Read: Exodus 29-30, Matthew 22:1-22
As humans, we want to put a price on everything. On everyone. You may have heard it said that everyone has a price. Whether intentionally or not, we put labels on people. We value them based on their station in life, their skills, education, and sadly, skin colour or nationality—some or all of these to a greater or lesser degree than another.
Some jobs pay more based on experience or expertise while others pay next to nothing, devaluing the person working it. We raise some people higher than others simply because they were born to the “right” parents and we debase some for the very same reason.
God has also put a price on all of our heads. But it is the same price for everyone.
God delivered His chosen people out of slavery so that He could dwell among them and be their God (Exodus 29:45-46). So that they would belong to Him, there was a price that had to be paid.
When you take a census of the Israelites to count them, each one must pay the Lord a ransom for his life at the time he is counted. Then no plague will come on them when you number them.
Exodus 30:12 (NIV)
In order to be kept in the count, each man over the age of twenty had to pay a price. The same price.
No matter what tribe a person came from or what their station was, all lives were of equal value when it came to the price required to pay their ransom.
RANSOM: A transaction involving the release of an item (or person) in exchange for some type of payment.
Harper’s Bible Dictionary
Atonement cannot be made without payment. The price we must pay is no longer a half shekel, but a blood sacrifice. Jesus’ blood. And it his blood and his alone that can complete the transaction. No more. No less. That price is the same for everyone.
Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.”
Acts 10:34-35 (NIV)
In the eyes of God, we are all valued exactly the same. There is only one price to be paid and only method of payment. The price has already been paid, we need only to accept it. And, once accepted, that price puts us all on equal footing in the kingdom of God. No one is worth more. No one is worth less. But we are all of great value. Great enough that only another life could purchase ours.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16 (NIV)