• Steven Marsh

Redeemed Without Money: a Reflection on Psalm 24, Isaiah 52:3-6, Revelation 2:1-7, and John 2:1-11

The psalmist declares in Psalm 24 that all the earth is the Lord’s. What an amazing prayer of thanksgiving. God is in control. Everything is his. So, when our hearts are not pure and are hands aren’t clean, we can remember that Jesus suffered sickness, pain, shame, and death. And because of this suffering, pain, shame, and death, all have suffered and died. Jesus’s hands got dirty for me and were cleansed. Jesus’s heart became impure on my behalf and he made it pure. Jesus in his humanity was our humanity, yet without sin. He conquered the darkness and brought us into the light

Dietrich Bonheoffer writes in Life Together, “The human Jesus Christ to whom no affliction, no illness, no suffering is unknown, and who yet was the wholly innocent and righteous one, is praying the Psalter through the mouth of his congregation. The Psalter is the prayer book of Jesus Christ in the truest sense of the word.”

The people of God were sold into slavery in Egypt for nothing. And they were redeemed without money. Isaiah reminds us that as valuable as human life is, it is often treated abominably. Yet, God gave his very self for our redemption. That was a great cost.

Once again a residence in California, I pay a tax on most sodas and beverages that are sold in plastic and glass containers. And then, if I so choose, I can return them to a recycling center and redeem cash for these plastic and glass products to be reused. These products were sold for money and redeemed for money. Such is the conditional approach to commodities in human economy. Yet, that is not the case in God’s economy.

The writer of Revelation admonishes us that works are important, but warns us not to lose our first love. The way of Jesus is always about redemption that doesn’t cost money. That is a great reminder of how our focus must remain on Jesus and our works should reflect his incredible love for whomever we are serving.

I am so glad that Jesus saved the best wine for last. He didn’t sell it and he truly redeemed that wedding reception with no money. There is something about the redemption process that requires patience. I will hold onto Jesus and his great love for me and all humanity. There is a benefit to selfless living. That is an incredible redemption value.

Scripture readings are taken from the two-year daily lectionary cycle which follows the liturgical calendar and begins on the First Sunday of Advent.

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