Divine Mystery . . . reality, not a shadow
These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.
Hang ups—we all have them. Not only was the early church at Colosse hung up on the divinity of Christ. Enter the Judaizers who were doing their best to reinstitute the need for circumcision and the ritual traditions of the Old Testament as criteria for salvation. Reminds me of me. I want to cling to the old ways, the things I know, instead of change to that which is superior based on new facts revealed. Truth is, God rescued us from the dominion of darkness (dead-end alleys and dark dungeons, MSG) and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves (Colossians 1:13).
It’s a matter of shadows and reality. The Law and Old Testament rituals set in motion by God were important to the people of that age, as the time was not yet ripe for the Messiah to come. Together they developed a clear visual of the distinct need of mankind to be saved from self.
A shadow is cast by a body intercepting light. The Christ was tucked into the folds of every Old Testament book, casting a big shadow. Many prophets and righteous men longed to see what (we) see (Matthew 13:17). Unfortunately for them the reality, the substance casting the shadow, the Christ, eluded: The prophets who spoke of the grace that was to come to (us), searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow (1 Peter 1:10-11).
The Old Testament shadows are important to us now to understand the overwhelming beauty of grace in contrast to the Law. What once was mystery has been revealed. Every day we ought to rejoice in the reality of the divine Christ.
And yet I sense that what I can see clearly now is but a shadow of what I will find in eternity. Then (I) shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully (1 Corinthians 13:12). Hallelujah Jesus!