Christianity’s Bazillion-Dollar Coin

Today’s gospel is inspiring. Jesus is baptized, the skies open and God endorses Jesus: “You are my beloved son; with you I am well pleased.”

With that endorsement, Jesus was certified to pay an astounding debt. He received the power to redeem the souls of all sinners from that time onward. That kind of transaction is hard to appreciate. It’s like having a coin that can pay off an enormous debt.

If that idea sounds familiar it’s because a similar one has been making the rounds in the media. It started as a petition that was posted on, calling for the U.S. mint to create a single platinum coin valued at a trillion dollars. Granted, it was a tongue-in-cheek idea, but it caught the imaginations of all the talking heads on TV shows—and a few politicians who talked enough about it to make such craziness news.

Of course it’s silly. The U.S. debt is well over $16 trillion. You’d need quite a few of these coins to pay the whole bill this country has racked up. Besides, even with platinum’s intrinsic value, it would take tons and tons of them to reach the actual value of our debt.

The only single unit of currency that was ever minted whose intrinsic value could match its face value was Jesus. He paid our debt once and for all 2,000 years ago. Of course for that one act all of humanity will be forever in his debt.

The pundits are still having fun with that platinum coin idea. The latest spin on it is the question of whose face should be on it. Think they would buy the idea of putting Jesus’ profile on the coin? We already have coins saying “in God we trust.”  Why don’t we finally put our money where our mouth is?

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