Tuesday, January 30, 2024

A Ransom for Many (Mark 10:35-45)

“… 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).

As Christ prepared to he crucified, He declared the purposes of His ministry: “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). The use of the term “ransom” has often been misunderstood. It has been proposed that Christ’s sacrifice was a ransom to Satan, who is holding the children of God captive until a ransom can be paid. This, however, is not the biblical explanation for ransom in this context.

The use of ransom in the New Testament is at the root of the broad concept of redemption. Ransom is built on the idea of losing something or setting something free that is held captive. But this does not mean that in the atonement, Jesus pays a ransom to Satan who holds mankind in bondage. Jesus came to conquer Satan’s power over us, but the ransom is not paid to Satan. If Christ paid the ransom to him, Satan would be the victor by forcing God to meet his demands.

Biblically, the ransom is paid to the one who is owed the price for redemption, For example, if a slave is to be redeemed or set free, the ransom must be paid to the one who is in authority over the slave. The one who is owed the price for redemption in our salvation is not Satan, but God the Father. Jesus, as the servant, offers Himself as payment to the Father for us.

Two things occurred on the Cross that we must grasp before we can fully understand what was accomplished in the atonement. Those two things are expiation and propitiation. Expiation is the act of removing or taking away our guilt by way of paying the penalty for sin to God. Propitiation is that which brings about a change in God’s attitude, whereby we are restored to fellowship and favor with Him.

Expiation is what Christ did on the cross. The ransom is paid, which results in propitiation—an appeasement of God’s wrath, a turning from an attitude of anger to one of reconciliation and peace. Romans 1 says that the wrath of God is being poured out upon the wicked and the godless. The only hope of escape from the wrath of God is to be covered by the atoning sacrifice of Christ.

Read Romans 5:1–5; 6:1–11; 2 Corinthians 5:17–21. What do these verses have to say about the benefits the believer enjoys through the death of Christ? In prayer today, thank God for each of those benefits you enjoy in Christ.