vivek jones

Kingdom Wisdom

A Substitute To Handle My Mess

I love sports and athletics! Even in school, I loved physical activity more than intellectual activity and it showed year after year… in the report card!

I would return home from sports practice in school and enjoy a refreshingly cool bath and a savoury snack. And then my life would enter a period where I wished someone else could live it for me.

I was expected to score well at Math and the Sciences. But I had NO interest in these subjects. There were teachers’ expectations to fulfil (what with my sister having already blazed a splendid trail before me) and a whole host of societal expectations too. I hated studying the portions for the given day and doing any assignment. So I developed the art of staring at the book and doodling nonsense. I would earnestly yearn for a magical substitute to take my place and relieve me from this misery. Oh how relieving it would be if someone else could fill in my shoes, fulfil these expectations and save me from the consequence of not fulfilling it!

And finally, years after, I flunked my 11th grade. I knew it would get me this time around (I had been avoiding this like the folks avoiding death in Final Destination). I could not live it up…nor did the system allow someone else to do it for me. My fate was sealed (at least for that day).

Who will be my substitute?

Who will be my substitute?

How often have you wanted such substitutes? Life really never throws you such an option. How much more enjoyable life would have been with a terrific, acceptable and free substitute. Talk to a man serving time in the prison. He would do anything to have a substitute live that prison life. Ask any corporate slave concerning his job. He would utter the same need too. This is a universal need concerning all aspects of life (fathering, working, playing etc…).

Life is a mess and you know deep inside that there is a better life somewhere out there. Life (utopian) at its core seems designed to be lived large and loud. But life (realistic) gets in the way. The only way to escape from the real one into the utopian one is through a terrific, fully acceptable and free substitute.

I resigned to my fate for life. I often slipped into alleys where promises of such substitutes were advertised. But they were imposters who made life even worse. I remember copying for an exam and being nearly caught. That seemed like a good substitute but was certainly not acceptable or terrific.  In fact, the consequences could have been grave.

It was in 1998 that I finally heard of a substitute who was terrific, fully acceptable and free. In fact the offer was too good to be true. I was always warned as a kid that any offer that seemed unbelievable is usually not to be believed. But I evaluated this person from all possible angles. I inquired. I keenly observed everything he said about life and its mess and our longings. He definitely knew what I was looking for and he was giving me infinitely more than what I expected.

Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth and the life…”. He claimed to be the only one who would be a perfect sub. He was the only one who addressed man’s problem as sin. He is the only one who promised an abundant and full life that was acceptable by the ultimate Judge! He spoke of my inner longings in an authoritative manner. His Word, the Bible, says that our great grand parents were created perfect and were placed in an exciting story scripted by God. But they chose to go with the ultimate imposter.

Jesus is my perfect substitute. He historically lived a perfect life, one that I should have lived but never could. He also faced the brutal wrath and fury that I was meant to receive because of my waywardness. Today all aspects of my life are seen in the light of His substituting story. When I am mad at my kids and fail as a father, He reminds me that I am assessed based on his perfect patience with which he would have fathered my kids, should He have been their father. When I struggle with not giving a good counsel to someone, He reminds me of how I am being assessed by the perfect counsel He would have given.

Unfair, many would cry. What about those who were sinned against by me not fathering well or not giving wise counsel? Does not Jesus’ substitution make less of them? Well this is how He chose to display grace. Grace to the sinner! And to those who suffers this ‘unfairness’, even more grace. “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted”, says Jesus to them. Even they in their suffering will experience a perfect substitute in Jesus who underwent the worst form of suffering on their behalf and yet extended love and forgiveness to his enemies.

Would this not motivate us to continue leading  a flippant lifestyle with sin because unbelievable grace excuses us? No, each act of grace from God would compel us to live changed lives and strive hard and diligently in the respective areas of life.

Ah, who can comprehend the depth of such a good news? To a Jesus-follower, such meditation on the gospel in the context of real life will in turn empower a Jesus-like attitude in that situation too. No wonder they call him wonderful Saviour!

Do you want to experience this Substitute? Recall your worst 3 situations in life and believe Jesus to be your substitute. Share at least one story in brief and may it be a blessing to all the readers.

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One Reply

  1. Anurag

    While Jesus substitutes us in our sentence when we believe so, he also substitutes us in our freedom! So it is not us who are free in Him, but it is He who is free in us to do what is perfect!

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