“Christmas is the replacement of shadows with the real thing.” – John Piper (pg. 27)
In the Old Covenant, the justification of our sin was carried over by ‘types of Christ’ that God ordained periodically, for our sake. But in the New Covenant, these types of Christ (shadows) were once and for all done away with the incarnation of Christ Himself (the real thing). Christ ministered, no longer in human sanctuary, but in a tent that God Himself pitched. (Heb 8:2) The scripture says, “For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.” (Heb 9:24, ESV) And unlike the Levites, the supplication that Christ presented for us, was not temporary, but an absolute one. “Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” (Heb 9:25-26, ESV) Therefore, the writer of Hebrews goes on to establish that Christ is the perfect priest – far greater than any priest that had been established on earth. What that means is that – whatever we ought to know of God and salvation, has been revealed through the personhood of Christ.
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.” (Col 1:15, ESV) YHWH did away with all previous ‘types of Christ’, and gave us Christ Himself for our salvation. The scripture says, “No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us.” (Jn 1:18, NLT) I want to put an emphasis on that – “Christ has revealed God to us”.
But why are we emphasizing on the reality of God, and Christ’s priesthood this season? The point is this. In the complete revelation of Christ, we know the full extent of our depraved nature, and our need of a saviour. And secondly, we learn of His all sufficiency, and His unmatched competence as a perfect priest for us. But that is not all. Apart from all these amazing things we learn from His revelation, there is one more, that is of great importance. And that is – He alone is the mediator between God and men. The Apostle Paul writes, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.” (1Tim 2:5-6, ESV)
Christ is the great revelation of this season. He is the perfect priest, and the full extent of the glory of God. He is the absolute reality. And how amazing is that – this God chose to incarnate in the human form to bear our sin and die for us. Indeed, such revelation should urge us to seek His mercy evermore.
Note: All of Piper’s quotations are from “Good News of Great Joy“
Read previous entries in this Series:
(i) Introduction: What Christ wants this Christmas (ii) December 1: Prepare the Way (iii) December 2: Mary’s Magnificent God (iv) December 3: The Confidence of Redeeming Hope (v) December 4: A Big God for Little People (vi) December 5: What He Willed to do (vii) December 6: Peace to those with whom He is pleased (viii) December 7: Messiah of all (ix) December 8: Christ is Central in Christmas(x) December 9: Two Kinds of Oppositions (xi) December 10: Our Treasure (xii) December 11: Why Jesus came (xiii) December 12: Replacing the Shadows