Easter is a time when many remember the passion of Jesus Christ. In “Cross Thoughts,” a previous blog, we meditated on the truth that in the crucifixion, Jesus “tasted death” for each of us. He was separated from God on our behalf so that we can have a relationship to God.
There are many words associated with the cross of Jesus, such as ransom, redemption, atonement, reconciled and sacrifice. These words enhance our understanding of the purpose and the value of the death of Jesus. Let’s look at the word “ransom.”
Ransom – Redemption
The word ransom in the New Testament is the word lytron. It refers to the money used to manumit or free slaves. Such money has been referred to as the “liberty price,” the cost of freeing another from bondage.
The word ransom is used several times in the New Testament in reference to the sacrifice of Jesus.
In some of these passages the word for ransom is translated redeem/redemption (apolytrosis) coming from the same root as ransom and carries the same meaning of providing release or freedom by paying a ransom.
“Ransom” is also associated with kidnapping. In the case of kidnapping or hostage taking the ransom involves some type of high stakes payment in order to release those held captive. This concept is illustrated in Colossians 1:13-14.
“For He has rescued/delivered us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
Ransom has a special meaning when the New Testament writers apply it to the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. The ransom Jesus paid frees us from the bondage of sin and death.
“…and from Jesus Christ. He is the faithful witness to these things, the first to rise from the dead, and the ruler of all the kings of the world. All glory to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding His blood for us. NLT Rev. 1:5
Jesus became a man for the specific purpose of be the ransom payment for us.
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45
“For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.” 1 Tim. 2:5-6
A Ransom of Blood
In the sacrifice of Jesus, the currency of the ransom payment is His blood.
“. . . it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed (ransomed) from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” 1 Peter 1:18-19
“In Him (Jesus) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace …” NASB Eph.1:7
“With His own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—He entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever…” NLT Heb. 9:12
A Complete Ransom
The ransom that Jesus paid for us secures eternal redemption. It is a complete ransom and we do not have to continuing paying.
This truth is revealed in John 19:30. Among the last words of Jesus on the cross is the statement, “It is finished.” This phrase is translated as: it is completed; it is accomplished, and it is paid.
I believe that in this statement Jesus is saying His mission to save mankind was completed; accomplished, and through His atoning blood the debt of our sin was paid in full.
“When He had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” John 19:30
This thought of the saving work of Jesus being completed or paid in full is echoed in passages like Hebrews 9:12 and 7:27 with the truth of Jesus securing eternal redemption.
- “…He entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.” Hebrews 912
- “Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.” Hebrews 7:27
Take It Deeper – Make It Personal
Taking time to meditate on words associated with the cross of Christ is more than a religious exercise. When meditating on the concept of ransom it provided me with a clear picture of where I was, and my need for divine intervention.
I was moving along through my life relatively oblivious to the fact that I was in the bondage of sin. I relegated any character struggles I had to weak habit formation rather than bondage or enslavement.
Furthermore, I had no idea I had been taken captive and actually had been living in the kingdom of darkness.
Truth is always enlightening and liberating. Taking time to study and meditate on the concept of being ransomed by Jesus gives me a greater appreciation for the sacrifice of Jesus. I can worship Him and give Him thanks in truth and spirit, because His sacrifice is more real to me. I do not question the security of my salvation because I see it is anchored in Jesus’ sacrifice, not my performance.
I encourage you to do study some of the words associated with the cross, and take tome to write down how it encourages and strengthens your faith.