It’s preposterous. It’s quite outrageous that Paul would ask such a thing. Asking Philemon to take back his runaway slave and, not only forgive him, but accept him as a brother. And that Paul would pay for whatever the slave Onesimus owed? The very notion is absurd.
“So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me.” Philemon 17-18
It’s extravagant. The Lord continues to love and have mercy on a nation that turns its back on Him again and again.
The Lord declares: “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. But the more I called Israel, the further they went from me.” Hosea 11:1-2a
“I will not carry out my fierce anger, nor will I turn and devastate Ephraim. For I am God, and not man – the Holy One among you. I will not come in wrath.” Hosea 11:9 (emphasis added)
Jesus’ love for me is just as extravagant. He continues to love me no matter how many times I pull away, no matter how many times I am willfully disobedient. He provides far beyond what I deserve.
In many ways what Jesus does is preposterous as well. He intercedes with the Father on my behalf, pleading my case and presenting me as his beloved sister. Jesus stands up for me, the way Paul stood up for Onesimus. Jesus pays what I owe.
Why does He do such things? Because He is the Holy One among us.