Maybe you have been baking with someone in your family only to discover that you are missing an ingredient. So, you use a substitute. Or, maybe you are painting and you run out of the color you really want to use. So, you choose another one. These substitutes might work, but they change the outcome. Whatever you end up making is different than how you intended to make it.
Most of the time, substitutes do not work out great. But, every once in a while, a substitute ends up leading to something amazing. I will never forget working on a globe project when I was in school. I had made my globe, carefully painting the continents onto a blue rubber ball. Everything looked great, but my dad was helping me with one final touch...and he accidentally poked a tiny hole in the ball. Now my lovely globe was a deflated, squishy mess.
My dad felt awful, of course, and he quickly left home to buy me a new ball. And when he got back, he shared an idea. Instead of repainting the whole thing, we could cut up the continents I had painted from the first globe and glue them onto the new one. Admittedly, I first liked the idea because it was going to save me work. But once we did it, my globe ended up better than it was before. Now, it had texture! The continents were raised...and when I took it to school the next day, my teacher and my classmates wondered how I had done it.
My dad substituted a perfect ball for the one he had broken. We used it to create something beautiful out of that deflated, squishy mess. We managed to have one of those unusual experiences where a substitute leads to something amazing.
Maybe you have never thought about Jesus as a substitute...and maybe that's a good thing, if you have only experienced a substitute as something mediocre, something that just isn't very good. But Jesus is the best kind of substitute. Jesus is the kind of substitute that takes the mess you have made and turns it into something amazing.
How? Well...Jesus is like that new, perfect ball my dad brought home. There was no way we could fix the ball with the hole, and there is no way we can fix ourselves before God. Sin has damaged us in a way we cannot repair. But Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life. His perfection is the substitute for our sin. He can serve as our foundation and turn us into something new.
When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners...So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God. Romans 5: 6,11
Read Ephesians 2:1-10
Why do we need Jesus to be our substitute?
How does God make us his masterpiece? Why does he do it?
Choose something creative to do and use a substitute in whatever you choose. It can be a substitute ingredient in a recipe, something you wouldn't normally use to make art, or even a game where you substitute something (like a football instead of a soccer ball...). Have fun, and think about whether your substitute is mediocre like most or amazing like Jesus.
Do something new this week as a reminder that you have been made new in Christ Jesus. Use a new pencil. Try a new food. Read a new book.