When I was a young person, when I would see a picture of Jesus which was more ethnically correct it seemed strange. Obvious by my pale skin, I am of northern European decent — Sweden to be specific. At the time I was growing up (you know the covered wagon days when I was a kid), these darker versions of Jesus were actually somewhat controversial. In this millennium, illustrations showing various ethnicities are accepted and even expected. Through my adulthood I have known it is important for people to see a picture of Jesus which represents them, yet I did not personally understand the concept.
Several years ago, I was going through a tough transition. Being the visual person I am, I wanted a picture of Jesus in a loving, supportive embrace of someone to help me through. What I thought would be a simple search on the internet, turned into a two week detective hunt. Quickly and easily I found pictures of Jesus with men and women, however, none were Caucasian females. The ethnicity of the individuals had not been a consideration in the beginning. Yet soon it became apparent the picture needed to be with a Caucasian woman for me to relate to it. I could not comprehend why it mattered so much, but I could not find what I needed in these pictures. Eventually, I did find one with Jesus’ arm around a pale white woman like myself.
In the years since, I have realized how fortunate I am to have had this experience and through it come to understand something few white folks do — the ethnicity of the persons in an illustration truly does matter. However, Jesus understands this need. This is why He took on human form when He came to earth. How would we relate to Him if He had come in His “God” form? There would have been no way He would have been relevant to us in that form. His brightness would have terrified us because we are not perfect. His experience would not have been anything like ours because He would have been God, not a person like us.
I am glad my Savior cared enough about me to become relatable.