“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45).
This verse, in my judgment, is one of the most significant verses in the entire New Testament. For it does not just tell us some essential truths about the coming of the Son of Man (Jesus), but also His view of the human condition.
What did Jesus’ death involve?
There are at least two specifics in this statement that draw our attention immediately. The first one is that Jesus came to “give His life.” The act of giving His life was voluntary. Christ did not come into this world for other purposes and get trapped in a plot that resulted in His death. He came to die. Secondly, Jesus called his death “a ransom.” A ransom is a payment to release someone from some kind of bondage. So the implication is that Jesus sees his death as a ransom to release people from bondage. But what do humans need to be ransomed from? It is from sin.
The nature and consequence of sin
There is more to the Biblical teaching on sin than merely the fact that we commit sins. Jesus said, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man ‘unclean’…” (Matthew 15:19-20). Jesus explains that there is something far more fundamental to our sinfulness than the actual sins we commit. Our sins do not make us sinful. Rather, we commit sins because we are sinful. Sin has assaulted the deepest recesses of our personalities. As a matter of fact, we are “dead in transgressions and sins” (Ephesians 2:1).
But that’s not the worst of it. Jesus says, “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life” (Matthew 25:46). Sin brings the wrath of God. It brings judgment. If we are not set free from the guilt of our sin, we will be punished. That punishment is eternal, because sin is an offense against an infinitely holy God. So the bondage that we need ransoming from is the slavery of sin and eternal punishment. Jesus rescues us from this bondage by giving His life as a ransom. The apostle Peter says, “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God” (1 Peter 3:18). Paul says, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). This is the heart of the Christian gospel – that Christ came to give his life a ransom to save us from our sins and from its guilt and power and penalty in eternal punishment.
Jesus’ resurrection demands you repent and believe in Him
Are you still under the guilt and power of sin when you might be free? Are you moving toward eternal punishment when you may have eternal life? Jesus’ resurrection three days after His death showcases His power over death, sin and Satan. Jesus can deliver you from the bondage of sin and give you the gift of eternal life if you would change your mind concerning your view of life, importance of self, way of life (all of which are sinful) and trust in Jesus who is Lord and Master of all things. What convinces a sinner to repent? Not only a sense of the sinfulness of his sin, but also the recognition that, because of Christ, God is full of mercy to repentant sinners!
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