In the 1850s, an Englishman made his fortune in the Californian goldfields, and as he travelled overland on his way home, he arrived in New Orleans. He did what a lot of tourists would do in that day; he went to the slave market, when, in that day, there were still slaves sold openly at market. He saw in the lot a sole African-American woman there, being auctioned. One woman in a multitude of men. He overheard two evil men who were bidding for her, discussing what they would do with her, and repulsed of heart, he decided to bid for her. He waited until the bidding slowed, and as the gavel was about to fall, made his bid – a figure exactly twice that of the bid that would have won – utterly beyond anything that had ever been paid for a slave before.

They said, ‘Have you got the money?’ ‘Here it is,’ he said, as he handed it over. So, after the Bill of Sale was made out, they let the woman down to him, and as she made her way to the successful bidder, she made up a mouthful of spittle. When she was within two-feet of him, she let fly and spat full into the man’s face; hissing an obscenity of disgust that all could hear. The man drew the back of his hand up and wiped his face, not saying a word, showing not one sign of anger.

He took her by the hand out of the markets, down the muddy street a little way, and led her into an office building. She couldn’t read, so she didn’t know where she was being led. They entered that office and the man spoke with the clerk at a desk.

The clerk began to protest – ‘You can’t do that!’ he said.

But the man said, ‘But I insist; it’s the law!’ and, after a short disagreement, the clerk acceded and began writing what looked like a certificate.

Money changed hands and the slave-buying man received the paper.

He walked over to the woman as urgently as he ever could and gave it to her, saying,

‘Here, here are your manumission papers, you’re free to go.’

She said back to him, ‘I hate you!’

He said to her, ‘Didn’t you understand; here are your manumission papers, you’re free, you’re free to go… ‘

‘But, sir… ‘ she said, ‘You paid twice as much as anyone has ever paid in that market… do you mean to say you paid twice as much to set me free? I don’t believe it.’

‘It’s true, I bought you to set you free,’ he said, thrusting the manumission papers in her hand.

‘You bought me to set me free?’

‘Yes,’ said the man.

Tears welled up in eyes that hadn’t known tears for a long time.

‘You set me free?’ ‘You paid twice as much to set me free?’ Still in disbelief, she said, ‘I’m free? You set me free?’

She sank to her knees, unable to do anything but to repeat the words, ‘You bought me to set me free… you paid more than has ever been paid before to set me free.’

Looking up with eyes of disbelieving joy, a face softened and moist, she said, ‘Oh sir, all I want in life is to be your slave, you bought me to set me free.’

He bought her to set her free.

Jesus bought you to set you free.

Jesus bought you at such a handsome price it is incomprehensible – not simply double, a price beyond the concept of mathematics. He paid for all our lives, yours as much as anyone’s, through the price of His own life. And Jesus did that to liberate us from our slavery to sin.

Jesus freed us in such a way as to understand this: when we’ve been loved so much that Jesus has given us our manumission papers by losing His own life to save ours, our response is instinctual; sensing the only safety we’ve ever known, we lose our lives all over again simply to remain in the Presence of salvation, which is Jesus Himself.

He, who is our one and all,

will never again let us fall.

Jesus bought you – His death for your life – to set you free. Your freedom, in turn, remains a gift for you only, however, as you choose, like He did with His, to give your life away.

Otherwise, ‘salvation’, like all other things we end up enslaved to, becomes its own idol we place before Jesus. Yes, even salvation.

Jesus is relationship. Jesus is salvation. In sum, Jesus is our all. Jesus, a freedom of priceless worth.

A person is wise when they let go of what cannot satisfy

to gain what their lives are worth: the Jesus who died for them.

Him, and Him alone. The only true worship.

May the Lamb that was slain

receive the full reward

of His suffering…

YOU.

A YOU who never has to live enslaved again.

A YOU who is freed to live in allegiance to The Master

who created, who knows, and who loves YOU.



Source by Steve Wickham

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