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Raven Shaw

The depiction of the bearded Jesus may have been to mimic Greek and Roman art, but I think it was most likely a cultural thing in the Middle East. Jesus brushed shoulders with Islam and Judaism, two cultures that traditionally embrace beards. The image of him holding a lamb is associated with sacrifice because that’s what the Roman statuettes were about, but the image of Jesus as a shepherd was to show that he was a badass that protected his followers with his own life. We think of shepherds now as Hallmark Card representations of what they really were. Shepherds carried weapons to defend their sheep from thieves and wolves. They had to be ready to kill, and always be vigilant. Imagine Batman. This is why God favored Abel over Cain for his sacrifices, Abel worked much harder.