Links Daily Devotional

The One in Our Place

Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer… and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. (Isaiah 53:10, NIV)

I can trace a line back to that day in 2000 when we first put words to the page, as it were, and began the Links Daily Devotional.

It is a crooked line for sure, proceeding in reverse through the nine different men who have held the world’s top since that time, though mostly dominated by the Tiger Woods era. Likewise, nine different women have bandied the top position since Annika Sorenstam became the first woman in that newly created ranking in 2005.

But that’s only golf. That fall, of course, as the Clinton Administration came to a close, we could not have known what the next year would hold. All the scares of Y2K amounted to little in the face of 9/11. Our linguistic trends toward abbreviation make for quick reference now to those events now, but we cannot shake the full grip of our fears and our pain in those days.

Clearly, it was a different world in October 2000. Except for this: the Gospel has not changed. The work of Christ is fixed.

For me, the most debilitating passage in all of Scripture may be the lines we find in Isaiah 53. By this I mean that my emotions are undone and my pride rebels.

You see, Isaiah 53 puts all the wonder in Jesus’ hands. He is there the one who “had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,” the one “despised and rejected by men.” And yet I cannot tear my eyes away. One might easily say, “Why bother with this outcast, this lowly man? Surely, I can do better.”

I cannot. Nor can you.

The words that follow in the passage declare all that is weak about us and all that was strong about him. “He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows.” What brought me down he gathered up, bearing its weight, multiplied by the billions that we have become as the human race. “He was pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities.” Who should have to do such a thing—take my sin as his? Certainly this is the sticking point for those who would stand in their own strength. But it must be done, this sin-bearing. Moreover, it has been done! Christ is the one in our place.

Beyond this, though, Christ was the one in God’s place, “smitten by him… oppressed and afflicted.” It was God who brought judgment on his people; it was God alone who could pay the price to lift it from us. And he did. With great pain. With anguish. With death.

God’s plan is not our plan. But gladly, neither is his weakness. For the weakness God took upon himself in the form of the man Jesus was all the strength we could ever need. He has “made intercession for the transgressors.” I am one of these. And I am moved, along with my fellow writers and you who faithfully read the Links Daily Devotional, to proclaim our sin and his salvation as humbly yet as loudly as I know how.

Jeff Hopper
October 5, 2015
Copyright 2015 Links Players International
The Links Daily Devotional appears Monday-Friday at