A Ransom for Many (Matthew 20:28)

Matthew 20:28


“…even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”


            Why did Jesus die?  What did he accomplish with his death?  These questions are absolutely critical for the Christian’s understanding of his or her faith.  If you miss the answers to these questions, you will miss something crucial in your understanding of the cross.


            Why did Jesus die?  He told us in this verse that he died to give his life as a “ransom for many.”  A ransom is a payment made in order to rescue someone or to spare them a punishment for something.  IF Jesus died as a ransom, he died in order to have his death serve as a payment that would rescue others from someone and something.


            From whom was Jesus ransoming many?  While some theologians have posited that the devil was the one to whom Jesus paid the ransom, such a view cannot be sustained biblically.  The devil has misled, deceived, and murdered, but he has never been the one into whose debt sinners fell.  No, sinners are in the debt or under the wrath of God for their sin (Eph 2:3).  It is God’s standards we have violated and God’s holy justice which must be satisfied (cf. Isa 53; Rom 3:20-26).  What Jesus accomplished in his death was to lift from us the curse that we should have born because of our violation of the law of God (Gal 3:13; 2 Cor 5:21).


            If the ransom was paid to God, the death of Christ was in order to rescue the children of God from the justice of God which we richly deserved.  Did Jesus accomplish his mission?  Was the ransom properly paid to the Lord?  Without question, Jesus accomplished his mission.  This truth is made clear by Christ’s cry of “It is finished” along with the ultimate divine stamp of approval, Christ’s resurrection.  The price was fully paid and fully accepted by the Lord.  The ransom was properly paid, and redemption was properly accomplished.  Because of this, no further debt must be paid for the children of God to be forgiven.  It was accomplished once and for all time when Jesus ransomed many (1 Peter3:18).  Jesus did not fail in any way.


            Are you a believer in Jesus Christ?  IF so, you should grasp the facts of his life as your ransom.  Jesus died to pay the proper price to rescue you from the judgment that you had earned.  You had earned for yourself hell because of the way that you have sinned against God.  Jesus, the infinitely perfect Son of God, took your infinite punishment upon himself to purchase your pardon.  He paid it all, every bit.  Thus, if you have entrusted your soul to Jesus, you can know that your sin was not forgotten by God or simply ignored.  No, your sin was fully paid for, fully atoned for, fully punished in the suffering of the Son of God.  You should cry, in the words of the hymn, “Hallelujah!  What a Savior!” 


            If you are not a believer in Christ, and if you die without ever entrusting your soul to Jesus, here is what you must know from Scripture and from theology.  Jesus did not ransom you.  You will pay the full penalty for your sin.  You will suffer the infinite wrath of an infinitely holy God for violating his perfect standards.  You will never cry foul.  You will not accuse God of wronging you.  You will see him in his terrible holiness, and you will understand that you have merited his wrath.  On that day, you will wish that you had asked Jesus for mercy, but then it will be too late.  You will know that, in your lifetime, God commanded you as he commands all people to repent and believe in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins.  You will know that you willingly refused this command, and that you are thus destined for an eternity apart from him because of your free rebellion.


            If you are reading this post, it is not too late to run to Jesus for mercy.  God made it plain that all who receive Jesus, who believe in his name, will be made the children of God (John 1:12-13).  If you will run to Jesus, you will be one of those who have already been ransomed by his death on the cross.  Thus, my call to you is that of the word of God, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).

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