A hand can be extended from the body to make shadow puppets appear on a wall in the shape of a rabbit, barking dog, butterfly, and other shapes. The shadow of the whole body may appear huge on a wall and even cause someone to jump in fright. Therefore we can see that shadows cast by the body can be entertaining, distorted, or even scary. However, a shadow has no real body and therefore no substance!


            The cast shadow — whether big or small — falls short of the reality! This is no more true than with regard to Jesus Christ. During the first century there were false teachers requiring Christians to observe Jewish things which were shadows of the coming Messianic kingdom instead of simply accepting the fullness of the realities in Christ. In light of this Paul wrote. . .


                        (16) Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. (17) These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. (Colossians 2:16-17 ESV)


            The Greek word translated here as “substance” is “soma” which means “body.” The law was a shadow of the good things to come in Christ. (Hebrews 10:1) In Him was and is embodied the sufficiency of our salvation as the “bread of life” and provider of “living water” (John 6:35 John 4:10), opportunity for a new beginning (Romans 6:4; 2 Corinthians 5:17), and rest in its truest sense now (Matthew 11:28) and eternally. (Hebrews 4:9-11) Christ came into this realm with a fleshly body, gave that bodysacrificially on our behalf, and rose bodily from the tomb revealing His power over death and assuring us of the means of eternal life in Him. Though today there remain those who fall short of accepting the realities embodied in Christ Jesus, let us focus away from the shadows to see clearly the fullness of access He is to the Father. (John 14:6) Belonging to Christ, our own life has substance in being a part of His Body, the church (Colossians 1:24), as we hold to Him Who is the head of it! (Colossians 2:19)


    Shadows cannot be grasped, but the body of what is real can! May we continue holding to Christ as we leave the shadows behind!





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