Moving Past the Sign
by Jeff Fitzgerald
Ok, I humbly admit my family lives in a community northwest of Orlando. I love the small town feel, don’t get me wrong, but it is well behind most cities in more ways than one, but especially as far as restaurants go.
Speaking of restaurants, about two years ago a sign popped up stating that Panera Bread restaurant was coming to town. There is just something about walking into Panera that makes me not want to go to work and just sit there all day and read ( yes, that is a perfect day for me). So as any fan would do regarding a new place, especially a restaurant in a backwards community like ours, I waited with great anticipation for construction to begin.
Now in most cities once a sign appears advertising what is to come, normally one can plan on construction beginning soon thereafter. Apparently our city does not work like that. I guess my community leaders take great pride in early and lengthy advertising, because in this case they were proud of it for two full years! It was actually exciting to stare at the sign which announced that Panera Bread was Coming Soon. But, after a year of only having the sign, it was as if the sign had chosen to take the place of the real thing. In case you are wondering we finally have a beautiful Panera Bread restaurant!
Looking back at that, how crazy would it had been for me to continue focusing on “the sign” rather than the reality that the sign represented? How insane would it have been if I had gone up to the sign and began placing my order?
In much the same way many believers are continuing to focus on the sign rather than WHO the sign points to.The sign will never fulfill your hunger or thirst, only when you enter into the reality of what has been promised will you be satisfied. One truth that we must have clear in our minds is that the Old Covenant was a sign of what was to come, while the New Covenant is the fulfillment of that sign.
The Bible says in Hebrews 10:1,
“For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near.”
The writer was saying the law could never truly satisfy; only the real thing could do that. For example, I have pictures of my wife and kids, but they are only pictures – not the real thing. I cannot touch them, laugh with them, or speak to them; it’s only pictures. Why would I continue to look at their pictures after they had come into the room where I was? This is essentially what the Hebrews were doing. They thought they could be satisfied by the sign of the substance, rather than WHO the sign pointed to. Think about it, all a sign does is advertise and serve to point to the real thing.
One of the definitions of the word “sign” is a representation of an object that implies a connection between itself and its object. The law is exactly that. Everything in the law pointed to Christ.
Check out Colossians 2:16-17 which says,
“Therefore let no one sit in judgment on you in matters of food and drink, or with regard to a feast day or a New Moon or a Sabbath. 17 Such [things] are only the shadow of things that are to come, and they have only a symbolic value. But the reality (the substance, the solid fact of what is foreshadowed; the body of it) belongs to Christ.”
I love how this translation puts it when it says the law foreshadowed Christ! The truth is that Christ overshadows the law! Why would we continue to think we can be satisfied by a shadow when we have the substance living in us and through us?
Just as the Panera Bread sign merely pointed us to a coming reality, the Old Covenant pointed to the reality of Christ! Jesus fulfilled everything the law required because it pointed to Him! All we have to do is walk through the door of faith and eat the true bread!