even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”” (Matthew 20:28, ESV)

The word “for” here translates the Greek preposition “anti.”  It isn’t a preposition that is used very often and it means “in the place of” or “in exchange for.” [Zondervan NIV Study Bible]

Jesus, who is the Son of Man, tells his disciples that his leadership and purpose is much different from that of the culture around them.  He did not come as a leader to be served, but as a leader who serves, and who gives his life as a ransom “in the place of” many.

“Ransom” translates the Greek word “lutron” which means: “Price to purchase or ransom the freedom of someone, especially the ransom money for the manumission of slaves.” [Lexham Theological Workbook]

This is one of the few places in the Gospels in which Jesus explains the meaning of his death, so it is a crucial passage.  Jesus will give his own life as a ransom for the lives of sinners, to free them from slavery to sin.  His life in exchange for ours, this is the gospel, and it is done out of love.