Jesus is not only our mediator, but also our redeemer. This is a big word that means one who pays the debt and picks up the tab. Don’t you love it when you go out to dinner and someone else picks up the bill? Or even better they tell you before you order so you can get the steak instead of the burger! You can always take me out to eat and be my redeemer 🙂
Because our spiritual debt is so great we need someone who can pay pick up the tab. Throughout Scripture there are examples of people who foreshadow the value of paying the debt for other people and Joseph is a great example. Joseph is loved by his father, but hated by his brothers and his brothers end up selling Joseph into slavery and leaving him to die. Through a number of events Joseph goes from being sold into slavery to leading Egypt to a place of power and position in the midst of a world famine.
People from all over have to come to Egypt to get food to survive and so did Joseph’s brothers. After selling their brother into slavery they find themselves now standing before him to survive. Joseph could have responded with judgment and refused to help them, but instead he picks up the tab and opens the doors so they could get all the food they could carry.
Joseph is a shadow of what is ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ and Galatians 4:4 says it like this, “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, 5 so that He might redeem those who were under the Law…”
The law shows us how great our spiritual debt is and Jesus came to pay for our spiritual debt. Other people will tell us what we need to do to pay God back for your spiritual debt. We need to be good people, we need to suffer on earth, we need to go to purgatory, and they are all minimal efforts to pay God back for a spiritual debt. It is as if we have maxed out a credit card to $50K dollars and they are coming to collect so we send in a $100 dollar check expecting the credit card to be paid off.
This is the beauty of the gospel. It is in the gospel that the credit card company doesn’t just forgive the debt because we would just go and max out another credit card. Instead Jesus comes to pay that debt on our behalf and not only pays our debt, but also gives us an eternal gift card called His righteousness so that we never acquire spiritual debt again. Our spiritual debt isn’t about what we do, but about what He has done.