When I was a scrawny 12-year-old, I used to tag along with some older boys and men who had a slow pitch softball team. Occasionally, they would be short of players, and in their desperation, they would actually let me play. I guess that having me in the line-up was just a bit better than being short-handed.
Usually when I got to play, I was the catcher. My main responsibility was throwing the ball back to the pitcher. It’s hard to mess up when you’re the catcher.
However, I remember playing in one particular game that was very close. The score was tied in the bottom of the last inning, and the opposing team had a runner on third base with less than two outs. All they had to do was hit a sacrifice fly deep enough to score the runner, and they would win the game.
This posed a problem for our team. We didn’t want a scrawny 12-year-old trying to tag out a grown man with the game on the line. So we called time out to discuss our options. It was decided that I would play in a part of the field where the ball was not likely to be hit, and Mickey Bennett would take my place behind the plate.
Play resumed, and events transpired much as expected. The batter hit a fly ball to the outfield. The runner tagged up and headed for home. The outfielder threw the ball toward the plate. The ball hit Mickey Bennett’s glove at exactly the same time the runner barreled into him. Mickey got knocked back about 20 feet. The umpire first said, “Safe!” Then he changed his call to “Out!” Or maybe it was vice versa. The game ended with arguing and confusion. I’m not sure who really won. But I am sure of this—I’m so glad that Mickey Bennett took my place!
We were once in line to take the punishment for our sins. But Jesus stepped in and took the punishment for us. Thank God that Jesus took our place!
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”—Romans 5:8