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The Lamb and the Spirit
John 1.29-34

‘What I want to know is – what’s that sheep doing there?’

The student had been sick for several days, and I went to visit him. He was in his first year at university, and the whole world of cultural and intellectual enquiry was opening up in front of him like an Aladdin’s cave. His girlfriend had brought him a history of Western art, to help him pass the time until he was well enough to study again. And for the first time he was thinking about what the paintings meant.

He had come to a painting of John the Baptist. For many centuries it was the rule that in the picture, beside John, there would be a lamb. Sometimes John is pointing to it; sometimes it’s simply sitting there looking thoughtful. Sometimes the point is made more obvious by blood pouring from its side, perhaps being caught in a chalice. I can’t remember which picture it was the student was looking at, but I presume there was simply what looked like a healthy sheep standing beside the great bearded prophet...

Taken from John for Everyone – by Tom Wright

Publisher: SPCK - view more
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