Advent 15 (2013): Backstage Pass


Have  you ever been to a show and received one of those programs telling you about the production and the biographies of the actors, etc.?  You might feel like you know a little bit about the event and have a sense of appreciation for the performers in the production.  Now imagine for a moment that one of the ushers silently comes up to you out of all the people in the theater and gives you a backstage pass.  You get to meet the writers, the producers, the directors, and all the actors in the show!  Face-to-face and eye-to-eye, you will have a better sense of the event and be able to interpret it with better understanding because of the encounter.

This is what John tells us happened in our receiving one blessing after another. For the Jewish people of Jesus’ day, the giving of the Law through Moses was a huge blessing. 

It set them apart and made them feel like they had insider’s knowledge of who God is and personal encouragement from God Himself to follow what He said so that everything would go well for them.  It was their program telling them about who God is and the blessing to come from obeying what they’d been commanded.  They knew to love the One and Only God, something they would recite as part of the great Shema of Israel (Deuteronomy 6:1-9) and their response to this gracious revelation of God was supposed to be obedience.  It’s something righteous Jews took very seriously.

Deuteronomy 6:1 These are the commands, decrees and laws the LORD your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 2 so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. 3 Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the LORD, the God of your fathers, promised you. 4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Now imagine that in Jesus Christ, you’ve not only been given a program, you’ve been invited backstage. 

You can see into the face of the Son of God and see the author of all history, the very glory of God present in His being, and have the opportunity to see that the program—true as it was—could never substitute for such an awesome face-to-face encounter.  You have become an eye witness, seeing the character of God as only a witness can.  No words, no matter how numerous and true, could tell about Him adequately enough to replace the living testimony of seeing the One and Only revealed.  To see God as only Jesus—the eternal Word who has actually seen God, been with God and came from God—can reveal Him is a great blessing of the Incarnation.

Questions to ponder:

  1. Read Matthew 5:17-20.  Can you see why Jesus said He didn’t come to abolish the Law but to fulfill it?  Would you say that Jesus replaced the Law or just became a clearer testimony by being seen in action instead of just heard in the words of the Law?
  2. Let’s say you didn’t think the backstage pass could possibly be legit and decided to stick with the program instead. What kind of behaviors might people who are protective of the program show toward someone who got and used a backstage pass?
  3. Read Hebrews 1:1-3 “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”  How does this explain the tension between the Law and Jesus?  Does Jesus negate the Law?

made him known

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on December 15, 2013

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