9. Redemption (Illustration)
Why did Jesus have to die?

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Every time God looks at you and me, in essence, He says, “I made you once, and I bought you once.”

That is redemption — what Christ did on the cross man-ward.

Enjoy this story illustration with Josh McDowell as he explains the concept of the redemption, and what it means for us.


The work of Christ, His death on the cross towards man is called redemption.

God was paying a price to buy us out of the slave market of sin, where that price is so great, we never ever have to be sold into sin again.

I was reading in a newspaper a story of something that happened that probably clarified for me redemption more than anything. Let me share it with you.

It happened in a town, I believe it was in Mississippi, along the banks of the Mississippi river. There was a little boy, I would estimate he was probably 7-8 years old; and he loved to play alongside the Mississippi River. He spent a long time making and prided himself in a sail boat that he had built.

To him it was so beautiful, the most beautiful boat in the world. And after several days of sailing in calm water, he put it into water where the current or the wind caught the sail. The boat started to move out towards the center of the river. He could not get to it and he started crying and yelling for his boat. And his father said he saw his son running down the banks of the Mississippi yelling to his boat and hoping it would come to shore.

Well the boat got caught up in the main current of the river and was taken down stream. The little boy was crushed.

About three months later he was with his father about 35 miles downstream. His father was doing some business town. As they walked down the main street of that little town on the coast they passed what you would call a pawn shop.

Now in most countries you know how it is, you take something in to the shopkeeper and he gives you money for it. If you do not purchase it back in so many days then they sell it. And the boy and his father walked by this pawn shop and the little boy looked up into the window. And to his amazement he saw his boat right there in the window for sale.

He got so excited. He pulled his hand out of his father’s hand; he ran into the store to the manager; and he said to the person at the cash register,

“That’s my boat. I want it!”

And the manager of the store said, “No, that’s my boat, I bought it.”

The boy said, “No, no, I made it. It’s my boat.”

He said, “Well then, you will have to buy it.”

Well the poor kid was so sad. He did not have any money.

The father saw the predicament, so His father gave him the money to buy the boat.

(Now here is what is significant: as they walked out the door it was recorded that the father heard his son talking to the boat. This is what he said. Think about it.)

The little boy looked at the boat; and this is what he said, “I made you once. And I bought you once.”

I went “WOW!” That is redemption!

God created us in His image. He made us once; and then we fell into sin; and then he purchased us back with the death of His Son.

Every time God looks at you and me He says, “I made you once, and I bought you once.” That is redemption — what Christ did on the cross man-ward.

But what is propitiation? [Watch Illustration]


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1. What is the work of Christ on the cross (toward man) called?
2. What kind of price did God pay in the slave market for us?
3. What happened to the little boy’s boat?
4. Where did the little boy find his boat?
5. What did the little boy say to his boat?
6. How has your redemption story paralleled this story?


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Find resources to live, defend and share your faith in our online store. Our favorite ones for this topic of Resurrection are:

The Resurrection and You Booklet (10-pack) ($29.90) — When Jesus died on the cross and was buried, all seemed lost. But everything changed three days later when he rose from the dead! Then Jesus made some amazing promises. His resurrection would change every aspect of our lives and futures

This 64-page booklet is ideal for initiating conversations with neighbors, friends, and family about the death and resurrection of Christ.

Evidence for the Resurrection ($14.44) — Josh and Sean McDowell will lead you through God’s original intention in creation, how that intention suffered a damaging blow, and his incredible solution for once again restoring relationship with man and woman. They present a thorough but accessible exploration of the many compelling and abundant evidences that Christ conquered death and the grave.

And they challenge you to answer the question: If Jesus rose from the dead 2,000 years ago, what does it mean for me today?

Evidence that Demands a Verdict ($22.49) — Bringing historical documentation and the best modern scholarship to bear on the trustworthiness of the Bible and its teachings, this extensive volume has encouraged and strengthened millions. Now, with his son Sean McDowell, PhD, Josh McDowell has updated and expanded this classic resource for a new generation. This is a book that invites readers to bring their doubts and doesn’t shy away from the tough questions.