Redemption Has A Price

This past weekend was Wrestlemania. For many, it’s a silly group of people wearing speedos and fake fighting. For me, it’s something I’ve been watching with my dad since the very first one in 1984, where Hulk Hogan and Mr. T took on “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and “Cowboy” Bob Orton in the main event. Each year has its own story that builds; sometimes, over the course of a few months, and sometimes, over the course of multiple years. This year, it was the latter.

Cody Rhodes, the son of hall-of-famer Dusty Rhodes, was in the main event for the WWE Universal Championship against the defending champ, Roman Reigns. Reigns was in the midst of a 3-year title reign that saw him taking on all comers while cheating his way to many of those wins. Cody had tried a year earlier to defeat him but fell short due to outside interference. Why was Cody’s story so compelling? His dad.

Dusty Rhodes was a household name in wrestling throughout the 70s, 80s, and 90s. In 1977, he took on Superstar Billy Graham for the WWWF World Heavyweight Championship. During the match, Rhodes tossed Graham out of the ring, and he was counted out, giving Dusty the win. Of course, Rhodes then picked up the title belt and posed with it while standing on the corner turnbuckles. Unfortunately, the title can’t change hands from a countout. Dusty never held that title. Over the years, the WWWF became the WWE, and no member of the Rhodes family had held world championship gold. Would this finally change? 

Cody took his own route to superstardom. After being in the WWE for years, he grew tired of being a lower or mid-card performer, carrying monikers like “Dashing” Cody Rhodes and Stardust.  He grew frustrated with the lack of push from the company and decided to go out on his own and wrestle around the world. He did just that, wrestling throughout the US on what is called the Indy circuit, smaller promotions that don’t pay the greatest but allow men and women the opportunity to learn the ropes with the hopes of making it big one day. He would also wrestle in Japan, where he grew his name tremendously while making influential friendships that would lead to the start of a new super promotion called AEW. After several years of doing it his way, he returned to the WWE to finish his story and win the big one. Winning the big one, however, is not why I’m sharing this story.

Several years before all of this, Dusty Rhodes told his son, Cody, that he would give him his Rolex watch if he were to ever win the World Title. Unfortunately, that would never happen, as Dusty sold that watch to put Cody through acting school. Times had gotten hard, and Dusty’s finances had dried up. It was years before Cody found out what had happened. In 2015, Cody lost his father to Kidney failure and would never get to see the look on his dad’s face if he were to win that title. Fast forward to Sunday, April 7th, 2024. Cody finally wins the big one and finishes his story. When he goes backstage to celebrate, three executives from the WWE hand Cody a gift. In it was the same model of Rolex as the one his father had years before. It took sacrifice and cost him almost everything to get to this point, but at the end of the day, he had redeemed his family name and honored his father.

“Oh that my words were written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book! Oh that with an iron pen and lead they were engraved in the rock forever! For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!”
Job 19:23–27

Our redemption is not a short story. It’s not a quick read, a YouTube short, or a TikTok. It is a layered story that took generations and millennia to happen. Along the way, there have been challenges, battles, and death. There have also been numerous victories, but understand that our redemption has come at a price. I’ve always been told that anything worth anything could cost you everything. That’s the cost God was willing to pay to redeem His people back to Him.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
John 3:16–21

Most of us have known verse 16 for the majority of our lives, and we love it. We see the cost of our redemption in the sacrifice of God’s only Son. There’s more, though. The cost isn’t only for God. There’s a cost for us. In order to receive that redemption, we need to change our behavior. We need to say no to our carnal desires. Due to the heavy cost of Jesus’ death on a cross, we can’t just go on living as though we’re taking God for granted. Instead, we have work to do ourselves. Our redemption through the blood of Christ demands more. Our sin made us into something God detested, and He had to take action to remove that sin from us. Jesus became sin so that we could be purchased back from our slavery to sin.

All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:18–21

Through His death, burial, and resurrection, Christ became our champion. His death literally purchased our salvation. We had become lost, selling ourselves into slavery through our own choices and sin. The cost to buy back our freedom was more than we could afford, but God could. What’s even more amazing is that He was willing to pay it. He knew the high cost of watching his only Son be abused and beaten. He had to endure the pain of watching His only Son mocked by the very people He was being sacrificed for. He then had to turn from His only Son as he became the embodiment of our sin on the cross in order for us to have the hope of one day being in the presence of the Almighty God. 

Trust me when I say that redemption isn’t free. It has a cost. Thankfully, Christ bore that great cost for us, but that doesn’t mean we just sit by and collect our trust fund. Now we have work to do. We still live in a dark world, but there’s hope. We still live in a world that doesn’t want us in it, but there’s hope. We still live in a world where pain, loss, and sorrow can be a daily experience, but there’s hope. That hope was purchased for us by our Heavenly Father at great expense because redemption has a price.


Larry - April 9th, 2024 at 9:56am

I wish brothers and susters would take time to dwell on the (Cost) it changes and helps me understand, what Hebrews talks about to fall into the hands of an angry God (paraphrased) but honestly The Cost was immeasurable especially to us, a great word and should be considered frequently by the church!

- April 16th, 2024 at 3:39am

Amen. The most important things we'll ever have or experience come at great cost.