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Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"The Substitute"

December 30, 2014

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For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21

According to legend, Lancelot was supposed to have been the noblest and most spiritual of King Arthur's knights.

The same cannot be said of today's Lancelot -- George Lancelot -- of Great Britain.

You see, George Lancelot has a problem. He loves to swear at and threaten people. It is a habit that has gotten him into some serious trouble. Indeed, eight of the last ten years of Lancelot's life have been spent in prison because of his foul-mouthed threats. As of this writing, he has managed to rack up 176 public-order convictions for swearing at other folks. In short, Lancelot has seen a great many judges.

Right now, Lancelot is spending 20 months in prison for an outburst that took place only hours after he had been released from jail for a similar offense. He had made use of his newfound freedom to get drunk and start abusing others.

The judge, who sent Lancelot back to the clink, noticed the doctors who examined him feel he is not suffering from any psychological disorder. Lancelot is just a cantankerous guy, who is insulting to everyone he meets. Having reviewed his history, the frustrated judge sadly commented, "Unless you deal with this, you could spend the rest of your life in prison."

Now this devotion could talk to you about the evils of having a foul mouth, but that's not the route we are going to go.

Instead, let's talk about Lancelot's 176 convictions. No matter how you look at it, that's a lot of court time in front of a lot of judges. From what I have read, not a single one of those judges has volunteered to punish his son or daughter in Lancelot's stead. Not a single one has said, "George, you're guilty, so I'm going to send my child to the hoosegow."

To that piece of information you might readily say, "Of course, no judge would do that. Why would any judge punish the innocent for the guilty?"

Still, that is what our Heavenly Father has done for us. We have committed numerous sins ... sins which make Lancelot's 176 convictions pale in comparison. Because of all we have done wrong, the Lord has said, "You ought, and shall, spend the rest of eternity in hell."

But that is not what the Lord wanted for us.

No, indeed. The Lord looked at us and had mercy on us. Knowing our transgressions could not go unpunished, He decided to send His Son into this world as one of us, to carry our sins and take the punishment we had deserved. For us, Jesus lived, suffered, died and rose.

Now all who believe on Him as their Savior are forgiven, and their eternity will be spent in heaven with the Savior and all the other once-guilty-but-now-forgiven souls the Christ has redeemed.

THE PRAYER: Dear Father, we cannot understand why You would allow the Innocent to be punished for the guilty, but we give thanks that You have. May we, dear Lord, live our lives in thanksgiving for Your grace. In Jesus' Name I ask 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: Malachi 1-2    Revelation 21

Change Their World. Change Yours. This changes everything.

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