Mark 10:45

Mark 10:45      For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Mark 10:45 και γαρ ο υιος του ανθρωπου ουκ ηλθεν διακονηθηναι αλλα διακονησαικαι δουναι την ψυχην αυτου λυτρον αντι πολλων

The Greek word for ransom here is lutron. It is the noun form of the verb luo. Luo means to loose, untie or set free. In noun form the word literally means the price of release or the price of freedom.

It is unique in this form in the New Testament but occurs eighteen times in the Old Testament. Old testament examples include Exodus 21:30 where the owner of an ox that gores someone to death must pay a price for that death, otherwise he himself must be killed.  The owners own life was forfeit unless he paid up. This was a ransom price.

So Jesus pays for our freedom with his life. He sets us free. How? From what?

There are many other forms of this word in many different contexts yet some general comments can be made:

“(i) They all imply that man was in captivity, in slavery, in subjection to an alien power. There was something which had man it its grip.

(ii) They all imply that by no conceivable means could man have effected his own liberation or rescue. He was helpless in the grip of a power and a situation which he could not mend and from which he could not break away.

(iii) His liberation was effected by the coming of Jesus Christ who paid the price which was necessary to achieve it.

(iv) No where in the New Testament is there any word of to whom that price was paid. [my emphasis] It could not have been paid to God because all the time God was so loving the world. It was in fact God’s love that sent Christ into this world. It could not have been paid to the devil for that would put the devil on an equality with God.

All that we can say is this – it cost the life and death of Christ to liberate man from the past, the present and the future power of sin. Beyond that we cannot go, but although thought may be baffled, experience shows that it cost the life of Jesus Christ to bring us home to God.”

– William Barclay. New Testament Words pg 195