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Continue Appreciating the Ransom

Continue Appreciating the Ransom

“The Son of man came . . . to give his life as a ransom in exchange for many.”​—MARK 10:45.

SONG 18 Grateful for the Ransom


1-2. What is the ransom, and why do we need it?

WHEN the perfect man Adam sinned, he lost the opportunity for everlasting life not only for himself but also for his future children. There was no excuse for what Adam did. His sin was deliberate. But what about his children? They had played no role in Adam’s sin. (Rom. 5:12, 14) Could anything be done to rescue them from the death sentence that their forefather so richly deserved? Yes! Soon after Adam sinned, Jehovah progressively revealed how he would rescue millions of Adam’s offspring from the curse of sin and death. (Gen. 3:15) At his appointed time, Jehovah would send his Son from heaven “to give his life as a ransom in exchange for many.”​—Mark 10:45; John 6:51.

2 What is the ransom? When referred to in the Christian Greek Scriptures, the ransom is the price Jesus paid to buy back what Adam lost. (1 Cor. 15:22) Why do we need the ransom? Because Jehovah’s standard of justice as set out in the Law required that a life be given for a life. (Ex. 21:23, 24) Adam lost his perfect human life. To satisfy God’s justice, Jesus sacrificed his perfect human life. (Rom. 5:17) He thus becomes an “Eternal Father” to all those who exercise faith in the ransom.​—Isa. 9:6; Rom. 3:23, 24.

3. According to John 14:31 and 15:13, why was Jesus willing to sacrifice his perfect human life?

3 Jesus was willing to sacrifice his life because of his great love for his heavenly Father and for us. (Read John 14:31; 15:13.) Moved by that love, he was determined to keep his integrity to the end and to accomplish his Father’s will. Jesus did so by remaining faithful until his death. As a result, Jehovah’s original purpose for mankind and for the earth will be fulfilled. In this article, we will discuss why God allowed Jesus to suffer so much before he died. We will also briefly review the example of a Bible writer who deeply appreciated the ransom. And finally, we will discuss how we can show our thankfulness for the ransom and how we can deepen our appreciation for the sacrifice that Jehovah and Jesus provided for us.


Think about all the mistreatment Jesus endured to provide the ransom for us! (See paragraph 4)

4. Describe how Jesus died.

4 Imagine what the last day of Jesus’ earthly life was like. Although he can call on legions of angels to protect him, he allows himself to be seized by Roman soldiers, who beat him mercilessly. (Matt. 26:52-54; John 18:3; 19:1) They use a whip that rips strips of flesh from his body. Later, they load a heavy beam on his lacerated back. Jesus begins to drag the stake to the place of execution, but soon a bystander is conscripted to carry it for him. (Matt. 27:32) When Jesus arrives at the place where he will die, his executioners nail his hands and his feet to the stake. The weight of Jesus’ body tears at the nail wounds. His friends grieve and his mother weeps, but the Jewish rulers mock Jesus. (Luke 23:32-38; John 19:25) One agonizing hour follows another. His heart and lungs become strained, and his breathing becomes more difficult. With his dying breath, he utters one last triumphant prayer. He then bows his head and surrenders his life. (Mark 15:37; Luke 23:46; John 10:17, 18; 19:30) It was truly a slow, painful, humiliating way to die!

5. For Jesus, what was worse than the way he was killed?

5 For Jesus, the manner of his execution was not the worst part of his ordeal. He was more distressed by the charge that was the basis for his execution. He was falsely accused of being a blasphemer​—someone who had no respect for God or for God’s name. (Matt. 26:64-66) The very thought of that charge tormented Jesus so much that he hoped his Father would spare him this humiliation. (Matt. 26:38, 39, 42) Why did Jehovah allow his beloved Son to suffer and die? Let us consider three reasons.

6. Why did Jesus have to be hung on a torture stake?

6 First, Jesus had to be hung on a stake to free the Jews from a special curse. (Gal. 3:10, 13) They had agreed to observe God’s Law but had fallen far short of keeping it. As a result, this curse was in addition to their condemnation as offspring of sinful Adam. (Rom. 5:12) God’s Law to Israel stated that a man who committed a sin deserving of death should be executed. Afterward, his dead body may be hung on a stake. * (Deut. 21:22, 23; 27:26) So by being hung on a stake, Jesus made it possible for the very nation that rejected him to benefit from his sacrifice.

7. What is a second reason why God allowed his Son to suffer?

7 Consider a second reason why God allowed his Son to suffer. He was training Jesus for his future role as our High Priest. Jesus experienced how difficult it is to obey God when under extreme test. He felt so much pressure that he prayed for help “with strong outcries and tears.” Certainly, having gone through wrenching emotional distress, Jesus himself understands our needs and “is able to come to [our] aid” when we “are being put to the test.” How grateful we are to Jehovah for appointing over us a merciful High Priest who can “sympathize with our weaknesses”!​—Heb. 2:17, 18; 4:14-16; 5:7-10.

8. What is a third reason why God allowed Jesus to be tested so severely?

8 Third, Jehovah allowed Jesus to suffer so severely in order to answer an important question: Can humans demonstrate godly devotion even when severely tested? Satan says no! He claims that humans serve God for selfish reasons. And he believes that​—like their forefather Adam—​they are not devoted to Jehovah. (Job 1:9-11; 2:4, 5) Confident in the loyalty of his Son, Jehovah allowed Jesus to be tested to the limit of human endurance. Jesus maintained his integrity and proved Satan a liar.


9. What example did the apostle John set for us?

9 The faith of many Christians has been sustained by the teaching of the ransom. They have kept on preaching despite opposition and have endured all sorts of trials right on into old age. Consider the example of the apostle John. He loyally preached the truth about Christ and the ransom, likely for more than 60 years. When he was in his late 90’s, he was apparently considered to be such a threat to the Roman Empire that he was imprisoned on the isle of Patmos. His crime? “Speaking about God and bearing witness concerning Jesus.” (Rev. 1:9) What an outstanding example of faith and endurance!

10. How do John’s writings show that he appreciated the ransom?

10 John expresses his deep love for Jesus and his appreciation for the ransom in his inspired writings. They contain over 100 references either to the ransom or to the benefits that the ransom makes possible. For example, John wrote: “If anyone does commit a sin, we have a helper with the Father, Jesus Christ, a righteous one.” (1 John 2:1, 2) John’s writings also stress the importance of “witnessing concerning Jesus.” (Rev. 19:10) Clearly, John deeply appreciated the ransom. How can we show that we do too?


If we truly appreciate the ransom, we will resist the temptation to sin (See paragraph 11) *

11. What can help us resist temptation?

11 Resist the temptation to sin. If we truly appreciate the ransom, we will not take the attitude: ‘There is no need for me to put up much resistance when I am tempted. I can go ahead and commit a sin, and then I’ll ask for forgiveness.’ Rather, when we are tempted to do something wrong, we will say: ‘No! How could I do such a thing after everything Jehovah and Jesus have done for me?’ In line with that, we can ask Jehovah for strength, begging him: ‘Do not allow me to give in to temptation.’​—Matt. 6:13.

12. How can we apply the counsel found at 1 John 3:16-18?

12 Love your brothers and sisters. When we show such love, we also show appreciation for the ransom. Why? Because Jesus gave his life not just for us but also for our brothers and sisters. If he was ready to die for them, they clearly have great value in his eyes. (Read 1 John 3:16-18.) We express our love for our brothers and sisters by the way we treat them. (Eph. 4:29, 31–5:2) For example, we help them when they are sick or when they are enduring severe trials, including natural disasters. But what should we do when a fellow believer does or says something that offends us?

13. Why should we be forgiving?

13 Are you inclined to hold a grudge against a fellow believer? (Lev. 19:18) If so, follow this advice: “Continue putting up with one another and forgiving one another freely even if anyone has a cause for complaint against another. Just as Jehovah freely forgave you, you must also do the same.” (Col. 3:13) Every time we forgive our brother or sister, we prove to our heavenly Father that we truly appreciate the ransom. How can we continue to deepen our appreciation for this gift from God?


14. What is one way we can deepen our appreciation for the ransom?

14 Thank Jehovah for the ransom. “I think that it is important to mention the ransom each day in my prayers and to thank Jehovah for it,” says an 83-year-old sister named Joanna, who lives in India. In your private prayers, think about specific mistakes you have made during the day and then ask Jehovah for forgiveness. Of course, if you have committed a serious sin, you will also need the help of the elders. They will listen to you and offer loving counsel from God’s Word. They will pray with you, asking Jehovah to continue applying the value of Jesus’ sacrifice “so that you may be [spiritually] healed.”​—Jas. 5:14-16.

15. Why should we take time to read about the ransom and meditate on it?

15 Meditate on the ransom. “When I read of Jesus’ suffering,” says a 73-year-old sister named Rajamani, “my eyes fill with tears.” You too may find it painful to think about how God’s Son suffered so much. But the more you meditate on the sacrifice Jesus made, the deeper your love for him and for his Father will become. To help you meditate on the ransom, why not make this topic a special study project?

By means of a simple meal, Jesus showed his disciples how to remember his sacrifice (See paragraph 16)

16. How can teaching others about the ransom benefit us? (See cover picture.)

16 Teach others about the ransom. Each time we tell others about the ransom, our appreciation for it will grow. We have some excellent tools to use in teaching others why Jesus had to die for us. For example, we can use lesson 4 of the brochure Good News From God! That lesson has the title “Who Is Jesus Christ?” Or we could refer to chapter 5 of the book What Can the Bible Teach Us? That chapter is entitled “The Ransom​—God’s Greatest Gift.” And each year we deepen our gratitude for the ransom by attending the Memorial of Jesus’ death and by zealously inviting others to join us. What a privilege Jehovah has given us to teach others about his Son!

17. Why is the ransom God’s greatest gift to mankind?

17 Without a doubt, we have good reason to develop and maintain deep appreciation for the ransom. Because of the ransom, we can have a close friendship with Jehovah even though we are imperfect. Because of the ransom, the works of the Devil will be completely broken up. (1 John 3:8) Because of the ransom, Jehovah’s original purpose for the earth will be fulfilled. The entire planet will become a paradise. Everyone you meet will love Jehovah and serve him. Let us, then, each day look for ways to show our appreciation for the ransom​—God’s greatest gift to mankind!

SONG 20 You Gave Your Precious Son

^ par. 5 Why did Jesus suffer a cruel death? This article will answer that question. It will also help us to strengthen our appreciation for the ransom.

^ par. 6 It was the Roman custom to nail or tie condemned ones to a stake while they were alive, and Jehovah allowed his Son to be put to death in that manner.

^ par. 55 PICTURE DESCRIPTION: Each brother resists a temptation​—to look at inappropriate images, to smoke tobacco, or to accept a bribe.