Summary: How can so little of something be so powerful? And yet, there’s no sin, not a blot, not a blur, not a blemish, not a stain, that the blood of Jesus cannot cleanse. The blood of Jesus conquers and cleanses us.
Alfredo Harp is worth around $1.2 billion. He made his fortunes in finance and banking in Mexico. He also owns two Mexican baseball teams. But Alfredo is noteworthy for another reason other than his substantial monies. In 1994, he was kidnapped by a gang that demanded an initial ransom in the neighborhood of $100 million. His family went on local TV on June 25 only minutes before the deadline to tell the kidnappers they would agree to pay the negotiated ransom to free Alfredo. Because of the prevalence of this kind of thing in Central America in recent days, his company actually had kidnapping insurance. So Alfredo was released when K & R Insurance paid around $30 million for his release after 106 days in captivity. His ransom was on the largest in the world at the time.
In a sad twist to the story, Alfredo would later attend the funeral for a young 14-year-old boy named Fernando around a decade after he was released. Fernando was on his way to school in an armored BMW with a bodyguard. The car was stopped by officers wearing the uniforms of Mexico’s version of the FBI. It turns out the police themselves were in on the crime. Even though the family paid the ransom, the kidnapped boy’s body was found in the trunk of a vehicle. His father spoke at the boy’s memorial service and in the midst of wiping his eyes from tears, said, “…no more Fernandos!” Sadly, ransom is a part of life from Jesus’ day even to our own.
And one of the central elements to Christianity and a relationship with Christ is this: you’ve been ransomed much like Alfredo And Fernando. SomeOne has been paid for your release. Spiritually, I want to show you how the cross of Jesus also says, “…no more Fernandos!”
Find Ephesians 1 with me (Page 1159 in the pew Bibles). This morning I want you to look at the classic teaching of what makes Christianity so unique. What is the essence of Jesus’ mission and what did He come to accomplish, you’ll find it wrapped up in this word “redemption.”
As we celebrate what Jesus did on the cross at the holiday we call Easter, let’s look at three questions this morning:
What is Redemption?
Why Do I Need Redemption?
How Do I Get Redemption?
1) What is Redemption?
The word “redemption” there is a rich word. The word really means ransom like Alfredo’s a moment ago.
1.1 What is Redemption?
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace…” (Ephesians 1:7). The word ransom has two aspects to it. First of all, there is captivity, bondage, or slavery. Secondly, there is an exchange made to get the person out of slavery. There is a payment made. It’s when you make someone free who was a captive like a prisoner of war. Today, even kidnapping and ransom have gone digital.
Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to deny you access to your computer until you pay a ransom. This stuff is terrible and the people behind the attacks have no conscience.
The University of Vermont Medical Center October, a cyberattack knocked out 5,000 computers on the hospital's IT network. Hundreds of hospitals, big companies, and educational systems have their files locked up so they cannot access them. And these criminals ask for a ransom.
Again, the word “redemption” really means ransom. Just like the computer files are locked up so you are until Christ died for you. Christ frees you from your bondage to your sin, your ego, and your selfishness.
1.3 One Long Sentence
The Bible teaches Jesus’ work of redemption inside the longest sentence in the New Testament. You cannot tell it from your English version but Ephesians 1:3-14 is really one long sentence in the original language of the New Testament. Now, no English translation attempts to make it just 1 sentence because the sentence is so complicated. Paul got so excited that he couldn’t stop.
Have you ever gotten that excited — you just keep on talking? A teacher asked a young man if he knew how to spell banana? The young man said, “Yes! B-a-n-a-n-a-n-a-n-a-n-a-n…” The little boy didn’t know when to stop! And neither did Paul.
1.4 Panoramic View
The is perhaps the single greatest, most panoramic view of all that Christian salvation entails in one place. Have you ever looked at your house or your city from a panoramic view? You may have lived in the same place and the same city for years but when you look at your home from a mountaintop or the advantage of a drone, you’re overwhelmed by the panoramic perspective. Paul sees salvation in Christ from a panoramic viewpoint in this long sentence.