If you never saw a tree, you would have a hard time understanding what a tree was—even if someone described it to you. Trees are so big, beautiful, and majestic that without evidence, you could doubt if trees really existed.
Now, imagine if someone showed you a picture of a tree’s shadow. For the first time, you would be able to guess how a tree looked. You would not know the color of the leaves, the texture of the bark, or the smell of the blossoms, but you would be able to visualize a tree and start to develop a vocabulary to talk about it. You would also have firm evidence that trees were real, even if you did not understand everything about them.
In this illustration, God is the tree and Jesus is the one who showed humanity his shadow. Jesus, who is fully God, revealed the Father, Son, and Spirit in ways we can understand. There is much that we do not have the capacity to know about God, but Jesus showed us enough so we can begin to grasp how big, beautiful, and majestic he is.
At the same time, we must humbly acknowledge that, at best, we only see the shadow of things. This is why faith is necessary. To follow Christ, we have to be willing to believe in things we cannot logically understand or perceive with our senses. The author of Hebrews talked about faith, saying:
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
(Hebrews 11:1-3 NIV)
Here we are challenged to shift our understanding of reality. Rather than defining reality by what we can perceive, we are encouraged to see God as the basis of all reality. Jesus, who was in the image of God, invites us to live by the word of God, which makes our lives more real in some ways and more invisible in others. We cannot see or touch things like unconditional love, mercy, grace, and joy, yet these things have eternal value. Even though the things of God are invisible, they are more real because they will not fade away like the physical things we can get in this world.
When we seek after the invisible riches of God, we become less influenced by the things we can see, hear, touch, taste, and smell, and more influenced by the Holy Spirit, who we cannot see. By following Christ, we live in his faith and we become who we are truly supposed to be. No amount of earthly riches can do that.
He gave us a shadow of what it means to live as God intends us to live. He is the true Son of Man – showing us what life in communion with Father, Son and Spirit is all about. When we keep our eyes on him, we can be confident that what God has in store for us is greater than we can possibly imagine.
Presented by Heber Ticas
About the presenter:
Heber Ticas is an elder in Grace Communion International and is the Superintendent of the churches in Latin America. The Word of Life each Sunday is taken from ‘Speaking of Life’, (https://www.gci.org/videos/media-speaking-of-life/), a public resource video on the USA website of Grace Communion International.
You are welcome to attend one of our local church congregations located throughout the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.gracecom.church under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.
Word of Life contact: