Nazanin Is Free, But How Much Did Her Freedom Cost?

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the British national who left her little girl Gabrielle in the arms of her father when she travelled back to see her own family in Iran, didn’t realise that she would spend the next six years in an Iranian prison. Nazanin was unwittingly caught up in the centre of a complex diplomatic dispute between London and Tehran.

Nazanin Is Free, But How Much Did Her Freedom Cost?

Now, at long last, she has been released and is getting back to building a life with her husband, and holding her daughter close. While elements of her story have stirred up varied opinions, it was wonderful to see Nazanin’s smiling face on the front pages of the UK national newspapers. We dearly needed a feel-good story, with the conflict in Ukraine heavy on our minds.

What struck me, however, was the probable cost of her release. The UK government had been holding back on paying an old debt to Iran – worth about £400 million pounds – which it has just now agreed to pay, although it denies any connection between the two events. What surprised me was the staggering sum of money involved: £400 million seemingly to give Nazanin her freedom. Yes, £400 million!

As I thought of this, my mind went to the cost of my release. I was also imprisoned for many years, not by an authoritarian regime but by my own sin. The dark desires of my heart threatened my eternal well-being and came between me and a holy God.

The Lord Jesus Christ said, “whoever commits sins is a slave of sin” (John 8:34). Sin’s chains bound and broke me until I obtained my release from the bondage of sin over twenty years ago. When that happened I found deliverance. I came home. I received a new life.

Every Christian can relate to this story. They were once bound and broken by sin, but now they are free – they have been received into God’s family. They know God as their Father and heaven as their home. I remember praying to God and calling Him “Father” for the very first time, knowing that my sins were all forgiven and that I was now in His family.

But what did it cost to release me? What does it cost to release anyone from their sins and bring them “home” to God?

The answer is found in the Bible:

“For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1 Timothy 2:5-6).

The enormous ransom price was paid by God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. He gave Himself to release me. Let me explain: God’s Son, the maker and monarch of the Universe, and the eventual heir of all things, stepped into time and history, was born as a baby at Bethlehem, and died on a cross outside Jerusalem. In so doing He paid the ransom price to release me from my sins and take me to God’s home forever. He is the only One who could.

But that’s not all. This Bible verse shows that He “gave Himself as a ransom for all”. Payment has been made on behalf of all people, and that includes you. You can be released from the bondage of your sins. All God asks you to do is to accept the payment Christ made – the payment God has already accepted – and trust the risen Lord Jesus as your own Saviour.

People might debate the wisdom of a payment of a £400 million debt by the UK government to grant her release, but today Nazanin is with her loving family away from fear and finally free.

One day millions will be with the Lord Jesus in the Father’s home – forever free from pain and Hell – all because of the ransom price our Saviour was willing to pay for us. May I ask, will you?

 “Thanks be to God for his indescribable Gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15).

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons