Garland Of Grace – 06.27.16

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The Gospel and Charles Lindbergh; Relishing in the Ransom Paid by Christ

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” – Mark 10:45

Probably one of the most well-known kidnapping cases in United States history was the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby. Twenty-month old Charles Augustus Lindbergh Jr. was abducted from his home in Hopewell, New Jersey on March 1, 1932. He was the son of Charles Lindbergh Sr., famous aviator pilot, who just four years earlier completed the heroic feat of flying solo from the United States to France.  But in this well-known kidnapping case, a ransom of $50,000 was demanded by the abductor. After the Lindbergh family involved the police, the ransom was raised to $100,000. When it came time to deliver the ransom, the abductor led the authorities and Lindbergh Sr. on a wild goose chase all over the New York City area that eventually ended at a local cemetery. There, an unknown man accepted the money and gave a note. It stated that the child was being held on a boat called “The Nelly” in an area north of New York City on the Atlantic coastline. The child was supposed to be in the care of two women.  Lindbergh went and searched the piers in that area, but there was no boat called “The Nelly.” Lindbergh even flew an airplane low over the piers in an attempt to startle the kidnappers into showing themselves. After two days, Lindbergh regrettably admitted he had been fooled. The story continued to make the national news, as a nation waited for the safe return of little baby boy Lindbergh. Unfortunately, the story had a severe and tragic ending. The baby, just two months after being taken, was found dead. The police continued an aggressive investigation that eventually led to the kidnapper. He was a German carpenter residing in New York City by the name of Bruno Richard Hauptmann. Found guilty, he was executed for his heinous crime on April 3, 1936. Forty years later in 1976, the story was made into a movie titled, “The Lindbergh Kidnapping Case.” Many people refer to this famous kidnapping case involving a ransom as “the crime of the century.”

Whenever you and I think of the word ransom, in all probability images of kidnappings such as the one described above come to mind.  We might think back on a movie or a television program that had a plot involving the abduction of child; a child that would only be returned to his or her family if the proper fee or ransom was paid to the kidnapper by the distraught family.  But the word ransom in biblical times carried a deeper meaning than it does today. In Donald English’s book, “The Message of Mark” he says that the word ransom “was a familiar image in the Jewish, Roman, and Greek cultures. It was the price paid to liberate a slave, a prisoner of war, or a condemned person.”  Notice the severity of this list; slaves, prisoners, and condemned people. Sounds like a motley crew does it not? So with that in mind, the word ransom back then was not a term that carried respectability. It was usually associated with people of bad rapport. Now considering that you and I were slaves to sin before conversion, and considering our need for liberation, how appropriate it is that our Lord Jesus chose to use the word ransom in our text above. We are far from innocent. In fact, we are guilty sinners, deserving eternal punishment in Hell. We are condemned people, in captivity to sin, in need of deliverance.  So what was Jesus saying? He was saying that He did not come to be served by others but rather to serve others, and that His method of service was giving His life up as payment for people in bondage; condemned people that no doubt needed to be liberated – people like you and me.

Oh Dear Christian friend; relish in the ransom that our Lord Jesus Christ paid for you on the cross of Calvary! The ransom He paid on our behalf is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful gems within the treasure chest of salvation!

 – Pastor Eric

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