Foreshadowing

Read: Hebrews 2:10-18

. . . he, for whom and by whom all things exist . . . (v. 10)

Even after four decades, I still remember when I learned in college about foreshadowing. We were reading John Steinbeck’s classic novel Of Mice and Men, and our professor showed us how the story’s tragic conclusion was suggested earlier in several places throughout the book. Later, I learned the dramatic principle called “Chekov’s gun,” attributed to the Russian writer Anton Checkov: a playwright shouldn’t place a gun on the fireplace mantle in the first act unless it’s going to be fired in the final act.

There is a lot of foreshadowing in Christianity. Today, a couple of days after Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Jesus knowing full well that the grim specter of his death is always present. Poems and songs have even been written about how the crude wooden manger foreshadows the crude wooden cross.

But there is more. Our passage from Hebrews speaks of the death of Jesus destroying the power of death. He is called the “founder” of our salvation; other translations use “pioneer” and “leader” to describe how Jesus goes before us. The death and resurrection of Jesus foreshadow our death and resurrection. In this season as we celebrate, worship, and adore the beautiful baby Jesus, never forget how that baby grew into a man who was bruised for our iniquities and wounded for our transgressions. Praise God for that! —Jeff Munroe

As you pray, remember that the baby Jesus became the adult Messiah who destroyed sin and death.

About the Author

Jeffrey Munroe is the Executive Vice President of Western Theological Seminary and, in addition to being the author of the best-selling book Reading Buechner: Exploring the Work of a Master Memoirist, Novelist, Theologian, and Preacher, is also a poet, blogger, and essayist. His work has appeared in Christianity Today, The Christian Century, US Catholic, and The Reformed Journal.

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