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Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"The Substitute"

July 28, 2014

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He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed. 1 Peter 2:24

In this world there are mistakes and there are mistakes!

A few weeks ago, the Selective Service System, the folks who call people up for the military, made a mistake. Their mistake was sending a draft notice to Bert Huey. Huey was told he needed to register and that failure to do so was "punishable by a fine and imprisonment."

Well, I have it on good authority that Huey is not going to register.

That's because Huey, a veteran of World War I, was born in 1894 and died in 1995 at the ripe, old age of 100. It appears a series of clerical errors caused the Selective Service System to make a pretty glaring mistake in regard to Bert Huey. The greater problem is the Selective Service System sent out more than 14,000 such notices to men who were born in Pennsylvania during the years 1893 to 1897.

The only upside to the problem is this: not many of the folks who were supposed to receive the mailing are complaining.

When I first heard that story, I remembered another narrative which comes from the days of Napoleon. Back then it was possible for a man who didn't want to be drafted to employ a substitute. That is what one family man did. He paid someone to serve in his stead. Sadly, that someone ended up dying on the battlefield. That should have been the end of the tale. It isn't.

Eventually, the French Selective Service System made a clerical error and sent a draft notice to the family man. He protested, saying, "You can't take me. I'm dead. I died on the battlefield."

The bureaucrats replied, "Don't be ridiculous. We can see you standing right here in front of us."

Eventually, the case made it to Napoleon who ruled, "Through a surrogate, this man has not only fought, but he has died in his country's service. No man can die more than once; therefore, the law has no claim on him."

This really is a long way to take us to the point of this devotion. Two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ was born into this world as our Surrogate. For us He fulfilled the Law and resisted temptation. For us He went to the cross with our sins. For us He died, and for us He rose.

Now, because of what our heaven-sent Surrogate has done, believers are freed from any accusation Satan might try to make against them. The case is closed, and all who have faith are blessed to know they can live their lives and their eternity without fear.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks that because Jesus is my Substitute I am freed from the curse of the Law. By the Holy Spirit's power may others be brought to faith in the crucified and ever-living Savior. In Jesus' Name I pray it. Amen.

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,


Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries

Today's Bible Readings: Psalms 104-105    1 Thessalonians 1

Change Their World. Change Yours. This changes everything.

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