Redemption took on new meaning for me last night.

As part of our Easter week remembrance, I joined with close to 100 people who were seated at tables in my church’s fellowship hall to participate in a Passover Seder. Jeremiah, a Messianic Jew involved with Jews for Jesus, stood at the front table. He represented Jewish households and communities around the world who will participate in the Seder on April 11 to mark the beginning of the Jewish holiday Passover.

The elements of the Seder retell the story of how God set the Israelites free from slavery in Egypt. As a Jew who embraces the Messiah, Jeremiah also explained the Christian symbolism of each element that amazingly points to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Messiah.

Throughout the evening, our leader emphasized the word “Redemption” and asked us to repeat the meaning: “God bought back what rightfully belonged to Him.” God created us, but we were separated from Him because of our sin, so we needed a Savior who would pay the price to “buy us back”. God gave His Son Jesus to die for us so we could enjoy a personal relationship with God.

Jeremiah concluded with a story of redemption. It centered on a young boy who crafted a small, beautiful boat, with the help of his father. The last thing the boy did was paint his initials on the side. After father and son walked to the water’s edge, the son placed the boat on the surface and held on to the string he had tied to it.

Grinning from ear to ear, the son watched the boat sway and drift on the glassy water. Suddenly, a strong gust of wind ripped the string from his young fingers. He ran along the bank as fast as he could, but the boat sped ahead of him. He was devastated.

One day while walking on the sidewalk in their small town, he glimpsed something in a store window. It looked like a rusty boat. Drawing closer, he squinted through the glass and saw his initials.

Rushing into the store, he announced. “That’s my boat. Can I have it?”

The owner explained, “Another young boy brought that in and I paid him for it. You can have it if you pay me $10.”

The boy raced home and emptied the money from his piggy bank onto his bed. Gathering the needed amount, he ran back to the store and laid his coins on the counter. The owner smiled, walked over to the window, picked up the boat and set it in the boy’s waiting arms.

He walked outside, smiling with joy. Then looking down and cradling his boat he said, “I owned you twice. I made you, then I lost you, and now I have bought you back.”

That picture of joy will remain in my heart as I consider, once again, the indescribable love of my Father who allowed His Son to die so He could “buy me back.” Redemption.