Saved From God By God
Text: Mark 10:32-45
Proposition: The ransom of Christ is one of the most difficult aspects of the cross confronting the wrath of God with the love of God, payment and release.
Introduction: Over the centuries there have been many times when the famous have been captured and then ransomed. Perhaps one that you may have not heard of was Julius Caesar who in 75 BC was captured by Cilician pirates. They wanted 20 talents of gold for Caesars release. We understand the concept of ransom but when it comes to the cross of Christ it is one of the most difficult aspects to grasp. There were many things that Jesus said to the disciples that left them with fragments of the picture of what was about to occur. We see that in the account we are going to look at this morning, but the most difficult of them all was the very last thing He said that day. Have a look at Mark 10:32-45.
I. What Jesus Reveals Is Greater Than the Disciples Can Comprehend.
They are walking towards Jerusalem, it is soon to be Passover. The disciples are amazed at Jesus’ boldness in this for they know what the Pharisees will do if He goes to Jerusalem. And at the same time they know things will not go well for them either so they are afraid. So Jesus calls the twelve to Himself and says, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and deliver Him to the Gentiles; and they will mock Him, and scourge Him, and spit on Him, and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again.” I do not know how the disciples made sense of this. What did they think when they heard the word ‘betrayed’, that meant one of their own would turn. What did it mean for the Messiah, the King of the Jews to be handed over to the Gentiles, how can the Messiah be treated with such contempt, would they actually kill Jesus? What did He mean ‘rise again’? I would submit to you that such words and terms were understood but not comprehended. I think it’s safe to say that because of what happens next. Two of His disciples, James and John, the same James and John along with Peter that were on the Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus, come and ask Jesus to write a blank cheque, ‘We want you to do for us whatever we ask.’. They ask Jesus that He would appoint them to be His Prime Ministers when they get to Jerusalem and conquer the Romans. They allegorized the words of Jesus making them fit into something they could benefit from. Jesus corrects them saying they have no idea what they are asking for, the cup that He drinks, the baptism that He is to be baptized with, can they enter into that? Again the disciples do not comprehend what He is saying. They think it is the cup of victory but it will be the cup of wrath. They think it’s the baptism of entering into a rich life but it will be the poverty of a criminal’s death. There will be many times when we too do not comprehend all that Jesus reveals to us in His Word, as we follow Him in His absolute obedience to the Father, in the details of our lives as we too may be both amazed and afraid. When God speaks through the prophet in Isaiah 55:8, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.”, He is saying that there are many times we will not comprehend the depths of what God is doing. And that is a wonderful thing, it is above us, it is not common but holy, it is not predictable but glorifies. All this that we have considered so far leads us to the next thing Jesus says in verse 45.
II. Jesus Came To Serve By Giving His Life a Ransom For Many.
Jesus corrects the Sons of Thunder, James and John and the other 10 who were indignant that these two should make such a bid for greatness. But it’s the last part that I want to direct your attention to, the mechanics of redemption as it were. It’s like opening the hood of a very expensive and beautiful luxury car and looking into the engine compartment that provides all the power for this to move the way it does. In verse 45 Jesus says, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Ransom, you know what it involves. A ransom infers that a high price of great value must be presented. A ransom infers that there is one, or as Jesus states ‘the many’, who are at great peril if the ransom is not paid. The ransom infers that whatever the price is it must be enough to satisfy the demand or the prisoners will not go free. The ransom infers that there is a payment made to someone. Even as I say this you can begin to see the mechanics of redemption. So let’s look at ransom, the ransom of Jesus Christ that He clearly saw and intentionally moved towards.
1. The great value of the ransom price. The great value is seen in the fact that it is precious, rare, unique. In Psalm 49:7 in the ESV translation it puts it like this: “Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life, for the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice…”. In other words no ordinary man could ever be the ransom that Jesus Christ is. The value of the ransom price must be unique and precious. Jesus, Son of God, fully man and yet fully God is.
2. The ransom is for the many. The value of Christ is enough to cover the many, no matter the extent of their sin, no matter the depths of their slavery to sin. But also note that many is not all. The captive must want freedom from captivity and must take the price being paid as the cost of their own freedom. Faith in Christ is there but they must agree to the exchange of His life for theirs.
3. The ransom must meet the demand price. The demand price in this case is sinlessness for that is where Adam started. To get man back to a place of right standing with God requires a sinless man to take Adams place. The incarnation of Christ had this intent, it called for a virgin birth, One fully human but divine. The ransom must satisfy the demand. Propitiation is the word we use to describe what Jesus did on the cross, fully satisfying the price of the ransom.
4. The ransom means that once paid there will be an exchange. The captive will be set free and the One who is the sacrifice will take all their debt upon Himself. The term we use here is ‘impute’, the freedom, the standing, the identity of Jesus is now considered as belonging to the released captive. His right standing, His innocence, His position as King now enables us to be under Him in that, children of the King, righteous in Jesus name. Our sin is imputed to Christ, the penalty that it demands, He pays, for the wages of sin is death. Completely He pays our forsakenesss in sin. “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Cor. 5:21
5.The payment of the ransom is made to the person of God the Father. Of all the aspects of redemption this is the most difficult to grasp. The ransom is not paid to Satan. Saatan was not propitiated or satisfied with what the cross accomplished. Colossians 2:15 says, “Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.” The cross was a place where the principalities, the spiritual forces of which Satan was the head, were made a public spectacle of, where they were triumphed over. The payment was most certainly not made to Satan. It was in fact made to God the Father. Consider what 1 Timothy 2:5,6 says, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time…”. The Mediator, Jesus, stands between God the Father and mankind. He is the ransom price paid to the Father for our sin. What is it that Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. All by nature and by action and thought have sinned. That means we are positioned against God, against His kingdom and against His righteousness. It is particularly against what God demands from everything that will ultimately abide in His presence, sin is against holiness. The consequence of that is the wrath of God against sin. The ultimate effect of the wrath of God against sin is to forever separate it from Himself and all that belongs to God by forsaking it, isolating it in an eternity of separation from Himself called Hell. It is a place not just of separation from God but also of the judgment that the wrath of God contains. The wrath of God is His absolute justice encased in holiness exercised towards all who are outside the righteousness of Jesus Christ. The wrath of God is what Christ came to mediate, to stand in front of, by being our ransom. We are in fact, as Jared Wilson has said, ‘Saved from God by God.’ Jesus is our ransom which the Father intended Him to be. In the great irony of Redemption the Father’s love for you and I is seen in the fact that He gave His only Son for us to believe in that we would not perish, God’s own love propitiates God’s own wrath, His love and mercy and grace and justice are all in the ransom of Christ.