In his amazing writings on the cross, author John Stott references a work by William Holman Hunt – a painting called ‘The Shadow of Death’ that famously depicts Jesus in a stretch, his hands raised above his head after working hard in the carpentry shop. Through the window the sun catches his pose producing a shadow of the cross on the wall in the background.
It’s a remarkable work, especially when you consider the painting took three years to complete, notwithstanding at all that it was brushed in 1873.
Stott’s literary work is incredible, he captures the depth and substance of the cross in a way that stands strong and tall.
But it’s the painting of Hunt’s that has really occupied my thoughts these past few days. Mostly I’m consumed by thinking about the shadow that tells the story of our lives, which shapes us, that follows.
The picture ultimately tells the future of Jesus, though completely fictional, theologically accurate. We know that Jesus lived to die. All the days of his life he was on mission towards Calvary’s Hill, a place called The Skull, as depicted and foretold in ‘The Shadow of Death’.
The central theme of this post is wrapped in a question, what does your shadow say?