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March 24

18 You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish. 20 He was destined before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of the ages for your sake.
I Peter 1:18-20

Yet again today’s text speaks of “ransom,” a key word in the Christian’s vocabulary of faith. The word “ransom” might strike today’s readers as just more theological claptrap or church gobbledygook. But for Peter’s readers the word “ransom” hit home and resonated as a word fraught with meaning and strong emotion. That was because many of his readers were slaves, having been born into slavery, sold into slavery, or made slaves through war. Every slave was painfully aware that he was not his own person. He felt the sting of his bondage every day.

Every slave knew that to be set free would require the payment of a price, or a “ransom.” A slave might harbor a faint hope that one day he could earn enough  to pay the price, but most likely any ransom price would have to be paid by another.

Peter writes to his readers about their previous bondage to futility in “the futile ways inherited from your ancestors.” There is a quiet desperation and emptiness in most people that can only be characterized as a bondage and slavery.

But the rest of the story is Good News! That’s because at the cross Jesus paid our “ransom” price to free us from our emptiness. As a minister and chaplain, I frequently hear people talk about the difference that knowing Jesus makes in their lives. They are daily experiencing the new life and living in the freedom that is Christ.

In this season of Lent as we are doing some spring cleaning in our lives, let us hear the call of Jesus: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly” (Matthew 11:28-30, The Message).


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