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Name Your Price

Exodus 30:14-15
“Everyone who is numbered in the census, from twenty years old and upward, shall give the LORD’s offering. The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less, than the half shekel, when you give the LORD’s offering to make atonement for your lives.”

Think of the fact that the price of atonement here is too cheap for some and too rich for others.

The rich man thinks, “Come on—half a shekel? That’s it?! That’s all my life’s worth?! That’s far too cheap for my noble blood! No, I can do a lot better than that!” So he brings a hundred shekels to Aaron, maybe even a thousand just to prove the point, because the idea of his wealth meaning nothing is a thought he can’t stomach.

But the poor man thinks, “Come on—half a shekel? That’s way too much! I can’t pay that! I’d have to sacrifice dinner or a night out with friends or a weekend membership—no, can’t do it! I’ll bring a nickel or a dime, whatever I’ve got left over this month, and God will just have to accept it if He wants my life that badly.”

That’s why a Pharisee is no better off than a profligate at the foot of the cross, friend. A Pharisee brings his squeaky clean record, his works of penance, his wealth of knowledge, and drops that bundle of righteousness at Christ’s feet like a pile of golden shekels, only to realize that his wealth means nothing here. And the poor profligate comes too, clutching tightly to his bag of addictions—his gambling, his alcohol, his pornography, his sports, etc.—having no room left in his hands for the Savior, no place left on his tongue for the words, “Father, forgive me—a sinner!” and he, like the Pharisee, walks away empty.

Marvel at the thought that our Redeemer paid the atoning price of our lives from both ends of the spectrum: both as the richest Man in the world and as the poorest. That He neither considered the atoning Passion too belittling from His exalted, kingly state, nor too severe from His lowly, humbled state. That He paid it all—for us—from the depths of His riches, from the depths of His poverty, from the depths of His love.