Jesus Songs — Red, Yellow, Black, and White

I feel, at times, awkwardly deceived by the Jesus-notions of my childhood—the one who changed water into grape Kool-Aid and multiplied goldfish crackers.  We fashioned him into an understandable figure, removed nuance from his personality.  He loved the “red, yellow, black, and white.”  I knew that, even though I did not know a single yellow man, or a red one for that matter.  And though Southern Baptist reverence wouldn’t allow us to call him “buddy,” Jesus was certainly our friend; plain and simple.

I’ve been listening to songs written about Jesus, lately.  Freddie Mercury ironically identifies him the most accurately, singing of the leper going down to see “the Lord Jesus.”  Woody Guthrie and Jackson Browne identify him as rebel-philospher.  Depeche Mode, and later Johnny Cash, identify him as our “own personal Jesus.”  Kanye sings of Liberation Jesus, one who rescues from the welfare Hell.  Carrie Underwood, bless her heart, simply asks him to take the wheel—so much for iconic.

We are a funny lot, we humans, creating our own definitions of salvation—our own personal Jesuses.  We paint him in icons of irony, symbols of hope, and embodiments of movements.  Perhaps that’s not all bad.  But it leaves Jesus’ very pointed question ringing in my own ears,

“who do you say that I am?”


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8 Responses to Jesus Songs — Red, Yellow, Black, and White

  1. sethhaines says:

    To listen to the songs, visit

    1. Jesus Christ – Woody Guthrie
    2. Jesus – Queen
    3. Since Jesus Came Into Heart – Randy Travis
    4. Jesus Take the Wheel – Carrie Underwood
    5. Jesus – The Velvet Underground
    6. Jesus Walks – Kanye West
    7. I Still Belong to Jesus – Robert Randolph & The Family Band
    8. The Rebel Jesus – Jackson Browne
    9. Personal Jesus – Johnny Cash
    10.Property of Jesus – Bob Dylan
    11. Jesus on the Main Line – Randy Travis
    12. Jesus Help Me Stand – Alison Kraus & Union Station
    13. Jesus was Way Cool – King Missile
    14. Jesus was an Only Son – “The Boss”
    15. Jesus Wrote a Blank Check – Cake
    16. If Ten Percent Was Good Enough For Jesus – Ray Stevens

  2. check out Frightened Rabbit: Heads Roll Off is the name of the song. you can’t help but dance, but it starts with Jesus’ name and then goes somewhere pretty inspiring, despite itself.

    • sethhaines says:

      On it.

      Back now… wow! That is a great song. Could be interpreted a couple of different ways, depending upon your world view. Either way, this is an incredible piece of art.

  3. Scott says:

    Hey friend…back again! So I’ve been thinking along the same lines recently. When I taught on Sunday night at Well Communities the call was to examine whether or not we’re doing the Will of God. Mark 3:30 calls us to reflect/ponder/examine what that means. Essentially doing the will of God means that we have a proper understanding of who He is. No offense to Carrie Underwood (and I like that song by the way) but asking Jesus to “take the wheel” is primarily driven by her view of who Jesus is.

    Constructing a view of God that is self-created leads us to see him as we want…leaving us with prayers directed to a God of our minds. I’m about to post on my blog about the Tower of Babel and how we (even in the beginning) just didn’t get it. Love the question…ringing in my ears…who do I say he is? Hopefully/prayerfully the same guy who is asking the question. Oh might I be on my knees today praying with Jeusus, “Lord, not my will but yours.” Love you friend.

    • sethhaines says:


      These are good thoughts because I was having an awfully judgmental time as I listened to the world’s songs about Jesus. They had a lot of hope in him, sure. But they seemed to only focus on one or two facets of his life. I then wondered, “don’t I do the same thing so many times?” Jesus was loving, polarizing, judgmental, graceful, overtly political, and then again not. Man, want a man. And a God too.

      Isn’t it all so complex? And also so simple?

      Fwew… my head is spinning.

  4. Matt Brock says:

    you missed “Jesus Is Just Alright” by The Doobie Brothers

    in that song they call him their friend.

  5. Scott says:

    Well D.C. Talk covered it as well…surely you like D.C. Talk!!! Gasp!

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