In 1996, the movie “The Substitute” came out in the theaters. A retired mercenary goes undercover as a substitute teacher at Miami High School in order to dismantle a criminal organization using high school students.
Being a substitute teacher is one of the toughest and most undesirable jobs around. If students have a hard time respecting their regular teachers, they have no problem at all ignoring, disobeying and defying the “subs.” In fact, when regular teachers are absent, the students jump for joy knowing that they will basically have a free period.
A substitute preacher fares a little bit better when he fills the pulpit in a church, but he will never be respected like a “regular” preacher or pastor. His role is to fill the vacancy while the church searches for a “worthy” candidate.
There is nothing wrong or inherently inferior with working as a substitute in any profession. Subs give freedom to teachers and schools, and churches are benefited by “fill-in” preachers. In baseball, relievers are like substitute pitchers that bring relief to a tired or embattled starter.
There is one person that identifies completely with substitutes. I’m referring to our Lord Jesus Christ. He cares for subs, not only because He is a loving God but also because He was a Substitute Himself.
The concept of substitution began really early in the Bible. An animal died to provide covering for Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:21). Another clear example is found in Genesis 22:13, when God told Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac (a type of Christ). When he was about to plunge the knife into his son’s heart, they heard a voice from heaven and saw,
“…there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son.” (Emphasis mine)
Jesus is the Substitute of repentant and believing sinners. He died on the cross that was meant for us. He suffered the full extent of his Father’s wrath (being sinless and perfect) to satisfy the Father and to secure our eternal salvation.
Do you still think that substitutes are worthless?