“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)
The world, and its people, cry out in pain.
One particular aspect of this pain is the sex trafficking industry, which sees millions of young boys and girls trapped in a cycle of slavery. This kind of slavery confronts each of us as we think of those who have no hope and are continually used and abused for the pleasure of others.
The statistics are horrendous.
Equality Now reports that the trafficking of women and children for sexual exploitation is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world. It is a lucrative industry, making nearly $100 billion per year. Nearly 21 million adults and children are bought and sold worldwide into commercial sexual slavery, and around 2 million children are exploited each year in the sex trade. 54% of sex trafficking victims are trafficked for sexual exploitation, and women and girls make up 96% of victims.
As I say, the statistics are horrendous.
I know of a number of organisations working specifically to help people – men, women and children – out of this slavery, providing them with opportunity to flee such exploitation. This high-risk work threatens the lives of those sex trafficked and those working in the organisations. However, stories do emerge of people escaping such hell and beginning the road to some sort of recovery.
One of these stories I heard while visiting the headquarters of such an organisation. A young girl, aged 14, was purchased for a price, believing she would be used for pleasure once again. When taken to the hotel room those who purchased time with her didn’t seek the usual pleasure of such buyers. Instead, they offered her a way out, a chance to leave, and decisive moment to start life over again. Obviously, a little suspect about what was going on the girl was not convinced until legitimate authorities were brought into the room to confirm this opportunity. In taking this chance the girl was then taken to a care home for former sex trafficked girls. Here she began to take steps to rebuild her life, hoping one day to be back with her family and former community.
This short story of the life of this girl provides a good illustration of what it means to be redeemed.
Redemption is the act of being purchased, of being bought back.
The act of redemption occurred when Jesus died on the cross.
A transaction took place whereby we were bought back to God through the death of Jesus Christ.
In the New Testament we are told by Jesus himself that he came into the world to redeem us. In Mark 10:45 Jesus said to his disciples, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
That is a powerful statement.
Jesus came to redeem us. He came to redeem me. He came to redeem you.
He came to rescue us from our sin and bring us into his holy family.
Some many ask, but what do we need to be redeemed for.
In Ephesians 1:7, another book of the New Testament, “In him [Jesus] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.”
It is understood that God has redeemed us through Jesus and the cross because of our sin (or ‘trespasses’ as this verse reads). As we’ve touched on previously, sin is something that separates us from God. It is something that we are bound to, that we are slaves of, that we are held captive by. Sin dominates our lives and tricks us into thinking we are free when we aren’t. However, true freedom is found through knowing God. And because God loves us so much, wants us to know him, and be in relationship with him, then he comes to rescue us from such slavery. God goes to the point of redeeming us through sending himself in the form of Jesus, to die for us in order that we can be with him.
Because of this act we find ourselves redeemed.
We find that we have been bought back by God.
There’s a really old hymn that speaks to this theme called ‘Jesus Paid It All’. It’s final two verses speak of the fact that we are redeemed.
“When from my dying bed
My ransomed soul shall rise,
‘Jesus died my soul to save,’
Shall rend the vaulted skies.
And when before the throne
I stand in Him complete,
I’ll lay my trophies down,
All down at Jesus’ feet.”
What comfort, what joy, what hope.
- How do you react to hearing people are still bound in slavery today? Is it something you can pray for now?
- How do you react to hearing that Jesus has redeemed you? Write a short paragraph for yourself about what that means to you.
This is part of a devotional series called You’re More Than A Number. To understand the purpose of these posts then please read the series introduction. If you’d like these delivered to your inbox, please sign up to follow this blog or my FB page.