How does Jesus Christ view a ‘vile and contemptible race’?*
Most people know that Jesus of Nazareth was a Jewish man. Sometimes it seems that people like to forget that aspect of Him. I won’t mention any names, but through the centuries, some of those who have loudly professed Jesus as their Lord and Savior have expressed anti-Semitism. How ironic! So let’s get real. Jesus was a human being, a member of one of humanity’s nation groups.
It says a lot about God that the Father has a human Son. It says that being human is a good thing in God’s sight, and His sight is the only one that matters. After God created the first human, as Genesis 1:31 says, God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. That settles it. It is good to be human. No vile* race here.
And it gets even better, because Jesus is now the Head of humanity. Here’s how: in 1 Corinthians 15:45, Adam and Jesus are compared. It says: So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The Apostle Paul compares Adam and Jesus in several places of this chapter and in Romans 5, showing that Jesus effectively undid Adam’s sin. In doing so, Jesus became the new Head of humanity, as further elaborated on by the second-Century writer Ireneaus in Against Heresies Book III “Chapter XXI.—Christ is the head of all things.”
Jesus replaced Adam as the Head of humanity. Let’s consider how He looks at humanity. Here are a few things the Word of God says about Him. John 1:9 says He is The true light that gives light to everyone. V. 12 of the same chapter says, Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. He does not discriminate. The rights and privileges are equally available to everyone who believes in Him. Anyone contemptible here?*
He spoke of His impending crucifixion in these terms: And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself (John 12:32). Thus, He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2). He prayed for those who believe in Him that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. (John 17:20). Jesus wants all of us to be one.
If we are going to talk about “race,” we need to talk about the one human race, created by a loving God to be His children. We need to talk about the one human race whose Head and Savior is Jesus Christ. We need to talk about the one human race that Jesus prayed for that they all might be one as we see in the Triune relationship.
As a black person all my life I have “heard” a message from the United States of America. It says, “You are not welcomed here. At best, you are tolerated here. It would be good if you were not here. Why don’t you just get out! You are not appreciated. You are not loved. You are a burden on the nation. You cause many problems. You are not equal, and you will not be equally treated unless the law forces it.” That message may not appear in official documents, and many of the laws that previously voiced it have been changed. But the more subtle message is still systemically voiced. Those who have heard it all their lives have keenly tuned hearing to pick it up. Now and then it blares out loudly in the statements of politicians, religionists, and hate groups.
I don’t believe that black people are the only ones who have heard that message; others looked upon as different, often racially different, have heard it too. The question is should anyone?
Contrast that message with the message of Jesus to all people, including people of color and any cast as a vile and contemptible race*: “God loves you so much that He sent Me to save you. I want you to believe and come to Me. You are welcomed. You are appreciated. You are loved. You are wanted. Remain in Me always.” (Paraphrased from John 3:16; John 15:9; Mat. 11:28)
What would it be like if such words were spoken to all people today? What would it sound like to hear, “Welcome to our church all dearly loved people?”
For an explanation of * see the previous Blog