They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. Hebrews 8:5a
What if all you ever saw of a human was a shadow? You would have some idea of what a person was like; the shape of their body, how they move, things they do. But it wouldn’t at all give you a true picture of the fullness of a person. Once you finally met a real person, the shadow wouldn’t be of value to you in your understanding of a person. You would want to engage with the real person to learn more about people. You realize there is so much more to a human than what you gathered by just looking at the shadow.
The writer of Hebrews is painting the picture of the signs, rituals, high priests, sacrifices, temple worship, etc. the Jewish people are clinging to as being the shadow of the real thing.
The old things are not unimportant, but they are a mere shadow of the actual substance, which is Jesus. Once reality is realized, the shadow is no longer the thing. The shadow gives us clues about the real thing, but it isn’t the thing. Jesus is the thing, and He has come.
So, what does this mean to us in our lives today? We also have a shadow in a sense. We have ways we should live, love, serve, behave, etc. The problem is when we make these the thing, we miss THE thing, a relationship with God through Jesus. How we live is intended to be a reflection of the main point, not the main point.
Following rules and obeying God’s commandments are good things no doubt, but we must always be careful that we are chasing after the REAL THING (Jesus), rather than the shadows that only point to or reflect the real thing.
God, help us to seek you FIRST and always remember that YOU ALONE are THE point. You alone are the way, truth, and life.
Question: In what ways do you see the law and prophets and history up until Jesus came as the shadow of what was to come?