Our redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ, came to pay a debt He didn’t owe, because we owed a debt we couldn’t pay.

art by Emily Shay

In 1741, George Frideric Handel composed “Messiah.” Handel had all the proceeds for the performances go to releasing people who couldn’t pay their debts from debtor’s prison. 

Because of his donation, one hundred and forty people were released from debtor’s prison. 

An appropriate use of funds for a song about the Messiah, wouldn’t you say?

I was reminded of this story as I read Jonah this week and came across a phrase that stopped me this time around. 

Jonah was asked by the Lord to go to Nineveh and call them to repentance, but Jonah was scared.

The scriptures say he “rose up to flee from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship”

Then the next six words, 

the phrase that stopped me,

“so he paid the fare thereof.”

How many times do we attempt to pay a fare that Christ has already paid for us?

All because we are taking a boat in the wrong direction.

We feel swallowed up in the darkness that Christ has already overcome.

Christ “gave [us] strength, that [we] should suffer no manner of afflictions, save it were swallowed up in the joy of Christ,” (Alma 31:38).

No fish or trial Jonah was swallowed up in could be bigger than the joy Christ offers to swallow us up in.

Jonah’s three days were overcome by Christ’s three days.

His fare isn’t fair—in our favor.

He paid it in full so that we don’t have too.

As President Nelson said, “Our Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ, came to pay a debt He didn’t owe because we owed a debt we couldn’t pay.”

We just have to get on a boat heading in the right direction. 

There will still be storms.

But we will feel peace because we are with the Savior who calms storms and hearts.

And our fare will be paid in full.

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