Word for Wednesday... Redemption
Redemption does not come so easily, for no one can ever pay enough to live forever and never see the grave…God will redeem my life. He will snatch me from the power of the grave.Psalm 49:8-9, 15, NLT
I’m not a huge football fan, but I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Divisional Playoff between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills this past Sunday. The valiant efforts and brilliant displays of athleticism on both sides made the game one of the most exciting to see in recent memory. Like many of you, we held our breath as the Chiefs’ kicker, Harrison Butker, lined up to attempt the field goal that would take the game into overtime. In those brief moments I spoke to Butker through our television screen, reminding him that this was his one shot at redemption, his chance to make up for the field goal and extra point he had missed earlier in the game, which collectively would have been enough to secure the Chiefs’ victory. You never tell young children after a loss that their singular mistake made the difference, but overpaid professional athletes can handle the truth; if the Chiefs had lost it would have been all his fault. Thankfully, for his sake, he made it.
A popular online dictionary defines redemption as “the action of regaining or gaining possession of something in exchange for payment, or clearing a debt.” In Butker’s case, the thing he stood to lose was his reputation as being an individual with the ability to kick a football through the uprights. With his successful field goal attempt in Sunday night’s game, he regained that reputation, thus achieving a sort of redemption. You could also say he repaid the debt owed by his two previous errors. We can only hope that he was very grateful to the Chiefs’ offense for giving him the opportunity.
From a biblical perspective, the hope for redemption takes on a whole other level of importance. The thing we all stand to lose is our lives. On account of our sin we owe a debt to God, and only with our lives can we repay it. Unlike Butker, we will never have an opportunity or the means to repay that debt and buy back our lives. It is simply too great. There is no amount of money we could earn, or no amount of good we could do to make things right between us and God. Realizing this, the psalmist decides the only alternative is to put his hope in God to somehow make redemption possible. He trusts that only God can snatch him from the power of the grave. And with the benefit of hindsight, we can see that his hope, which is our hope too, is realized in Jesus, who gave his life for us, redeeming us, so that we could live forever with him.