Hello Church Devotion Aug.20, 2013

R is for Ransom

25 But Jesus called them to him and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, 28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Matthew 20:25-28

Isn’t it interesting that we think of a ransom as an unsavory part of a criminal act? Somebody or something precious is stolen or kidnapped. Then, the robbers and criminal participants want a ransom in order to buy back that which was taken. This all sounds like a movie plot rather than a biblical topic.

Perhaps it would be helpful to identify the actors in this plot as revealed above. In fact, I will give you a multiple answer for you to determine the biblical answer:

A: Criminals: The Devil & Demons

Victims: Humankind

Precious item stolen: Free Will

Ransom: Jesus

Where the exchange it to be made: Cross

B: Criminals: Death

Victims: Humankind

Precious item stolen: Eternal Life

Ransom: Jesus

Where the exchange it to be made: Cross

C: Criminals: Sinful Nature

Victims: Humankind

Precious item stolen: Perfection

Ransom: Jesus

Where the exchange it to be made: Cross

D: All of the Above

E: None of the Above

So how did you do? What is the right answer? What are some truths that bear up in each of the answers?

Humankind are the victims… What does that say about us and our ability to handle the crisis alone? Who alone can make the ransom work without the victims being hurt more?

Ransom is… Jesus. Only He alone could atone for the whole world. Because He is true God and true man. By being true God, His sacrifice would benefit all of creation, all of humankind. By being true man, He came under the Law and fulfilled its demands completely… fully… wholly!

The Cross is where this all takes place. Jesus, fully obedient to the Father, takes upon Himself the deadly penalty for all of our sins. The sins in the past, the sins in the present, and the sins of the future. All are paid for in Christ on the cross. At the cross, Jesus becomes sin for us. And that sin is nailed to the cross! In the shedding of His holy, innocent, and perfect blood, He did what no animal sacrifice could do. He atoned for our sins, once for all.

7 Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life, 8 for the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice, 9 that he should live on forever and never see the pit. Psalm 49:7-9

Only God could do the impossible. Only a loving God would stoop as far as our God has done by sending His own dear Son, to be the ransom paid in order to buy us back from the pit of death and eternal separation from God.

God put upon Jesus, the burden of us all. Jesus endured the pit of death and on that Friday we call good, felt the separation from His Father that sin caused as it was put upon Him. Jesus did all of this, out of divine obedience to His Father, bore the horrors, pains, and betrayals in order to bring us back to God.

Jesus did all of this as the price to redeem us, to ransom us back. That was the price the Law demanded, and God met it with Jesus.

By so doing, Jesus has redeemed us from captivity. He has released us from bondage. He has restored us into a right relationship with His heavenly Father.

So a distasteful word like “Ransom” now has a grand backdrop… For God made Jesus our Ransom.

How did you do on the multiple choice question? Did you see that (d) was the correct answer? For Jesus has delivered us from the sin, death, and the devil by His action on the cross at Calvary.

That great Advent hymn “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” truly helps us understand the whole action of God in Christ in the very first stanza:

1 O come, O come, Emmanuel,

And ransom captive Israel,

That mourns in lonely exile here

Until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel!

Prayer: Lord Jesus, You are the ransom that paid the price for all my unrighteousness. Only You alone, have done this for me. I did nothing to deserve such action and love from You. Yet, You have loved me and You continue to love me. Because of that love, You died in my place on the cross of shame so that I might be bought back into a right relationship with Your Father. Thank you for doing this for me. I can never repay such love. However, I am thankful and will strive each day to live as one who is loved so greatly as You have loved me. Amen.