Summary: Part 3 in Worship the King series, this focuses on Jesus our Redeemer King, in the context of His being a ransom. Good communion sermon.
1 Timothy 2:5-6 – Paying the Price
I read about a small boy who was consistently late coming home from school. His parents warned him one day that he must be home on time that afternoon, but nevertheless he arrived later than ever. His mother met him at the door and said nothing.
At dinner that night, the boy looked at his plate. There was a slice of bread and a glass of water. He looked at his father’s full plate and then at his father, but his father remained silent. The boy was crushed.
The father waited for the full impact to sink in, then quietly took the boy’s plate and placed it in front of himself. He took his own plate of meat and potatoes, put it in front of the boy, and smiled at his son. When that boy grew to be a man, he said, “All my life I’ve known what God is like by what my father did that night.”
The Great Exchange. To trade something undesirable for something purely wonderful. That is what God did for us. We are continuing in our series, look at Christ as our King. We’ve seen He’s our sovereign King, He’s our prophesied King, He’s our royal King with a pretty shady family tree. Today we see that he’s our redeemer King – the king who exchanges our worst for His best. Turn with me to 1 Timothy 2:5-6.
Now, this passage tells a few simple truths. 1) There is a God. 2) There is a separation between God and man. 3) God wanted that separation to be done away with. 4) Jesus is the only way to overcome that separation. I know that those 4 statements separate Christianity from every other religion in the world. And, realistically, even a lot of people who call themselves Christians would disagree with it. But neither majority nor minority make a thing right or wrong. Truth does. And the truth is: we have been separated from God. And actions were taken to bring us back.
Now, salvation is a multi-faced work. No one image can be used to describe what Jesus did for us. The Bible uses different word pictures to illustrate salvation. There is the picture of a court of law in Romans. We were condemned criminals before the judgment seat of God and Jesus bore our penalty in order to set us free. There is the religious language used in Ephesians. We were unclean Gentiles, excluded by our defilement of sin from the presence of God in the temple, and Jesus gave himself as a sacrifice to consecrate for us a way to the throne of mercy. Jesus Himself in Luke 16 used the picture of a family. We were children in disgrace far from home and Jesus brought us back to the family circle. And I love the battlefield language of Colossians. We were captives confined to the fortress of Satan and Jesus broke in to deliver us.
But the image I want to look at today is the picture of redemption – to buy back. Luke 7 says we were in hopeless debt and Jesus paid the debt for us. And Ephesians 1 says we were slaves and Jesus came to the marketplace to redeem us from bondage. Jesus bought us back. Which is of course what redemption means. To purchase something worthless so it can be used for good again. To redeem means to find something valuable in something fit for the garbage. We say someone has redeeming qualities – that is to say, normally the person isn’t worth much, but he has some qualities that make him OK.
In fact, the Bible uses one word in particular to describe this redemption: ransom. Jesus said in Matthew 20:28 that “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Now, what is a ransom? It’s the price paid for someone who is in bondage to another. It’s the cost to set someone else free from captivity.
In his little book On Christian Truth, Harry Blamires suggests that we think of the human race aboard a hijacked jet-liner flying through time. “God himself directed its takeoff from the divine control-tower. The initiator of all evil, whom we call the Devil, managed to get a boarding pass.” When the plane reached its cruising altitude, the Devil produced his weapons, threatened the pilot, and took control of the aircraft and all its passengers. Thus the plane hopped on fearfully through history from airport to airport till, quote, “it was caught on the tarmac at Jerusalem, an outpost of the Roman empire, in the reign of Tiberius Caesar, where the Son of God offered himself as sole hostage in exchange for the passengers and crew.”