Sermon Illustrations

The Moose was in the game to score. He took the handoff at the five-yard line from the quarterback and stunted to the right. The right guard and tackle had split the defenders and there was a slight hole in the line for him. Moose instantly was in the hole. He put his head down and fought through the menacing red jerseys. The linebackers were quick and they could hit hard. Everyone was zeroing in on him. The defensive secondary moved quickly up behind the line to plug the hole.

The Moose hit the first linebacker hard. He lowered his shoulders and put every ounce of strength he had in the hit. The linebacker’s grip slipped and Moose was through the hole and into the secondary. They were quick in their moves to stop him but Moose was determined. He churned his legs toward the goal line as hard as he could. The secondary men lost their grip and suddenly Moose found himself being pushed hard by his fullback and quarterback over the goal line. It was do or die and the Moose was not about to die. In his ear, he heard the referee’s whistle. He couldn’t see anything since he was at the bottom of the pile. But he heard the roar of the crowd. It was the biggest game of the season.

He had loved every minute of playing football. And, he was finally in the game. He had worked as hard as he knew how. But he never got to play in a game. The starting running back had just gotten hurt and the coach was down to the Moose. He was the substitute.

One by one, the referees’ pulled the pile of players off the Moose. Finally, the Moose was free and could see their arms raised signaling a touchdown. He had scored.

Moose got up and jogged over to the sideline where Coach Williams said, “Good job son. Are you okay?”

Moose thought about the scoring play. He remembered the ominous horde of red jerseys that had risen up just when he thought he could score. They had all zeroed in on him, the Moose. He glanced at the coach, took a deep breath, and said, “Never again. I’m done.”

This is what Jesus could have done. The crowds had turned away. The authorities were after him. The church had rejected him. The menacing horde of people had all zeroed in on him. The crowd chanted, “Crucify him, crucify him.” It was the perfect time to quit.

But, Jesus had just told the Father a few hours earlier, “I am not going to do what I want, but what you want.” He meant it. He didn’t give up like the Moose. He had you on his mind. He wanted you to have eternal life. He loved you. He was determined to be your substitute.

Paul said in Romans 8:3 that what the law couldn’t do, God did. The law was never meant to be a substitute for your sin. It couldn’t. Galatians 3:11 says that the law couldn’t justify anyone. But what the law couldn’t do, Jesus the Christ did. He did it for us. We have a substitute who doesn’t give up. Praise God.

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