Shadow and Substance
Shadow and Substance
“Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats, and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight.”
Oh how poor are our pictures of Christ’s redeeming love! Oh how insufficient our analogies for His unblemished perfection! Even the soberest symbols are but a shadow of the Spirit into Whose peace we long to enter. Think of it like this, friend. We’re surrounded by God-given analogies of His unique character that we participate in every day. Analogies like fatherhood, which teaches us of our daily need for God’s sustaining provision, and marriage, which deepens our understanding of God’s faithful, self-sacrificing love, and shepherding, which shows us how helpless we are without God’s direction; but who among us has ever been a perfect parent or spouse or shepherd ourselves? We’re imperfect participants in these divine analogies, which means that we fail to grasp the fullness of the wonders God is revealing through them. That’s why Paul encourages us in 1 Corinthians 1 that we’re seeing through a blurry glass. And it’s also why he refers to Old Testament laws as ‘shadows,’ because while a shadow is cast by the light, and while it leads toward the light, it isn’t the light.
This Passover is a wondrous analogy of Christ’s Passion, but it’s just that—an analogy. And being so makes it a dim revelation of the transcendent Shepherd-Lamb Who takes on the wool of lost, sinful man and dies in his stead! These ewe lambs might be spotless, but they didn’t bear every temptation common to man without sin. And they might be innocent, but they didn’t bravely endure all the wrath hell could muster without collapsing. And they might be meek, but they didn’t willingly lay themselves down on the altar and say to the cruel men who placed them there, “I forgive you!”
Oh may we never miss the shimmering silhouette of Christ through these Old Testament pictures! Yet may we never, in glimpsing it, think we’ve seen Him in all His fullness.