Months ago, I heard that The Boondock’s creator, Aaron McGruder, was writing a new show for Adult Swim. I was excited to say the least. I’ve always enjoyed the satirical and unapologetic comedy that McGruder produced, so I was interested in seeing how he would place his unique spin on a show entitled “Black Jesus.”
The show premiered on Thursday, August 7, 2014, to an outcry of protests from the religious base. There is an online petition currently circulating with nearly 10,000 signatures calling for the cancelation of the show. No one seems to have anything good to say about this program. At the top of the list is the fact that Jesus is being portrayed as a Black man. I, for one, was glad to finally see Jesus portrayed by an African American. A darker-skinned Jesus is more historically and Biblically correct, as Jesus was born in a region where the people were of darker skin tones, and the Bible references Jesus as having “hair like wool … and feet the color of brass.”
As I did more research about “Black Jesus,” I found out that the more concerning elements of the show were the blasphemous overtures. Now, I do not want to be presumptuous in thinking that everyone is familiar with what blasphemy means, or how serious this is to the church. Blasphemy is the act or offense of speaking sacrilegiously about God or sacred things; profane talk. According to scripture, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is an unforgivable sin. So, you can understand how an entire show seemingly centered around blasphemous tones could be more than offensive to Christian viewers.
So, I wanted to watch the show for myself before blindly writing the show off as being offensive. Needless to say, within the first 60 seconds of the show, I was conflicted. As a fan of McGruder, I found the banter and dialogue humorous, but in the same breathe, I was offended at how Jesus was being portrayed. As a Christian, this show is not easy to watch at all. Think of it in simple terms, if you love someone, you do not want to hear anyone speak negatively about them. This is how I felt while watching “Black Jesus.” I love Jesus Christ, and I respect and honor Him as my Savior, so it was hard for me to watch Him portrayed in a way that I felt was ultimately disrespectful.
However, in an effort to give an unbiased assessment of the show, I will say that it is creative and daring (to say the least). The show has a star-studded cast with veteran comedians such as Charlie Murphy, John Witherspoon and Vine sensation, King Bach. In true McGruder fashion, “Black Jesus” uses satire to force you to think of everyday situations in a different way. The character of Jesus in the show is God’s son and has all of the power that comes with that role, but He does not abuse it. He is shown going through life with everyday people and trying to walk the line between humanity and His divinity. He is shown as being conflicted in this walk in several occasions because He would spread messages of love and salvation, then moments later lie, curse or do drugs. Perhaps there is something to be said about how as Christians, we struggle with these very same temptations. As we try to live holy and walk upright, we often go back and forth between righteous and questionable living.
I’d like to believe that McGruder was not intentionally trying to be offensive or blasphemous against Christ with the making of “Black Jesus.” I believe he decided to place “Jesus” into modern day scenarios to show the conflict that humans have in trying to do what is right in a world that seems to be rigged for us to fail. The problem with his approach, in my opinion, is that the premise is flawed. Yes, Jesus did walk this earth as a man and was faced with all of the ills and temptations that we face now. But, the difference is that Christ did not sin, He did not yield, He did not fail.
If there is a silver lining in any of this, it is that God can take anything and turn it around for good. So, while people may be offended and upset about this television show, it may be the springboard to peek someone’s curiosity to find out who the REAL Jesus is. You never know what avenue can be used to shine a light on Jesus Christ.

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