(All scripture references from the NIV)
Do you ever have the experience where you are reading something that you know you have read many times before, then pause and have a “Wow!” moment? As in – “Wow! I have never noticed that before!”?
It actually happens to me a lot. One recent morning when doing my Bible study, I came across Exodus 30:11-16. It says: “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘When you take a census of the Israelites to count them, each one must pay the Lord a ransom for his life at the time he is counted. Then no plague will come on them when you number them. Each one who crosses over to those already counted is to give a half shekel, according to the sanctuary shekel, which weighs twenty gerahs. This half shekel is an offering to the Lord. All who cross over, those twenty years old or more, are to give an offering to the Lord. The rich are not to give more than a half shekel and the poor are not to give less when you make the offering to the Lord to atone for your lives.’”
This passage was one of those “Wow!” moments for me. I reread the passage several times and wondered about the full meaning of it – I highlighted it so I could study it more another time. The next morning when I was going to start my reading for that day, my eyes went to that highlighted passage so I read it again. Then the lights started flickering on in my mind.
In John 10 starting in verse 1 Jesus is speaking to the people trying to explain the relationship they should have with Him and is using the example of a shepherd and his sheep. He makes it clear in that passage that He is our only way to salvation. He also explains how the thief (Satan) has a 3-fold ministry in this world and it is to “steal and kill and destroy” – from verse 10:30. Satan attempts to be our “kidnapper” – stealing us away from our life as a Christian to his deceptive and corrupt way of life. But Jesus came to this world and gave His own life in order to be our ransom. “’For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many.’” (Mark 10:45)
The passage quoted above from Exodus then talks about what each person needs to give as atonement when “crossing over”. This to me represents our crossing over from sin and death to life – our salvation. It then says that whether that person is rich or poor, their atonement offering is to be the exact same amount; indicating that we all have the same value – no matter what our lot in life may be; and, that we all only need to accept Jesus as our Savior and confess our sins. We are all loved the same and are equal in God’s eyes.
We should always keep in mind what our value is to Him. We are valuable enough that Jesus died a horrible death in order to save us from ourselves and ensure we have a chance to accept Him and have an eternal life of peace and joy unspeakable in heaven. His death was atonement for all mankind – those that came before and those that would come after Him – for all their sinfulness. (The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines atonement as “a making up for an offense or injury.”) Because of what Jesus did, we merely need to pray for forgiveness to set things right again with the Father that is grieved because of our sins.
Value and blessings beyond measure!
Written by Karran Martin
February 1, 2019