1. Mark 10:45 (ESV)
  2. Exposition

On whose behalf is the ransom paid and to whom is it paid?

Mark 10:45 (ESV)

45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Mark 10:45b is not a full dogmatic treatment of the atoning merit of Jesus’ death. It is true, however, that Jesus would not be able to call his dying a ransom if there was no divine demand on the many because of guilt. There is a creditor who is willing to deal with this guilt in the way of righteousness and compensation, be it by Someone on behalf of the many.

Deliverance through ransom means that the matter is dealt with righteously. Satan would not let a prey go free for a ransom; God does deliver a guilty person when satisfaction has been made with respect to his demand and punishment. The idea in Mark 10:45 must therefore be that the ransom is paid to God (this is also in line with Mark 10:38: God gives the cup that Jesus must drink). The life of the promised son of Adam (Genesis 3:15) comes as a ransom for Adam and the many sons who were guilty unto death (Genesis 2:17).1