Today, Good Friday, is when Jesus became our duputapό, the exact payment, the ransom for our sin (Mark 10:45).
Today, Good Friday, is when The Father said, “Sųpό!” Jesus’ sacrifice, His death on the cross was enough to secure our eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12).
The need for ransom
Prior to the arrival of Wycliffe Bible Translators, the Folopa people understood the need for a ransom. Wasn’t that concept sųpό, enough? Perhaps all any ethnic group needs is a general sense of even-handed, fair play. If justice can be meted out by a human, physical response, a response accepted by all parties, isn’t that human idea sufficient? Why introduce something “supernatural” into the equation? If the Folopa people were satisfied with their arrangement in the past, shouldn’t we be satisfied by human justice?
But the question is always “Why?” and the second word always “should.” Why should anyone care about duputapό, payback? And then, who is to judge wrongdoing? By what standard will a crime be identified or a wrong rectified? And what if there is still animosity, a lingering hatred toward another for their wrong deed? Is there anything that can satisfy, take away the hurt, cover the pain, wipe out grief, or blot out the memory of the offense?
The Folopa elder said it best, “We’ve never given a person. And a person would never give himself!” Voluntary sacrifice is outside the general scope of human justice. Humans like data, points, pie-charts, and graphs to ascertain whether some wrong has been righted. Outside of the Hebraic-Christian viewpoint people resort to a materialistic, naturalistic justice. We measure justice by numbers – years in a prison term – over against eradicating the wrong altogether.
Human answers to human problems will always be insufficient. We cannot, as human-centered worldviews since Genesis 3 have desired, save ourselves. Psychology won’t solve our problems. Sociology is insufficient to overcome sin. Anthropology can only hope to acknowledge a dilemma and surely won’t resolve it.
Never be enough
If we want what counselors call “closure” human efforts will never be sųpό, enough. If there is an ever-present problem – sin – whereby the data-points can never outweigh the ever-present consequence – guilt – there is only one recourse.
Only Jesus’ death on the cross (duputapό) can satisfy the requirements of closure (sųpό), a triumph over death (Colossians 2:15). The basis for earthly fairness, for an “even trade,” is found in the Heavenly requirement of Romans 5:1, “Since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
 This is a paraphrase of the Wycliffe Bible Translators story “Ransom” from In Search of the Source: A First Encounter with God’s Word (Multnomah, 1992), pp. 159-63.