A Ransom Paid in Full: Reflecting, Understanding, the Justice of God. Matthew 20:24-28

Matthew 20:24-28 Amplified Bible

24 And when the [other] ten heard this, they were resentful and angry with the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles have absolute power and lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them [tyrannizing them]. 26 It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, 27 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your [willing and humble] slave; 28 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 [paying the price to set them free from the penalty of sin].”

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

Background: He Who Has Ears, Let Them Hear …

Matthew 20:17-19Amplified Bible

Death, Resurrection Foretold

17 As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, He took the twelve [disciples] aside, and along the way He said to them, 18 “Listen carefully: we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and scribes (Sanhedrin, Jewish High Court), and they will [judicially] condemn Him and sentence Him to death,  19 and will hand Him over to the Gentiles (Roman authorities) to be mocked and scourged and crucified, and He will be raised [to life] on the third day.”

On the journey to Jerusalem Jesus predicts that his death will take place there.

Jesus takes his disciples aside to report to them that it will include wholesale betrayal, humiliation and condemnation by the religious leaders of his people.

Those who should be welcoming him as the promised Messiah will instead sentence him to suffering and death, thoughtlessly handing him over to to a brutal time and season of mocking, flogging, and crucifixion by the Romans.

Then Jesus also shockingly predicted that he would rise again three days after!

But it seems that after hearing the predictions about Jesus’ suffering and death, the disciples somehow tuned out.

It’s as if they missed hearing the promise that “on the third day” he would be “raised to life!”

When the time came and Jesus died on a cross, the disciples were a despondent group of followers wondering about the suddenness what had just happened.

As predicted, in the Garden of Gethsemane they scattered in fear, at the arrival of the Temple Authorities unjustly leaving the burial, preparations to others. (See Matthew 26:56; 27:45-28:10.)

In this critical moment, there was no expectation of Jesus’ coming to life again!

In our own day and age, considering the number of years which have come, and passed us by since those events transpired, is our own “hearing” any different?

As we again, for the umpteenth time approach Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, as we again come to the umpteenth recitation and those sermons of Palm Sunday, as we again try to come to realization of what we know is to come, has already transpired, has already been written and narrated – why is any of this relevant?

We have not heard with our own ears the actual voice of Jesus as the disciples.

We could not immediately begin the process of giving it our fullest attention.

We could not be stunned in the same way as the disciples were upon hearing it.

We could not be apathetic or excited or wondering or stunned or any of that.

We did not talk, or walk, hear or listen to and with Jesus in that moment – in a more contemporary colloquial sense of the moment – “walk and chew gum and do everything else (preparing ourselves for the Passover) all at the same time.

Nowadays, we do not all concern ourselves to prepare to celebrate the Passover.

We are not looking for donkeys or mules or horses to ride to be paraded about.

We are not looking for “Upper Rooms” – Just sanctuaries inside our churches.

No Gardens of Gethsemane …

It is doubtful to the utmost we are worried about our running away naked in the middle of the night with thoughts of running away, betraying our own Savior.

Jesus will not be arrested again.

He will not be betrayed, mocked and humiliated in such a horrible way again.

We will not have to subject ourselves to the sight, witnessing him dying again.

All these things have already come to pass and by faith we believe and accept it.

Now, what experiences do we have to substitute for those of what the disciples witnessed first hand, experienced to the utmost first hand, threatened by too?

We hear pandemic, dire economic warnings or a doctor’s frightening diagnosis, and we’ll soon forget Jesus’ words: “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20).

We experience ridicule or rejection and forget that God’s Word warns that we may be called to share in Christ’s sufferings (John 15:18-20; Romans 8:17).

Facing them throughout the year is hard enough, but how much of that effort includes an intense time of self examination, reflection upon the Cross itself?

Facing them mutually, letting God work, let’s remember Jesus was raised to life.

We know what happened then to Jesus – three days later, as promised, he arose!

Our belief in the Resurrection of our Savior is core central to our Christian faith.

Yes! We absolutely love and live for and utmost sacrificially serve a risen Savior!

But the lingering question, the utmost intense question we probably devote so precious little of our time to study, reflecting upon: what relevance is the Cross?

A Personal Reflection: Why the Cross?

24-28 When the ten others heard about this, they lost their tempers, thoroughly disgusted with the two brothers. So Jesus got them together to settle things down. He said, “You’ve observed how godless rulers throw their weight around, how quickly a little power goes to their heads. It’s not going to be that way with you. Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for the many who are held hostage.”

Why does Jesus take his disciples aside to shock, awe them with his prophecy?

Why are such momentous words and such miraculous history transforming events still to be read and found, studied and prayed over and celebrated too?

Why is such a detailed, embarrassing account of the failure of the disciples?

Why do we celebrate ourselves being re-subjected to these terrible moments?

To give us another opportunity to run away from Jesus, recoil from them, him?

To mostly learn and then relearn to repeatedly avoid re-living the indescribable intensity of those moments, to make them our own as God repeatedly call us to?

Why the ugliness of the Cross … to learn, to relearn to hug its wondrous beauty?

Why such an intense concentration, centralized focus on the Cross at Calvary?

Why such an ugly, not so gentle, intentional, purposeful, graphic reminder?

Why didn’t God simply say, “Look, everyone, I know you have sinned against Me, but I am going to pardon you right now. It’s okay. I forgive all of you!”

God didn’t do that because it doesn’t work with His nature and character.

The justice of God requires obedience and sacrifice.

He could not accept us into fellowship with Himself unless we paid the penalty—or someone paid it on our behalf.

Romans 3:25 tells us, “For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past” (NLT).

The cross demonstrates the ultimate expression of the justice of God.

At the cross of Calvary, the love and justice of God met.

Yes, God had to satisfy His justice.

The Scriptures say, “The person who sins is the one who will die” (Ezekiel 18:20 NLT), “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23 NLT), and “without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22 NLT).

God was saying, “My righteous requirements must be met.

But I love humanity beyond their ability to acknowledge, fully measure and comprehend, and there is no way they can do it on their own.

So, I must, and I WILL help them.”

Therefore, He sent His only begotten Son Jesus to bridge the gap. (John 3:16-17)

This is why Jesus Christ is the only way to God.

People like to say that all roads lead to God.

People also like to say that the road to hell is paved with our good intentions.

It really concerns me when I hear Christians parrot statements to that effect.

There is only one path.

There is only one way.

If that were not true, then why did Jesus have to die?

If all roads lead to God, then why did Jesus go through the indescribable anguish, the immeasurable humiliation, torture, and pain of the cross?

Matthew 20:26-28 Amplified Bible

26 It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, 27 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your [willing and humble] slave; 28 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 [paying the price to set them free from the penalty of sin].”

The primary reason Jesus came to this earth was to save us, to die for our sins.

Paid in Full

Jesus’ mission was a matter of “search and rescue.”

He came to seek and save those who were lost (Luke 19:10).

He not come to be served but to serve, give his life as a ransom for many.

Mark 10:42-45 Amplified Bible

42 Calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their powerful men exercise authority over them [tyrannizing them]. 43 But this is not how it is among you; instead, whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wishes to be first and most important among you must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a [a]ransom for many.”

He fulfilled that mission by giving his life at Calvary “as a ransom for many.”

As Jesus hung on the cross and spoke the words “It is finished” (John 19:30), he was announcing that his mission was now accomplished.

Because he was obedient and faithful to His Father, offered his perfect life as the sacrifice for sin, God was pleased to welcome home all his lost children!



The brief sentence “It is finished” translates from just a single word teleō in the original Greek text.

The same word was used by shopkeepers to announce that someone’s bill was finally paid.

When the final payment was made on a purchased item, the merchant would say “Tetelestai” (“It is finished”) – in other words, the debt was paid in full.

When I made the last payment on the first car I ever bought, I remember how good it felt to see the bank teller stamp “Paid in Full” on my loan documents.

Never again would another payment be required!

As Jesus said “It is finished” on the cross, he was assuring us that his mission was complete.

He had paid in full all the costs required for our sin.

And when we faithfully focus our lives, when we centralize our lives now place our full faith-filled trust in him, our debt for sin is forever wiped off the books!

On that Hill far away, stood an Old Rugged Cross, the emblem of suffering and shame. And on that old cross Jesus suffered and died to pardon and sanctify me.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Loving Lord, I praise and thank You for Jesus, my Mighty Savior and Servant King. Lord, today I pour out my life as an offering to You. I pray that I would serve You wholeheartedly and my service would bless those around me and be a witness to bring many to the knowledge of salvation in Jesus. O God, thank you that Jesus has bought salvation for me! He has done everything needed for me to know you, love you, and serve you now and forever! Amen. Thank You that Jesus gave His life as a ransom for me and for all who would believe in His name. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.


Author: Thomas E Meyer Jr

Formerly Homeless Sinner Now, Child of God, Saved by Grace.

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