In a talk given in General Conference a few years ago entitled "Redemption", Elder D. Todd Christofferson gave insight to what it means to have Jesus Christ as our Redeemer. But to understand that idea, we must first understand the term "redeem".
He says, "In colonial times, labor was in great demand in America. During the 18th and early 19th centuries, potential immigrant laborers were recruited in Great Britain, Germany, and other European countries, but many who were willing to go could not afford the cost of travel. It was not uncommon for these to travel under an indenture or contract, promising to work after their arrival for a certain period of time without wages as payment for their passage. Others came with the promise that family members already in America would pay their fare upon arrival, but if that didn't happen, the newcomers were obliged to pay their own costs through indentured service. The term used to describe these indentured immigrants was 'redemptioners.' They had to redeem the cost of their passage--in a sense, purchase their freedom--by their labor."
And this is where it gets good. He continues, "Among the most significant of Jesus Christ's descriptive titles is Redeemer. As indicated in my brief account of immigrant 'redemptioners,' the word redeem means to pay off an obligation or a debt. Redeem can also mean to rescue or set free as by paying a ransom. If someone commits a mistake and then corrects it or makes amends, we say he has redeemed himself. Each of these meanings suggests different facets of the great Redemption accomplished by Jesus Christ through His Atonement, which includes, in the words of the dictionary, 'to deliver from sin and its penalties, as by a sacrifice made by the sinner.'"
Because I am not perfect, through my sins and mistakes, I have incurred a debt. Justice demands that the debt be paid, but I am not able to do it on my own. Through the mercy of Jesus Christ's atoning sacrifice, I can be forgiven and my debt can be cleared. He has redeemed me, and everyone who will come to Him. He has freed me from my sins and given me another chance, and He will continue to do so, as long as I have the desire to follow Him. This gift is available to all, and this is why Easter is so special. I can be forgiven, and healed, and made new.
I watched this video with my Sunday school class yesterday. I thought it was a really good illustration of the Atonement. I think we'll watch it for Family Home Evening this week: