I’ve probably seen too many kidnapping movies. Anytime I see this word ransom, I think of the movies that I have seen where someone has been kidnapped and taken away. There is always a tense scene where the family waits for a phone call. They wait to hear from the kidnapper to understand what it is that they want. They need to learn how much money the kidnapper wants so that their loved one will be returned.
From there, of course, the negotiator steps in and works with the kidnappers to determine the amount of money that will be paid, the way that the exchange will work, and the the logistics of how the person will be returned to their family.
In our case, though, we weren’t kidnapped. We gave ourselves willingly into slavery. We enjoyed the temporary pleasures of sin, even getting used to them despite the fact that its after-effects may be hurting us. And that continues until one day, we wake up and realize that this isn’t the life that God wanted for us. We realize that this isn’t how we should live, that we don’t have to continue this way.
Maybe that happens because of the consequences of our sin. Or maybe we realize it because someone explains to us where our sin will lead us. However it happens, we often suddenly find ourselves in a situation that is difficult to leave. We are bound to this old life, sold into a type of slavery to the sin that we have enjoyed, and become used to, including it’s consequences, over a period of time.
Paul says that Jesus came to be a ransom for us. Jesus is the payment that will set me free free from my captivity. Here is what he says:
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 Timothy 2:5-6
Jesus willingly gave himself as a ransom for all people. All people. Past present and future, so that they can be set free and returned back to relationship with God, to their rightful place, to their rightful home.
As we are held in captivity, as we are held as slaves to sin, we need someone to come to rescue us. Just like in the movies, or even in real-life situations, when we are held in captivity, we need someone to come to rescue us. To pay for us. To set us free. And that is what Jesus has done. He himself is the payment to set us free. Blood is required as the payment for sin, and Jesus’s sinless blood is that payment. It is the ransom. He didn’t deserve punishment. He didn’t deserve to be the one to give his blood because he hadn’t sinned. But he became the ransom. He willingly gave himself to set me free.