Thursday, May 7, 2009

No more shadow… (Hebrews 10:1-18) 070409

I ride a bike, a motorbike. It is fun and very convenient. Whenever I travel on expressway with a traffic jam, I simply happily cruise through all those standstill vehicles. That is where George Orwell famous quotation comes to pass: two wheels good, four wheels bad (this is Abel’s twenty-first Century version of Animal Farm – Automobile Farm). But the only bad thing about motorbike is that it is not weather proof. Well, I don’t usually ride in the rain, but during the day, the sun can be sometime merciless. Therefore, I always try to go under some shades. I will stop my motorbike in the shadow of something, whatever it is. I thought that will be a good idea; but sometimes, the shadow which I am in, doesn’t provide the shade I need.

The author of Hebrews speaks of the law as “a shadow”, sharing similar idea with Paul. But Paul in Col. 2:17 has in mind the legal restrictions of Old Testament, whereas the author of Hebrews is thinking more of the law prescribing matters of priesthood and sacrifice in relation to the wilderness tabernacle and the Jerusalem temple. Though differ in details, both think of Christ and His new order as the perfect reality to which the earlier ordinances pointed forward. In other words, “shadow” is not used so much in Platonic sense of a copy of heavenly and eternal “idea”, but a foretaste of the reality of the good things to come.

In this passage, the author of Hebrews keeps reminding His readers that it is not that the Old Testament Law is bad, but the perfected Christ has come. That is all we need. His sacrifice is once for all (v10). There is no longer the need for any sacrifice for sin to ask for forgiveness (v18).

Are you still living in the shadow? Are you still living in the past glory or past hurts? The past is the shadow of today. I remember that I used to be able to work as a teacher during the day, attend prayer meeting on every Wednesday night, take up a part-time theological course on every Tuesday and Thursday evening, attend Bible Study group on every Friday night, take up another part-time counseling diploma on Saturday morning, go for Youth-fellowship in the afternoon, and involve in worship ministry on Sunday. Now, as I even try to recall what I did in the past, I feel tired. I wonder how I had done so for more than two years with such kind of lifestyle. And now? I can barely have enough energy to meet with more than 2 people a week. I feel that I am such a lazy and layback pastor.

I hardly go visitation, I hardly call up my members, I barely manage to organize ABFs, and I drag to go for extra meetings with other church pastors! I only read and write and preach and teach. This is the real and good thing God has for me. I don’t need to live in the shadow of those expectations of the past experiences. If I do so, I will not only living in the shadow, I will also miss out the real and good thing God has for me.

I am not the best preacher, and I don’t know what other think and learn from my preaching; but I know that I have learned a lot as I prepare my sermons, and the Lord speaks to me through my study of His Words. This is the real and good things.

No more shadow.


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