A King’s Ransom

At Christmas, 1192, King Richard I of England, ‘the Lionheart’, was imprisoned on his way home from the third crusade. Having been shipwrecked, he had set off on horse through central Europe. Unfortunately, he was captured by soldiers of someone he had managed to annoy, Duke Leopold of Austria, who then sold him to the German Emperor. He held him captive until his kingdom could afford his ransom, an eye-watering 150,000 marks or 100,000 pounds of silver. This was 2-3 times the annual revenue of the English state. His subjects were heavily taxed and the gold and silver plate in churches was removed for melting down. Richard was accordingly released, returning to England briefly, before heading off again. He probably spent as little as six months in the country which had redeemed him. Although his England was fairly prosperous (not many countries could have raised and administered that huge ransom), the financial burden to rescue the king must have been rather crippling. 

Contrast Richard the Lionheart with Jesus Christ, Lion of the Tribe of Judah. Here is a King who ransoms back His people at great and crippling expense to Himself. And when redeemed and rescued, His people are not abandoned or ignored, for He dwells with them forever, never willing to be parted from them again. 

“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

Image by Mariusz Matuszewski from Pixabay