"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,
that he should live on forever
and never see the pit."
Psalm 49: 7-9
"even as the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve,
and to give his life as a ransom for many."
Our ransom is a price so costly that no man, nor we ourselves are able to pay it. This psalm tells us that no man is able account for ransom price of ones life, in order that they should live forever. Yet, most of us spend our entire lives trying to justify our existence and in some sense 'ransom' our lives. The previous verses in this psalm reminds us that regardless of physical wealth, we are still not able to pay the price. We need the same reminder. The comfort of having physical 'things' and possessing earthly wealth will not solve this problem. In the same way, many of us try to pay our own ransom, that we should live forever, with the wealth of our good works. We figure if we do enough good things, or are good, upstanding citizens, then surely this is enough that we should live forever. But the truth remains, no man can suffice for his own, or another's ransom. We cannot pay the price.
However, the gospel tells us that this is exactly why Jesus came. Our sin has created a debt that we could never repay, whether with physical wealth, or spiritual. Jesus is the only one qualified to pay this ransom. No man can pay for another mans ransom, because each man himself is sinful, and is in need of being ransomed himself. Yet, Jesus was fully man and fully God. He himself was sinless. Therefore, he is qualified to pay this ransom price. And how did Jesus pay the ransom? He ransomed us from the price of our sin by dying on the cross. He payed the debt for our sins by taking upon himself, the iniquity of us all.
So, this morning, let us be reminded that in ourselves, we are helpless and hopeless. We are sinful, and could never ransom ourselves that we may live forever. We are sentenced to the pit. But, in the gospel, we have hope. Jesus lived the life we should have lived, and died the death we should have died, in order to ransom us from the reign of sin. Jesus tasted death, so that we could live forever, and not see the pit. Let us look away from ourselves this morning, let us look away from our self-justifying attitudes and ego-centric hearts, and let us look to the cross, where Jesus so lovingly paid our ransom. This is our hope, joy and peace.