Substitutions are a part of the game of basketball. Whenever one player is tired, injured, not playing good or the coach needs to strategize, substitutions are a necessary part of the solution. It is also during substitutions wherein coaches are called geniuses or the other way around depending on the results of such a change of personnel inside the hardcourt.
Substitutions changes the complexion of the game. Take the case of an instance when a coach fields in an unknown or seldom used player in crucial stretches of the game when all things seem lost because of a big lead by the opponent. That player then suddenly scores a bunch of points or makes crucial steals and rebounds, or just plainly spark the team to victory or at least a comeback. You can hear the broadcasters saying what a great move by the coach to insert this or that player and the player is recognized as well.
Substitutions also provide rest for tired or injured players. It is very rare that players can play at the same physical level of hard basketball for 40 to 48 minutes. Much more if the game extends to overtime. Substitutions give players rest during a game to recuperate and to face the court again with renewed vigor.
Two thousand years ago, in the very first Christmas, the greatest substitution was made for mankind. In a game of life when everything seemed lost, a light in the world suddenly came forth. Man has lost its fight in this world because it was deep in sin. Just like a basketball game, this one was turning out to be a rout. But just like a great coach, God sent someone unassuming to the game. Nobody expected Him to make changes it would be probably just to stall a few minutes to the main players. But He snatched victory from defeat. He carried His team on his shoulders and everyone among them was sure now that they were headed for victory. The game actually still ended in a rout but this time tables were turned and the score difference heavily favored the once beleaguered team.
Jesus also provided us rest when His sacrifice erased our sins for us. Instead of man being punished for his sins, Jesus substituted for us by being the one on the cross instead of us. This was done so we might be victorious and take rest in His power to lead us to God's kingdom since we can't do it on our own.
Being able to go to heaven wasn't now based on a bunch of rules on what to do but now is unmerited grace if we only accept what He did for us on the cross and accept that He is our only Lord and Savior. That we cannot do, try as we might to save ourselves. That only Jesus holds the key for us.
Jesus came to this world poor and nobody would think He would change the world. Born in a dirty manger along with animals, one will not have the slightest idea that He was God and about to save mankind. But change and save them He did. Not only did Jesus led those who believe in Him to victory but routed the lies of Satan too! The game was never the same... before everyone doubted victory now everything was assured as long as you are with the same team as Jesus.
Are you tired and injured from such things as hate bitterness, betrayal or the burdens of this world. God is at the scorer's table ready to substitute if you are willing to let Him lead you in this game of life. He can give you rest and at the same time take you to victory.
- ► 2007 (53)