Years ago an Englishman had gone out to California, made his fortune in the gold fields and wanted to go back and live with his own people. So he sent his money back by check to England and then he came overland, through Santa Fe trail, Kansas City, into Missouri and then down the Mississippi and ended up in New Orleans where he was going to take a ship to New York and from there to England. As a tourist in New Orleans, he did what most tourists do, he went down to the slave market and there in the early 1850’s were slaves still being sold. As he went into the market he saw a lot of men gathered there and one person was put on, and he heard the men as they were speaking about her. There he saw two evil-looking men bidding for her quite heatedly and he heard them say what they would do with her. His heart just revolted against the whole swinish thing.
So finally, when they were bidding and the prices were getting very high and he just couldn’t stand it, he beckoned to the auctioneer a figure which was twice the last bid. It was utterly beyond anything that has been paid for a slave in that market before. He said, do you got the money? He came up and said, yeah, I got the money. And so the bill of sale was made out, he went over to the block and took the woman he had purchased. And as she came down one step and stood just about level with his eyes, she made a mouth full of spittle and she spat right full in his face and hissed through her clenched teeth, “I hate you”! He said nothing, but with the back of his hand he wiped the spittle away, took her by the hand, walked down the street, he crossed this intersection, through the mud, down another street until he came to a little office building. She couldn’t read. She didn’t know what it was. He went to the desk began to speak, the man behind the desk began to protest. But the miner said, “I insist. It’s the law. I insist.” And finally, he came back, paid some money and got a paper.
He walked over to the woman, who was like a beast ready to spring upon him. He handed out the paper and said, “here…here are your manumission papers. You’re free.” She still said, “I hate you!” He replyed, “didn’t you understand? Here are your manumission papers! You’re free!” She said, “no, you paid twice as much for me as has been ever paid for anybody on that block and you’re giving me this? I don’t believe it!” He said, “yes! These are your manumission papers”, and he put them in her hand. And she said, “stop mister, do you mean to say that you bought me to set me free?” He said, “yes that’s why I bought you, to set you free!” Tears came up in her eyes that hadn’t known tears for a long time. They just spilled over. Her face softened. Then she slipped down on her hands and knees and she reached down and put her hands around those rough miner boots, laid her cheek down on the toe of one of them and through her tears she sobbed. “Oh, you bought me to set me free! You bought me to set me free! You paid more than has ever been paid before just to set me free!” And then through her tears she looked up and said, “Oh sir, all I want in life is to be your slave! You bought me to set me free!”
Listen, the Lord Jesus Christ bought you to set you free! And when you understand that, it’s the joy of your life!
Dear friends, I think this story fits perfect to what Christ has done for us. The first time I heard this story told by the late Paris Reidhead, I wept. No sin is too great for Him. He paid for them all. All the wrath that I deserved, He took it for me so I don’t have to bear it myself. I’m justified before God by what Christ has done on that cross. I am free! I love the end where the woman goes down on her hands and knees and says, “All I want in life is to be your slave!” Oh yes! Oh yes! Let us be His slave! Let us let Him wash us, give us new hearts with new desires and make us Holy like Him. He is worthy. He is precious. He is beautiful. He is kind. He is Holy. Oh, to be His slave is worth more than ALL the world! Let us have this longing inside us…All I want in life is to be His slave! He bought you to set you free!