Bible Answer

Was Jesus a black man?

What do we know about Jesus' physical qualities?

The Bible gives us ample detail regarding Jesus’ appearance:

1. Jesus was a Jew born of the tribe of Judah (Heb 7:14).
2. Jesus was born of parents who were Jewish descendants of David and indigenous to the land of Palestine (Luke 1:26-27).
3. Jesus was born in a Palestinian region in a town called Bethlehem (Matt 2:6).
4. Jesus’ appearance was ordinary and unremarkable in all ways (Isaiah 53:1-2).

Based on those Scriptures, we know Jesus was an ordinary, unremarkable Palestinian Jew of the first century. Therefore, His appearance would have been consistent with the appearance of other Jews in that region and of that day. Anthropologically speaking, a Palestinian Jew of that time possessed olive-toned skin and Semitic facial features similar to those who dwell in the land today.

For that reason, we know a man born of Jewish parents from the land of Palestine and of the line of David would NOT have possessed the features of an African (i.e., black-toned skin). Moreover, had Jesus been black-skinned like an African, his appearance would have been a remarkable departure from the common appearance of the Jewish people, not ordinary and unremarkable as Isaiah says. Furthermore, a black-skinned man would never have been believed to be Jewish, much less the Messiah, since Semitic people were not dark skinned, historically. 

Therefore, any suggestion that Jesus was a black man is simply myth and false teaching.