Tom was very proud of his model yacht. He had saved up his pocket money for several months in order to buy it. It was red and yellow with a blue triangular pennant that fluttered from the top of the mast. He sailed it on the boating lake in the park, and decided to take it with him when the family went on holiday to the seaside in summer. His Dad fitted a length of rope securely to the front and Tom happily pulled it along behind him when they went swimming in the shallows.
One day the wind got up a bit and the mainsail took the wind beautifully. The yacht leaned over and skimmed along the water. In his excitement Tom lost hold of the rope, and the yacht headed out to sea, driven by the offshore breeze. Soon it became a distant speck on the horizon. Tom was heartbroken.
A few days later Tom and his parents were walking through the town when he saw a similar looking boat in a charity shop that sold second-hand goods. It was very similar, indeed the spitting image of the yacht that had disappeared into the distance earlier that week. On closer inspection Tom noticed the distinctive blue pennant and realised that it was his. He tugged at his mother’s arm to get her attention, and all of them hurried into the shop. The yacht was priced at £10. Dad fished in his pocket for the money and encouraged Tom to go up to the counter. So for the second time Tom bought his yacht. As he went to bed that night with his yacht safely in the corner, he said to himself
“ Now you really are mine, I’ve paid for you twice!”
As Easter approaches, this simple story gives us a clue to what was going on as Jesus hung on the cross. We use the words ransom and redemption to express the truth that a transaction was taking place: the cruel death of God’s Son to pay for the sin of the world, and bring us back to our Creator. C.S.Lewis expressed it powerfully in his book “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” when the lion Aslan takes the place of the boy Edmund, who has betrayed his brothers and sisters, and is killed in his place.
These powerful concepts are triumphantly woven into many of our hymns and songs at Eastertime.
“Come ye faithful, raise the anthem,
Cleave the skies with shouts of praise;
Sing to him who found the ransom, Ancient of eternal days.”
“There is a redeemer, Jesus God’s own Son,
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah, Holy one.”
Like the boat in the story, you and I are prone to drifting away from God, and being blown in various directions by the winds of fashions and fads, and by our own desires and cravings. Jesus is at once our rescuer and redeemer. With his own blood he has paid the price to bring us back to God.
A more recent hymn by Graham Kendrick puts it like this:
“The price is paid: and by that scourging cruel, He took our sicknesses as if his own.
And by his wounds, His body broken there, His healing touch may now by faith be known.”
I invite you to come and worship in church at our Holy Week and Easter services this year, to sing the praises of the one who is risen from the dead, who knows us individually, and who ransoms and redeems us all.
Yours within the love of Christ