This past Tuesday, Steph and I were blessed with the arrival of our son, Ransom David Chang. Several have asked us the meaning behind that name, so I thought I would write a few words about that. David is my father's English name, and I am proud to give my son that middle name. I pray that Ransom would one day reflect something of my father's faithfulness to God and to his family.
For his first name, I first came across the name Ransom during my drive out from Washington, DC to Portland, OR. I listened to CS Lewis' fascinating Space Trilogy (Out of the Silent Planet, Peralandria, That Hideous Strength) on audiobook, and the main character's surname is Ransom. It's not a made up name, but as the character explains, it has an Old English origin of "Ranulf's (or Randolph's) son".
I was immediately drawn to the name, however, because of its modern usage. A ransom is a payment required for the release of a captive. In describing his mission to his disciples, Jesus says, "the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mk. 10:45). This is what Christianity is all about: that in his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus has given his life as a ransom for sinners, rescuing them from God's judgment and reconciling them to God.
In naming my daughter Jubilee, I was glad to give her a name which reflected the joy and freedom that is found in the gospel. The name Ransom, however, is a more serious and solemn name. It reminds us that there is something wrong with the world and with us. We are in bondage to sin and headed for destruction. But at the same time, it reminds us that there is a Rescuer. Jesus has made the ultimate payment, giving His own life in order that we might be forgiven. It is our prayer that Ransom's life will one day come to reflect something of the gravity and the gladness of this reality.