“Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28, NIV 2011).
As I was about to share my own message with a small group of Christian doctors at a mountain retreat 6,600 miles from my home, our hostess made the announcement. In Syria, a man had been killed and his wife taken as a sex slave for ISIS. The woman’s brother-in-law had found her and wanted to bring her home. The kidnappers demanded $3,500 ransom, a large amount of money for anyone in Aleppo, Syria at this time. A small group of Christians in a nearby, small, central Asian country had prayed together and raised the money. There was little guarantee that the money would accomplish its task. As I stood to begin my message, our hostess shared the good news, “The ransom has been accepted; the girl is free.”
Few of us can truly understand the violence and tragedy that so many people must endure, even this day, in our world. And few of us can truly grasp the notion that this tragedy and evil we see in many countries is only different by degrees from the tragedy and evil that exists within our own lives. We sit and wonder at the horrible actions of so many in this world and do not realize that we are only decimal points better than they, and God is infinite logs of goodness beyond us, making us much more closely related to the evil than to Him.
The world has caught each of us up as slaves to our natural selves and we would wallow in that slavery was it not for the ransom He paid. We who are ransomed should lie on our faces in praise and thanksgiving for such a gift. And we who are ransomed should be meeting in small groups of fellow freed slaves to pray and give so that others may be set free.
Thank you for the freedom that cost you your life.