But what about the internal features of the house? Here is where the shadow provides very little information. The shadow cannot tell you the color of the carpet in the foyer or how many bedrooms there are. No matter how closely you examine the shadow, it will provide you with very little information about the internal workings and depths of the object that cast it. The Word of God calls the Law a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, but not the good things themselves.
The old system under the Law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship. (Hebrews 10:1 NLT)
So what is the good thing to come?
Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day-- things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. Colossians 2:16-17
So many spend all of their time focused on the shadow called the Law and pay little mind to the One who cast it. It is like spending all of your time looking at a portrait or reading a biography, when the subject of the portrait or biography is right there in the room. The Jews in Jesus’ day studied and memorized the scriptures in an attempt to be right with God, but what did Jesus say to them,
You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life. (John 5:39-40)
I think that we are, for the lack of a better word, defined by our focus. It’s what sets us apart from everyone else. It seems that we religious types are always latching on to something, some special piece of knowledge that sets us apart from those unwashed heathens down the road. Things like baptismal regeneration, keeping the Sabbath, tongues as evidence of salvation, predestination, etc. And since that is our focus, it is pretty much all you hear us talk about.
What about Jesus? Are we willing to come to Him so that we may have life; not just for salvation, but are we willing for Him to be our life? Are we willing to take our focus off learning about Him, and focus on learning from Him? I think this is what Paul was talking about when he wrote,
And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:1-2)
We spend much time trying to persuade others of the superiority of our revelation and the wisdom in our understanding. We become so arrogantly convinced of the “rightness” of our position that we label those who disagree as false teachers or heretics. Heavenly Father save us from being like Martha; from being so intent on what our sister Mary is doing or not doing, that we miss the blessing of choosing the better part, which will never be taken away from us. Let nothing, not knowledge, nor doctrines, nor pride, distract us from the simplicity that is devotion to Christ Jesus.