REDEMPTION OF MANY
In Matthew 20:28, Jesus said, “the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” The term “many” is a reference to Isaiah 53:11-12 where it did not mean for few but the outcome of Christ’s redemption. The salvation will happen only for those who accept Jesus and his message. At the Last Supper, Jesus said to Thomas: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (Jn 14:6).
Jesus used “many” when he instituted the Holy Eucharist. After blessing the cup, he said: “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many” (Mk 14:24; Mt 26:28). After healing the centurion’s servant in Capernaum, Jesus said: “I say to you, many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 8:11). The rabbis and the Qumran community used this term for the community of faith or the chosen people. Paul also use “all” and “many” as interchangeable terms in his letter to Romans: “In conclusion, just as through one transgression condemnation came upon all, so through one righteous act acquittal and life came to all. For just as through the disobedience of one person the many were made sinners, so through the obedience of one the many will be made righteous” (Rom 5:18-19). So the redemption of Jesus is for all. Those who cooperate with him will find the salvation through him.
God created humans respecting their personality and giving freedom of choice. He taught the expected behavior from us. Though Jesus attained salvation for all, it is our responsibility to accept it and maintain it. After his resurrection, Jesus commissioned the apostles saying, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mk 16:16).