The Wonder of His NameRedeemer
Leslie Basham: Nancy Leigh DeMoss gives you good news.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: There is a Redeemer, one who paid the price to win back all the losses occasioned by your sin.
Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Wednesday, April 16, 2014.
Be prepared to be struck by the wonder that you have a Redeemer. Nancy’s continuing in the series “The Wonder of His Name: 32 Life-Changing Names of Jesus.”
This message was recorded at Calvary Church in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, part of the Revive Tour.
Nancy: As followers of the Lord Jesus, we call this week “Holy Week.” It’s the week that we remember the Passion of the Lord Jesus, beginning with His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and then continuing with His Last Supper, His travail in Gethsemane, His arrest, His trial, His crucifixion, His burial—all of those events leading up to Resurrection Day.
Now this is also the week that our Jewish friends celebrate Passover. This year, Passover began on Monday evening at sunset, and it continues until next Tuesday evening.
There’s one word that captures what both the Christian and the Jewish observances of this week are about. It’s a word that we want to look at today—the word redemption . . . redemption. In fact, the whole Bible is a drama of redemption from the first chapter of Genesis to the last chapter of Revelation. That redemptive story is prefigured, it’s shadowed in the Old Testament, and then in the New Testament, that story is fulfilled in the redeeming work of Christ, our Redeemer.
We want to look today at Christ as our Redeemer. He’s never actually called “Redeemer,” but He is clearly the One who redeems, and we want to celebrate Christ as our Redeemer today.
Now, the word “redemption” speaks of deliverance. It speaks of rescue and release and recovery. It’s not a word we often use in our everyday language, so we want to look through the Scripture for some hints at what this is all about.
The word “redemption” is a word of hope in the midst of seemingly hopeless circumstances. Anybody here facing maybe something like that? You need some redemption?
When your situation seems dark, and there appears to be no light at the end of the tunnel, the promise of redemption is that there is a different, brighter future ahead. And when you’ve blown it and you think you could never dig yourself out of the hole that you’ve dug and that there’s no way that God could ever use you again, redemption promises that your failure and the losses that have been caused by your sin can be overruled and that you can be redeemed and restored to usefulness.
Now, as we look at the Scripture, there are three important components of redemption, and we want to unpack those a little bit.
First of all, in order to have redemption, there has to first be a need, a desperate predicament. We have to be redeemed from or out of something. Psalm 25 says, “Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles”—redeemed out of troubles, a desperate situation. That situation all throughout Scripture is sometimes bondage or slavery or captivity. God redeemed His people out of captivity.
It could be being redeemed out of misfortune or trouble. That trouble might be the loss of property or poverty or imprisonment for debt. God made provision for these people to be redeemed, and that redemption brings about deliverance and release and restoration.
A person who has no need, has no need for redemption; and a person who has no need, has no need for a Redeemer. You have to have a need. You have to be desperate. You have to be in a predicament from which you cannot extricate yourself in order to experience redemption.
So first there’s a need. And then secondly, there’s a Redeemer. The assumption there is that we cannot redeem ourselves. We are helpless; we’re caught; we’re stuck; we’re trapped. We can’t get out ourselves. We can’t claw our way out. We can’t work our way out. We can’t reason our way out. We’re stuck. We have to have somebody reach out and help us. We need a Redeemer. We can only be redeemed by the action of a Redeemer. In just a few moments, we’re going to look at some of the qualifications of a Redeemer.
So, first there’s a need. Second, there’s a Redeemer. And then third, there’s a price to be paid. To redeem someone or something means to buy it back by paying a price. For example, to free someone from bondage or poverty or imprisonment, you pay a price. It may be called a ransom. It’s a word that’s related to redemption. You pay a ransom price to get this person out of bondage.
Now, the concept of redemption in Scripture is first introduced in the Old Testament in what we know as the Exodus—the Exodus, the release of the children of Israel out of Egyptian captivity. This is called the Exodus, and the Exodus is the “backstory,” if you will, that sets the stage for the New Testament concept of redemption.
The Exodus in the Old Testament points to the larger story of God’s redeeming power and grace. It foreshadows the gospel. The Exodus in the Old Testament is a type of the ultimate redemption yet to come that is fulfilled in Christ the Redeemer. So the Exodus is an important story. Let me read just a piece of that story. In Exodus chapter 6, verse 6, God says to Moses:
Say therefore to the people of Israel, "I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, [You see the need there? Bringing them out] and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment."
So you see in that verse all three components of redemption. You see the need, the desperate predicament. The children of Israel were slaves. They were in bondage to Pharaoh, and they had been for 400 years . . . generation after generation after generation. “My father was a slave. My children will be slaves. Their children will be slaves.” There was no hope of this ever changing.
And so the children of Israel were delivered “out of Egypt.” That’s a frequent phrase in the Old Testament—“out of Egypt.” The Scripture keeps going back to it because it foreshadows the New Testament concept of salvation and our deliverance out of slavery to sin, God’s redeeming work.
So the children of Israel had a need: They were slaves. And by the way, redemption means to be rescued or delivered “out of” something—a desperate situation or circumstance—and “into” a new place—a place of freedom, a place of blessing.
And the whole point is that you don’t go back to slavery. Why would you ever want to? And yet, don’t we find ourselves sometimes wanting to go back to the very same habits and sins and bondages from which Jesus has redeemed us? Well, think about it: Why would you want to go back to Egypt? It’s crazy! We’ve been redeemed out of something and into a new place of freedom and blessing.
So we see in the story of the Exodus, that there’s a need, and then we see in Exodus 6 that we just read, there’s a Redeemer. "I am the Lord . . . I will bring you out . . . I will deliver you . . . I will redeem you.”
There’s the action of a Redeemer. These children of Israel could not redeem themselves. And their frequent reminders throughout the Scriptures, many of them in the book of Isaiah, which is kind of the Old Testament gospel in one book, that God is the Redeemer of His people.
Isaiah 41, for example, says:
Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel! I am the one who helps you, declares the Lord; your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel (v. 14).
Israel rightfully belonged to God. God called Israel, the people of Israel, “My Son” but the children of Israel had been sold into slavery under Pharaoh. God provided a way for them to be “redeemed” for them to be “bought back” so they could be His children once again. He did that by being their Redeemer.
So there’s a need; there’s a Redeemer, and then there’s a price, there’s a ransom to be paid. God says, “I will redeem you with . . . great acts of judgment.”
Back in the Exodus in the Old Testament, blood had to be shed. That’s what the Jews celebrate at Passover. The Israelites who believed God had to sacrifice a lamb; the blood had to be shed, and then that shed blood, that slain lamb was accepted as a substitute. God passed over. He redeemed His children. The Egyptians who didn’t believe, who didn’t offer those sacrificial lambs, their firstborn sons were slain—acts of judgment. There was a price to be paid for redemption.
So the Exodus—and you can go and unpack this a lot more. There’s a great story for redemption. It lays the foundation for the redemptive story of the gospel.
There’s another story in the Old Testament. It’s found in the book of Ruth. It gives us some other beautiful insight into our redemption from sin and into Christ who is our Redeemer.
You remember the story and how Naomi experienced one devastating loss after another:
- She’s displaced from her homeland.
- She becomes a foreigner in Moab.
- Then she’s widowed.
- Then she’s bereaved of two sons.
Then we find Naomi, along with her widowed daughter-in-law, Ruth, who is left without a provider, without a future, without a hope. Talk about a desperate plight, a desperate circumstance. Her situation is utterly bleak. It seems hopeless.
And in the course of these events, Naomi comes to see God as being against her. She seems Him as her adversary, the one who has made her life bitter. She says, “The Lord’s hand has gone out against me. The Lord has afflicted me” (Ruth 1:13).
Do you ever feel that way? Have you ever felt that way? Now you might have your theology straight enough that you’d never say that out loud, but do you sometimes feel that way?
Well, what Naomi doesn’t realize, when she’s under the pressure of those circumstances, is that the very God she thinks is against her is actually in the process of redeeming her and Ruth’s situation. He is using her circumstances. Through those circumstances He’s going to work to bring rescue and restoration and release. Remember that when you feel that your circumstances are hopeless.
Naomi and Ruth’s poverty, their need, their hopeless situation, made them a perfect candidate for redemption. Because, remember, you have to have a need, a desperate circumstance from which you can’t extricate yourself in order to have a Redeemer.
And their redemption takes place through the actions of a “Kinsman-Redeemer.” It’s an Old Testament phrase, the Hebrew word goel. A goel was a kinsman, a relative who would redeem another relative from trouble and loss.
You read in Leviticus 25, for example, the law of redemption, that a person in serious difficulty or danger or who had fallen into some sort of dire straits, that person’s “nearest kinsman,” their goel was to act as a redeemer to rescue their relative from trouble.
Now this was applied in a number of different ways. There were two things in Jewish culture that were vital to protect. First was the family name, and second was the family land and possessions. According to the Law of Moses, the next of kin had both a right and a responsibility with regard to a relative whose family name or lands were in jeopardy of being lost. And here’s how that worked.
When it had to do with the family lands, if a man had to sell his family property because of poverty, the next of kin, his goel, his kinsman-redeemer—that would be the closest living male relative—had the right to redeem that property, to buy it back and restore the land to the impoverished relative.
Leviticus 25 says, “If your brother becomes poor and sells part of his property, then his nearest redeemer [his goel, his kinsman-redeemer] shall come and redeem what his brother has sold” (v. 25).
Now, when it came to the family name, a man had the duty when his brother died without children to take on the widow as his wife. This is obviously an odd sort of thing in our culture, but it was called the law of leveret marriage, the law of the kinsman-redeemer. He would take the widow as his wife, and he would raise up seed or children for his brother, and those children would bear his brother’s name and inherit his brother’s lands. This was all part of God’s great redemptive story leading up to the line of Christ.
So in order to be a goel, a kinsman-redeemer, there were three qualifications, and all of these qualifications we see fulfilled in Jesus.
First of all, that relative had to have the right to redeem. He had to be a near kinsman. He had to be related. No one else—some neighbor, some friend, some colleague at work—no one else had the right to insist that the purchaser sell the land back.
Boaz was Naomi and Ruth’s near kinsman. He had the right to redeem Naomi and Ruth from poverty. And we know in the New Testament that Jesus is our Goel. He is our near Kinsman.
Now, how could the Son of God be related to us? He is holy, and we are sinful. He is Spirit, and we are flesh. How could He become our Kinsman? Well, the Scripture says, “The word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).
Hebrews 2 says, “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood [that’s us], He Himself likewise shared in the same” (v. 14). It’s what we call the incarnation. He came down to this earth. He put on human flesh so He could become our Kinsman. But the incarnation alone did not make Jesus near enough to redeem us from all the troubles and losses caused by our sin. Why? Because He was holy, and we are sinful.
At the manger, Philippians 2 tells us, Jesus was “made in the likeness of men” (v. 7), but Romans 8 tells us that at the cross He was “made in the likeness of sinful flesh” (v. 3). At the cross, Jesus became the sinner’s nearest Kinsman, as He became sin for us, and thereby He acquired the right to redeem us. He became our Goel, our nearest Kinsman. He had the right to redeem.
Secondly, a goel had to have the power or the ability to redeem. That is the financial means to do so. If you were poverty stricken yourself, you couldn’t afford to redeem your relative from loss. Redemption was costly. It required the payment of a ransom, a price. It required personal sacrifice.
Well, Boaz was a wealthy man. He had the ability to redeem Ruth and Naomi from their poverty. And 1 Peter 1 tells us that,
You were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ (vv. 18–19).
Hebrews 9 tells us that
[Jesus] entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of His own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption (v. 12).
He not only had the right to redeem us; He had the power, the resources to redeem us, and He paid that price of His very life blood as the ransom for sinners.
And then number three, the goel had to have the willingness to redeem—the willingness to redeem. And in the story of Ruth, Boaz was under no obligation to intervene on Ruth’s behalf. In fact, chapter 4 of Ruth tells us that there was actually a nearer kinsman, a closer relative, who wanted the land, but when he found out that Ruth came with it, he said, “No thanks.” He wanted the land, but he didn’t want Ruth.
Well, aren’t you glad that Jesus wanted us? He had not only the right to redeem, the power, the resources to redeem, but He had the willingness to redeem.
And so, when you come to the end of the story of Ruth, you see the restoration of the family lands to Naomi, who had lost everything. You see this child born to Ruth who will continue the family name and the family line of Naomi’s husband. And so the women say to Naomi in Ruth 4: “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may His name be renowned in Israel” (v. 14).
Oh, isn’t that the song redeemed sinners can sing? “Blessed be the Lord who has not left us this day without a Redeemer and may His name be renowned in the hearts of His people.” There is a Redeemer, one who paid the price to win back all the losses occasioned by your sin. He is your nearest Kinsman.
And that’s the basic storyline of the whole Bible.
- God created us; we belong to Him.
- But as a result of sin and rebellion against God, the entire human race was sold into captivity to Satan.
- As a result, we are all under the curse of the law, and we face the threat of divine judgment and death.
- But because of His immense love and mercy, God provided a means by which we could be redeemed, and He did so at great personal cost.
- He sent His Son to give His life, to shed His blood, to die as our substitute, to be our Goel, our Kinsman-Redeemer.
And so when John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus Messiah, was born, his father said at the birth of that son, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed his people” (Luke 1:68).
And when Anna, that elderly widow, saw the baby Jesus being brought into the temple to be dedicated by Joseph and Mary, it says:
And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him [of that child] to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem (Luke 2:38).
God’s promised redemption, the one that prophets had foretold for hundreds of years. That promised redemption was fulfilled in Jesus Christ
Who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness [redeeming us out of our desperate plight, out of our captivity] and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works (Titus 2:14).
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree" (v. 13).
And then 1 Corinthians 1:
And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption (v.30). [the Redeemer] In him we have redemption through His blood [that’s the ransom price], the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace (Eph. 1:7).
The redemption that we get through Jesus Christ provides deliverance from the penalty and the power of sin, and one day from very presence of sin, and from every last vestige and effect and consequence of sin in this world.
Redemption, ultimately, from death and from the power of Satan and redemption from the wrath of a holy God and the coming judgment. Through Christ our redeemer, 1 Peter 1 tells us, we have been redeemed from "empty religion" (v. 18).
Then Romans 8 gives us that incredible promise that one day the whole creation will be redeemed. We will experience the "final [ultimate] redemption of our bodies" (v. 23)—new bodies, a new heaven, and a new earth. We have a great redeeming God who sent His Son to be our Redeemer.
It’s no wonder the psalmist said, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He has redeemed from trouble” (Ps. 107:2).
And as you celebrate and rejoice this holy week and every week in Christ our Redeemer, you know what? You can become an instrument of redemption in the lives of others who are still in captivity.
As that nineteenth century hymn writer said it,
I will sing of my Redeemer, and His wondrous love to me;
On the cruel cross He suffered, from the curse to set me free.
I will tell the wondrous story, how my lost estate to save;
In His boundless love and mercy, He the ransom freely gave.
Sing, oh sing, of my Redeemer, with His blood, He purchased me.
On the cross, He sealed my pardon, paid the debt, and made me free.
("I Will Sing of My Redeemer," Philip Bliss)
We worship You, Lord Jesus, our blessed Redeemer. We sing. We rejoice. We say so, and we give You thanks out of having redeemed us out of destruction. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Leslie: There’s a reason this teaching series is called “The Wonder of His Name.” Today’s program on Jesus as our Redeemer is a great example. It’s so easy to get ho-hum about words like “redeemer.” But it’s amazing—mind blowing—that we can be redeemed. Today’s program has helped us recapture the wonder of who Jesus is.
Don’t loose that sense of wonder. We want to help you get these themes deep in your life, to meditate on them and remember them.
So I hope you’ll follow up the teaching during this series by getting a copy of a book called The Wonder of His Name. Our host and the main teacher on Revive Our Hearts, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, wrote one devotional for each name in this series—thirty-two in all.
Reading this book at your own pace will help you recapture the wonder of who Jesus is and what He’s done for you.
When you support the ministry of Revive Our Hearts, we’ll send you the book The Wonder of His Name. It’s our way of saying thanks when you make a donation of any size. We’re able to make this offer during this current series, so contact us by Friday, April 18. Visit