Today, the word ransom has become obscure. We only think of it as the money that kidnappers ask for in exchange for someone who has been kidnapped. However, when Jesus used the word ransom 2,000 years ago, it had a different definition – a different connotation altogether. The word was so common, in fact, that is was part of their everyday vernacular.
When Jesus walked the earth, slavery was as common to most households as running water is today. In the Roman Empire, slaves were brought back from conquered nations all over the world. Thus, slavery was not based on color. It was based on price.
Slavery in the Roman Empire did not have to be permanent either. A slave could buy their freedom if they could earn enough money. Of course, most slave owners made sure that their slaves never earned enough money to buy their freedom. But if someone else came along and paid the slave’s owner the price of the slave, then the new owner could grant that slave’s freedom.
The price of a slave was called his or her ransom.
For every slave, it was the one word they dreamed about most, hoping against hope that someone, someday, would show up out of the clear blue sky and pay their ransom.
When Jesus said that He came to give his life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28), that word ransom would have gotten everyone’s attention!
Perhaps we don’t think of ourselves as slaves, but Jesus also said:
His life as a ransom.
For all slaves.
For all sinners.
For all of us.
Jesus didn’t become the kind of King that Mary and the others were expecting. Instead, he set us free.
Because of the cross, Jesus paid my ransom.
This repost is part of a series called “There’s Something About Mary.”