How Jesus Pays What You Owe
Aug 26, 2019 1926
I once owed someone a large amount of money that I couldn’t repay. There are few things that can feel words than that. And then he forgave me the entire debt! And there can be few things that feel better! Have you ever been forgiven a debt like that? Actually, you have!
The Gospel of Matthew records a curious story that has an important lesson about how Jesus saves you. Every Jew was required to pay a temple tax. When Jesus and his disciples arrived at Capernaum, the tax collector came to Peter asked him,
Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax(Matt 17:24, NIV).
Peter went into the house to tell Jesus, but Jesus already knew what was going on. He said to Peter,
go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours (v.27).
Notice here, that Peter had a debt. He owed this temple tax as well. Notice as well that Peter couldn’t pay his debt. If he could have paid it, he probably would have offered the tax-collector the money. But he couldn’t pay it. He had been without an income for a long time, following Jesus around.
Jesus solved Peter’s problem. He paid what Peter owed by a miracle.
Jesus paid what you owed by a miracle.
Everywhere through the Bible we find the Gospel. Everywhere we find what Jesus has done for your salvation.
You had a debt you could not pay. It was a debt of holiness, because “without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Heb 12:14, NIV).
The problem for people who aren’t followers of Jesus is that they are unfulfilled in their lives, often even miserable. They often realise it; sometimes they don’t. And they don’t see that the root cause of this is a debt that they owe. It’s not a financial debt. It’s a debt in the sense that they were created to live in a certain way, to fulfil their potential, and without God in their lives they will always fall short. Another word for it is “sin.” They have a debt that they cannot repay.
Christians can also have a problem with this debt, when they try to repay it themselves. It’s impossible. You can’t repay it. You can’t even make a contribution toward its repayment. The debt it too big, and you do not have the currency required to pay it, which is holiness.
But Jesus paid what you owed by a miracle. He did it at Calvary. The miracle was that as the God-man, through his death, Jesus purchased your life with its sin and sadness, and in exchange he offers you his perfect, eternal life of spotless purity and joy. And when you have accepted this gift, when the Father looks at you, he doesn’t see the person you thought you were; he says only Jesus. And that’s the greatest miracle of all!
I’m sure that Peter was amazed at how Jesus paid the debt for him. I’m sure Peter was grateful. How much more grateful to God for how Jesus paid your debt, through which you can enter into eternal life! When the apostle Paul considered the “surpassing” grace of God, he exclaimed,
Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! (2 Cor 9:15, NIV)
That’s the only response when your debt has been paid!
– Eliezer Gonzalez