John Oliver, the host of HBO’s popular TV show Last Week Tonight, made the news when he forgave fifteen million dollars in debt. He did this to show the unsavory nature of buying debt and collecting on it. He purchased the massive debt at the price of just $.004 for every dollar. Because he owned the debt, Oliver had the legal right to collect it. Instead, he generously abolished it.
Forgiving fifteen million dollars of financial debt is generous, but it pales in comparison to God forgiving the debt of our sin through the death of Jesus. The apostle Paul made this clear in 2 Corinthians 8, which contains a beautiful summary of the gospel in 2 Corinthians 8:9. In an effort to motivate the wealthy Corinthian church to be generous givers (2 Corinthians 8:2,6), Paul used the generosity of Jesus Himself as the ultimate model for believers. Christ “became poor” when He left heaven, came to earth, and sacrificed His life on the cross.
The One who was “rich,” who had everything, made Himself nothing (Philippians 2:7). Though a holy God had every right to collect the debt of sin, He sent His Son to assume humanity’s debt of sin and pay for it with His life (Philippians 2:8). Christ became poor so that those who believe in Him might become spiritually rich—experiencing real life in and through Him.
Jesus forgave our debt by voluntarily surrendering Himself to death on a cross. His generosity should inspire devotion in us. Today, may we honor God with our bodies, give freely to those in need, forgive others as we’ve been forgiven, and be patient with others as Jesus has been patient with us. Let’s lovingly give up our lives for our brothers and sisters as He gave His life for us.
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Psalm 1:1-6
Read Romans 5:9 to see another outcome of Jesus taking our place on the cross.
In what ways has Jesus made you rich? How will you celebrate Him for purchasing your forgiveness with His death on the cross?