I’m thrilled to have Katie Chew back for this week’s edition of Word Nerd Wednesday as she shares what it means for us to call Jesus our Redeemer.
“For your Maker is your husband—the LORD Almighty is his name—the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, he is called the God of all the earth.”Isaiah 54:5
Biblical Definition of Redeemer
Gaal or Goel
To redeem or act as Kinsman (Strong’s).
Also translated: avenger, bought back, claim, redeemer, rescue
In Isaiah and all throughout the Old Testament, prophets and psalmists alike referred to God as our Redeemer. A word rarely used in our culture, I fear it has lost some of its significance in who we are as children of God and what that means for our worth, value, identity and purpose. So take a little journey with me to understand the Kinsman Redeemer of the Old Testament to see how God fulfills that role through Jesus and his death and resurrection.
Based on the Torah, there were three roles in Ancient Israel that a Kinsman Redeemer was to play. It should be noted that a Kinsman Redeemer was to be the nearest living relative of the afflicted and charged with the duty of righting and avenging wrongs. With this in mind, when God calls himself our Redeemer, he is calling himself our next of kin. Our relative. Our family. That alone, I believe is a beautiful truth worth noting.
Back to the three roles of the Kinsman Redeemer.
1. To buy back alienated property.
In the story of Ruth and Boaz, this scenario comes to life. Boaz redeemed and bought back the property of Naomi and Ruth the Moabitess, acquiring Ruth as his wife to keep the name of her deceased husband with his property (Ruth 4).
2. To buy back a member of his family that sold himself into slavery.
Leviticus 25:47-49 states
“Suppose a foreigner or temporary resident becomes rich while living among you. If any of your fellow Israelites fall into poverty and are forced to sell themselves to such a foreigner or to a member of his family, they still retain the right to be bought back, even after they have been purchased. They may be bought back by a brother, an uncle, or a cousin. In fact, anyone from the extended family may buy them back.”
Here we see a child of Israel selling himself to another not of his land or people. His next of kin has the right to buy him back and remove him from the slavery into which he sold himself.
3. To exact life for life when a man is stricken to death.
“But if someone strikes and kills another person with a piece of iron, it is murder and the murderer must be executed… 19 The victim’s nearest relative is responsible for putting the murderer to death. When they meet, the avenger must put the murderer to death.” (Numbers 35:16,19).
In this we see God channeling justice to only the next of kin. In order to stop family feuds in the tracks, there is an outlet for the offense and a just solution (Maclaren).
Enter our Kinsman Redeemer
We too, like the people of Israel have lost our land. When sin entered the world with the first Adam, we were removed from community with God and kicked out of the Garden of Eden. We lost the privilege of his presence and became aliens in a fallen world.
We too, have sold ourselves into all forms of slavery as we indulge in our sinful desires, lusts and longings of our flesh. Our eyes, our appetites, and our minds enslave us, twisting us into a bondage we never saw coming. We gladly offer our hands to chains in exchange for temporary pleasure and the passing euphoria of the moment.
We too, face the wages of death. By ourselves disinherited, we are slaves to our sin, marching wholeheartedly down a road that leads to death. Romans 5:12 states, “When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.” Adam brought death and now all face it. We must be redeemed, a life for a life.
The glory of it all is that Jesus meets every role. He offers a new heaven and a new earth where he will once again make his home with his people (Revelation 21). He offers us the promise of freedom when we believe in Jesus the Messiah, releasing us from our prison of sin (Galatians 3:22). And most importantly and the most precious part of all, God offered us his Son to avenge the death we deserve. The Second Adam died to avenge the death brought by the first Adam. “He did not spare even his own Son, but gave him up for us all (Romans 8:32).”
Jesus, Our Redeemer
Friends, do you see him at work? Do you see the hand of our kinsman redeemer touching every part of our story and buying us back? Though perhaps an outdated word, it is a practice that remains shockingly relevant and true by the hand of our Father to this day.
He has redeemed us.
He has bought us from slavery so we might also bring redemption and freedom to those we know.
He has given us new life so that we might spread the story of his mighty redemptive power with all we come into contact.
Friends, “he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:13-14), and now that we have tasted the light, we must allow ourselves to be used daily by God so that he might rescue more. We must dive back into the darkness of this world bearing the light of God so others might see and taste his redemption in their own lives. Live as children of the light today and watch as God moves.
Strong’s Concordance: Redeemer (biblehub.com)
Expositions of Holy Scripture. Alexander Maclaren. Bible hub.com: The Kinsman Redeemer.
The Holy Bible, NIV and NLT
Katie is a wife and stay-at-home mom of three preschoolers. Most of her time is spent outside or in imaginary worlds. In rare moments of free time, she loves to read, paint and write.