While the 17 missionaries and their families being held hostage by the 400 Mawozo gang have yet to be released, a 79-year-old pastor kidnapped by another Haitian gang two weeks earlier has finally been let go.
CBN reports that Pastor Jean-Pierre Ferrer Michel and a friend were kidnapped on Oct 4, 2021, in broad daylight, as they stood in front of the church, Jesus Center, that Michel helped found in Port-au-Prince. The gang members disguised themselves as Haitian police.
After the church and friends paid the initial ransom demand, the gang refused to release Michel and demanded more money.
The Miami Herald reports that Pastor Michel was released after the church paid an additional US$250,000, above the $300,000 ransom that had previously been paid.
There has been no news on the 17 missionaries and families working with the Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries who were kidnapped on Oct 16, 2021. The 400 Mawozo gang is demanding $1 million each for their release.
But this is not the first time we have heard of a ransom being paid.
As we look at Jesus’ death on the cross, Matthew describes the Lord’s death as payment of a ransom:
28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28 NIV)
The Greek term for ransom used in this verse refers to the ancient practise of redeeming or paying a ransom for a prisoner or slave to gain the individual’s release.
And in his final speech to the Ephesian elders, the Apostle Paul continues with this idea urging them to keep watch over the flock, that Jesus had ‘bought’ with His blood (Acts 20:28 see also 1 Cor 6:20).
Jesus paid the price or the ransom for our sin.
But the idea of Jesus’ death being considered a ransom payment has proven a bit controversial over the years.
At the center of the controversy involves who was this ransom paid too?
Some believe that this payment was made to Satan, who now held humans captive because of their fall into sin. Many of the early church fathers held this view. Then after paying this ransom with His life, Jesus rose from the dead, in an ultimate triumph over Satan.
Others suggest that Jesus paid the ransom to God, satisfying the demands of the law after sin brought death into the world. This falls in line with Jesus substitutionary atonement (Romans 6:23), that He took on the punishment intended for us because of our sin. Most modern theologians hold this latter opinion.