On December 8, 1963, 19-year-old Frank Sinatra, Jr. was kidnapped at gunpoint from his room at Harrah’s Casino in Lake Tahoe, California. Two days later, after allowing Sinatra, Jr. to speak to his famous dad, the kidnappers demanded a ransom of $240,000 for the victim’s safe release. Despite receiving offers of help from Attorney General Robert Kennedy and organized crime leader Sam Giancana, Frank Sinatra sought the help of the FBI to secure the release of his son and apprehend the kidnappers. The ransom was paid, and Sinatra, Jr. was released. A few days later, all of the kidnappers had been located and arrested.
The fall of man in the Garden of Eden allowed us to be “kidnapped,” held captive by sin and death. A ransom needed to be paid, but it was a ransom that we could not pay ourselves. Nor could this ransom be paid by another man or woman, even one with great wealth (Psalm 49:7-9). The ransom, the cost of redeeming us or liberating us from the sin that held us captive, was too high to be paid by man. But we have a heavenly Father who not only was able to pay our ransom but who also was willing to do so, despite the high ransom.
The ransom, the cost of liberating us from sin, from the empty life of the flesh that has been passed down throughout the generations, was not a cost that could be paid with silver and gold. Those are things that lose their value. Our ransom needed to be paid through the sacrifice of the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. Our ransom was the blood of our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, God’s only Son (1 Peter 1:18-19). And not only was God willing to pay that ransom through Jesus, but he had also chosen Jesus to be our ransom long before the world began (1 Peter 1:20).
Jesus came not to be served, but to serve. He came to give His life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28). The ransom has been paid, and we have been set free from the captivity of our sin. We must put our hope in the gift of salvation that comes from Jesus Christ. He paid the ransom that we could not pay because of His great love, grace, and mercy. In turn, we must live our lives as obedient children of God, turning away from the sinful desires of the flesh. And we must strive to live holy lives, being holy and righteous in all that we do, just as our heavenly Father is holy (1 Peter 1:13-16).