Michael Sweet of openly Christian rockers STRYPER says that the race and appearance of Jesus Christ "shouldn't matter" because "He was, is and forever will be our Savior."
While the most common image of Jesus Christ, at least in Western cultures, has been that of a bearded, fair-skinned man with long, wavy, light brown or blond hair and blue eyes, despite being born in the Middle Eastern Judea region, evidence indicates he probably looked very different from how he has long been portrayed.
Earlier today, Sweet took to his social media to write: "I had an interesting conversation last night at dinner about Jesus being either white or black. Most photos depict Him as white yet He was born in Bethlehem (present day Israel) so He was born a Jew. The real issue is it shouldn't matter yet in our society today it still does, from both sides. It shouldn't matter what color He was and we should all just except the fact that Regardless of the color of His skin or what He May have looked like - He was, is and forever will be our Savior and The King of Kings. It's too bad He didn't create us all to be color blind. I guess He left that up to us. Free will, free choice. Unfortunately we continue to let colors separate us. God made it so simple yet we've made it so complicated. Maybe we'll get it right Someday......."
Back in 2015, a British scientist released an image that he said was a far more accurate representation of what Jesus actually may have looked like, based on forensic anthropology.
Richard Neave recreated the face of Jesus by studying Semite skulls using modern-day forensic techniques, saying that Jesus would have likely had a darker complexion and short, dark, curly hair. These features would likely have been typical of Middle Eastern Jews in the Galilee area of northern Israel.
In a 2018 interview with the Detroit Free Press, Michael said that STRYPER was never fully embraced by the heavy metal and hard rock communities, largely because of the band's Christian lyrics.
"We've never been accepted by either side," he said. "The secular side, the mainstream, they've never accepted us to this day. We're probably that band that everyone's going to go to whenever there's a time to mock. We'll be the band used for that in most cases. Now on the Christian side, we've never really had the full support of the Christian side because we don't fit into their little club. We're not wearing suits and ties and going to every church and preaching."
Formed 37 years ago, STRYPER's name comes from Isaiah 53:5, which states: "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."