFLECT: God commands unity—or living in harmony—among all people. How do 1(7 you usually treat people who are different from you? Are you living in harmony with all people—regardless of sex, class, or race distinctions?
PRAY: Say a special prayer today for victims of discrimination, particularly among the people you know.