This sonnet by George Herbert, a favorite of mine from his works, is a wonderfully illustrated portrayal of the price Christ paid in our place for our ransom. Like the tenant, we may be aware of our debt and need for restoration; but we truly are ignorant as to our debt’s extent. But it is Christ, even before our asking Him and before we knew we even needed Him, who had humbly and already gone to purchase and redeem us.
Having been tenant long to a rich Lord,
Not thriving, I resolved to be bold,
And make a suit unto Him, to afford
A new small-rented lease, and cancel th’ old.
In heaven at His manor I Him sought:
They told me there, that He was lately gone
About some land, which He had dearly bought
Long since on Earth, to take possession.
I straight returned, and knowing His great birth,
Sought Him accordingly in great resorts–
In cities, theatres, gardens, parks, and courts:
At length I heard a ragged noise and mirth
Of thieves and murderers; there I Him espied,
Who straight, “Your suit is granted,” said, and died.