A few weeks ago, Val mentioned that Caregroups were thinking about redemption. In the Bible the Redeemed are those the Lord has delivered from bondage. Isaiah (his name means “The LORD saves”) talks a lot about God redeeming his people, both from sin and from Babylonian exile: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you…” In ch.41:14, the Lord refers to Himself as “your Redeemer” and further on describes Himself as paying a ransom for his people.
We all know about people being kidnapped, or taken hostage, and the kidnappers asking relatives, groups or governments for a ransom price in exchange for the lives of their victims. I’m on the email list of Canon Andrew White, Vicar of St. George’s Church in Baghdad – one of the self-imposed tasks of this extraordinary man has been to offer himself as a hostage negotiator for people kidnapped in Iraq. The ransom is the price paid for release of the captive. And recently the kidnapped Israeli soldier was exchanged for a huge number of Palestinian prisoners.
Matt.20:28 says “the Son of Man (Jesus) did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” The Greek word ransom was used normally for the price paid to redeem/buy back/free a slave. In the same way, Jesus paid over the price of his own life as a ransom to release us from the slavery and consequences of the sin that envelopes us. The big Greek meaning for that little word “for” has the sense of “in the place of” or *as a substitute for” Paul writing to Timothy in 1 Tim.2:6 tells us that Jesus gave himself as a ransom for all men, but here Matthew is talking about us – the “many” – who have accepted what Jesus, our dear Hostage Negotiator, has won for us through sacrificing/substituting his life for ours.
So next time the Kidnapper of our Souls comes and whispers that we still belong to him, that we’ll be his slaves for ever, let’s remind him that Jesus has bought us back completely, paid the ransom in full once and for all, negotiated our total freedom – and if he has any problems with that, to take it up with Jesus!