A Christian racist? We are living in a time when many who claim to be disciples of Jesus are supporting individuals and groups who do not subscribe to Christian principles, showing clearly by their attitudes, words and actions that they basically reject Jesus’s life and teachings.
Jesus came to live and die and conquer sin and death for the whole human race; and according to the scriptures we are all made in the image of God and are precious in his sight. When any one of us, or any group of us, affirms that we are more favored by God than any other person or group, we have missed the whole point of Jesus’s mission and ministry. He came to seek and save the lost-all of us. He came to set us all free from sin and death. And racism is one of those sins from which he came to set us free.
In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus outlines why he came: to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives and the recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord (Lk. 4:18-19). Jesus was well received in the synagogue as he quoted the basics of lsaiah 61:1-2 and told them that the scripture had been fulfilled in their hearing, but the listeners began to bristle as he began to interpret what he had read. He told them about the Hebrew prophet Elijah and his ministry to a non-Jewish widow, and about Elisha’s ministry in the healing of the non-Jewish Naaman. He hit a racist nerve among the worshipers and they got so angry at Jesus that they planned to kill him.
The Jews to whom Jesus spoke in the synagogue had misinterpreted their existence and calling as one of privilege rather than responsibility.
Just as God made covenant with the Israelites at Mount Sinai, in like manner he made covenant with the Christian Church as the new Israel. And just as Jesus made it clear that his mission was to save both Jews and Gentiles, he made it clear that there should be no room for racist attitudes among Christians.
Herbert Hash Jr.