Was Jesus Kidnapped?

What exactly did Christ’s death accomplish? 


William Blake
Satan Smiting Job with Sore Boils

Throughout church history, several different explanations have been offered, some better than others. The ransom theory of the atonement of Jesus is the teaching that the death of Christ on the cross was a ransom paid to Satan. In Mark 10:45, Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many”(ESV). 

This theory was developed around 200 A.D. and claims that Satan held people captive as a victor in war. Since sin is spiritual bondage to Satan, a ransom had to be paid to set them free.  Does this give Satan too important a role in the work of redemption?  If this explanation is correct, wouldn’t this make Satan one of the primary benefactors in the work of salvation?

Jesus did see his death as a ransom for many, but to whom was this ransom owed?  I look forward to talking more about this on Sunday. 

About Corey Sharpe

Where do we get our beliefs? Three theological perspectives have significantly shaped my Christian identity: Evangelicalism, the early Methodist tradition and liberation theology. From my coming to faith in a Baptist church and throughout my education in a Baptist school and college, I was nurtured by convictions that emphasized a spiritual rebirth, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the centrality of the Bible. Even when I disagree with certain aspects of evangelicalism, it has deeply influenced my sense of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. My seminary studies spawned my interest in early Methodism, particularly its approach to spiritual formation. Its leaders were convinced that only a foundation of doctrine and discipline would lead to a meaningful transformation of the heart and mind. In other words, having the mind of Christ enables me to be more like Christ. Life in a suburban culture obscures the increasing gap between the poor and rich, as well as the Bible’s close identification with the poor. My doctoral work in socio-cultural context exposed me to liberation theology, which helps me see redemptive history as a history of oppressed groups, written from the perspective of the powerless, about a God who is actively involved with the poor in their struggles. I am now the pastor at Huntingtown United Methodist Church in Calvert County, Maryland. Together my wife and I are raising 4 young theologians.
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12 Responses to Was Jesus Kidnapped?

  1. Birdie Cutair says:

    The ransom theory is still difficult for me to understand. I know in theory it sounds good, and I know that Jesus “paid the price for my sins,” but still the idea of ransom is a bit puzzling. OK; in Matthew 21:28, Jesus himself says “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Usually with that verse we think about the serving part. So I guess if Jesus said He came to give his life as a ransom then He did! But I’m not sure if I agree He was paying it to Satan. Yes, we were in bondage to sin and the ransom paid by Christ delivered us from sin, but does that have to mean that sin is the same as Satan?

  2. Zee Bee says:

    Were the blood sacrifices in the Old Testatment, on which Jesus’ death is based, considered payment to Satan? I think not. My understanding is that God required something precious from the people at various statures in life, as atonement for their sin, to show God how repentant they were. And that they loved Him more than their worldly goods.

  3. Janice says:

    Jesus paid the ransom for our lives to God. That ransom was His own life, the shedding of His own blood, a sacrifice. Due to His death, we all have the opportunity to accept that gift of atonement and be forgiven by God. For without His death, God’s Law would still need to be satisfied—by our own death. I look forward to hearing more on this subject from Pastor Corey on Sunday.


  4. Birdie Cutair says:

    After pondering this for awhile, I think Jesus paid the ransom to God. There is nothing that says Satan wants the ransom. God is the one that set the consequences for a sinful life.

  5. Ann Denbow Simmons says:

    This is a fantastic and greatly opinionated subject.
    The definition of ransom per http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Ransom is as follows:
    The release of property or a person in return for payment of a demanded price.
    The price or payment demanded or paid for such release.
    A redemption from sin and its consequences.
    To obtain the release of by paying a certain price.
    To release after receiving such a payment.
    To deliver from sin and its consequences.

    n Mark 10:45, Jesus said,“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” We are taught that Jesus paid the ultimate price for all mankind a price that was demanded. True love demands sacrifice” and if Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice for me and others than the question is who demanded the sacrifice or ransom?. Was it God or Satan?

    John 3:16 states “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son!” With this assurance and conviction we as Christians believe that God is for us and loves us to the ultimate of sacrificing his son as a ransom for each of us to Satan. But does our actions and lives reveal that we have as Christians fully accepted this ransom to deliver us from sin?

    I never truly contemplated this point until your blog and in all reality it seems that Jesus death was a ransom that God paid to save me and others from Satan’s demands. Are we still tempted and do we relinquish to Satan’s temptations? Have I and others fully accepted this ultimate sacrifice? We are told to put on the armor of God to fight against Satan and his temptations. .
    I have always found Jesus death paradoxical in regards to what sense was Jesus death necessary yet voluntary? I am referring to the Old Testament prophesy about Jesus death found in Ex. 12:46, Zech.12:10.

    Pastor Cory would you please say hello to my sister in-law Jean Simmons and tell her she is in my prayers. Thank you!

  6. Janice says:

    Another thought I had is that usually when we hear the word “ransome” we normally think of money, but to think that God paid with the blood of his son and not money is awesome. So, Jesus/God paid the ransome, not to anyone, but for all of us for our salvation. No Ann, I bet not many think about this ultimate sacrifice. I agree the armor of God is what will keep Satan away. Satan is lurking at the door just waiting to get in.

  7. Janice says:

    I don’t know why I keep putting an “e” on ransom. Sorry

  8. Ann Denbow Simmons says:

    Pastor Corey, thank you and have a fantastic day!!

  9. Carol Childers says:

    Received via email from my Sunday school teacher on a lesson recently: How Martin Luther Dealt With the Devil. I will forward it to you, Corey. Interesting.
    More than I can relay to readers here, but will be happy to share if I can forward the two pages to any readers.

  10. Ann Denbow Simmons says:

    Carol I would appreciate your e-mailing the two pages you have mentioned to my e-mail address. Thank You!
    Have a fantastic day!

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