Finding Hope in Christ's Ransom
April 2, 2015 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
One of the most beautiful messages of hope from the Gospel of Mark is found in 10:45 where Jesus says, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus came to give his life as a ransom, for everyone who places his/her faith in Christ. How does Christ’s life as a ransom bring hope for our lives today?
First, let me clear up a potential confusion related to the word “ransom.” When we hear “ransom” we probably think of kidnappers looking to receive a large sum payment in exchange for the freedom of the captives. The ransom is paid to the “bad guys” for freedom. Since the early church (in particular, Origen in the 3rd century), Christians have applied this understanding of ransom to Christ’s statement. Satan is the “bad guy” who holds humanity in bondage and Christ has to make payment of his life to Satan to free his people. Nowhere in Scripture, though, do we find this idea of ransom payment to Satan taught. Satan doesn’t have that kind of power and authority.
Jesus’ ransom is his payment for the sins of his people. This payment is to satisfy the justice of God. Isaiah 53:11 gives a backdrop to Jesus’ statement in Mark 10:45: “Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.” Jesus gives his life as a ransom payment to satisfy the just penalty due for our sin.
Back to the pressing question, during this week we remember and celebrate the death and resurrection of Christ: How does Christ’s life as a ransom bring hope for our lives today?
1. No matter what you are facing today, Jesus knows you; you are his sheep. Jesus speaks about giving his life in John 10 while explaining who he is as the Good Shepherd. He says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep… I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me” (10:11, 14). Facing trial alone brings a great sense of hopelessness. By his death, Christ has removed all obstacles that kept you away from fellowship with God. The writer of Hebrews says that we can be confident in the presence of God. You are not alone.
2. Since Christ suffered in flesh and blood, he is able to help you (cf. Heb. 2:18). Typically we focus on the judicial transaction provided by the death of Christ. He takes our sin and punishment upon himself. We are declared to be righteous based upon Christ’s righteousness. This is good and biblical. The writer of Hebrews, though, highlights what we may call the sympathetic transaction. We read, “He himself partook of the same things (flesh and blood)… for surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham… he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest… because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Heb. 2:14, 16-18). Jesus understands the trials and temptations we face each and every day. He endured without sin. He is the victor who wants to and is able to share his victory with us.
The writer of Hebrews concludes, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (4:16).
May you find joy and hope today knowing Christ has given his life as a ransom for you!