Read Jeremiah 31

Focus on verse 11

A ransom is what we call the price that is paid to purchase the release of something that is either legally or illegally being held by another person. I first heard the term many years ago in the context of the Patty Hearst kidnapping that made the headline news back in 1974. I only heard bits and pieces of the story as the details were revealed in the media, and though Miss Hearst was not successfully ransomed, it was in this context that I, in my early teen years, became familiar with the term.

The focus verse in today’s reading states, “For the Lord has ransomed Jacob and has redeemed him from hands too strong for him.” In the immediate context of Jeremiah and ancient Israel this is a reference to how God would bring Israel back from Babylonian captivity after seventy years. In the greater context of history we can see that this is also a foreshadowing of the ransom that Jesus would pay when He went to the cross many hundreds of years later.

A ransom is only necessary in a situation where someone is held at the mercy of a stronger party in hopes that a third party will be willing to pay for the release of the one being held captive. If the captive were strong enough or sly enough to escape on his or her own, no ransom would be necessary.

The reason God sent Jesus to pay the penalty for the sins of humanity is because God knew that we were helpless to save ourselves from the deceptive entanglement of sin. The first mention we find in scripture of this plan occurs in Genesis 3 when God speaks to the serpent after he has deceived Eve into eating of the forbidden fruit. It is here that God says, “I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” (Gen 3:15) This is a reference not only to the way the relationship between humans and snakes would interact from then on, but also a reference to the spiritual victory of Christ (the offspring of woman) over Satan (the serpent) through the death and resurrection of Jesus thousands of years later.

Just as God ransomed Jacob (the nation of Israel) from hands too strong for him (in this case the Babylonians) so God has provided a ransom for all of us from the power of sin and Satan in the person of Jesus Christ. While there may be many humans who refuse to accept it, there is not one human being for whom Christ did not die.


About Dented-Knight

Peter Enns (aka - The Dented Knight) is a native of rural southern Manitoba, Canada. He is an ordained minister, the proprietor of LNE Web Services, father of four, grandfather of two, and life long husband of one. 
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