Today, we are going to get into a topic that is not frequently discussed nor is it something, that because it’s not so commonly used, that it is not understood all that well. When I say the word “Redemption”… what does that word really mean? Redemption is not a very common word that is used in our current day and age. I can only think of one thing that some of you might be able to recall that relates to this topic. Who here has seen the movie “The Shaw Shank Redemption”? The one with Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins? The movie from way back in 1994? What kind of “redemption” was portrayed in that movie?
An internet summary of this movie is “Two imprisoned men bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency.”
Let’s take a look at what the dictionary description of this word is and follow its logical progression. The Webster’s online dictionary says redemption is the act of redeeming as a redeemer – Redeemer means someone who redeems – and to Redeem means to buy back or repurchase, get back, or win back – to free from captivity by payment of ransom; where then ransom means a consideration paid or demanded for the release of someone or something from captivity. So very quickly we see that we have two related words that have a common link which suggests of providing a way out of captivity. Hmmm… this isn’t exactly solace is it? Doesn’t this definition seem a bit more serious and maybe even having a touch of legality to it? So we have our first fill in the blank:
To redeem means to free from captivity by payment of a ransom .
What kind of things do you think would need to be redeemed? Well how about we start with something simple. Say you go to the recently upgraded shopping mall and you park your car with valet parking. You have to redeem your keys back with either cash or a ticket that you paid for when you dropped off your car. How about, you can redeem this coupon at the store before some date. I submit that we don’t use the word redeem itself in our daily lives all that much, but we do use a simple application of redeeming rather frequently.
So what does redemption mean to you? Has anyone here experienced redemption in an everyday kind of way?
So let’s now turn to the Bible to see how some of the ways it describes redemption and its related terms redeemer, redeem and ransom.
Read Leviticus 25:23-34
In the Mosaic Law, God provided a right of redemption to the Israelites which essentially, allowed the seller to cancel the purchase contract by refunding the cost of the sale. Although this scripture has more to do with land and housing, yet in a very general sense, we do something similar today. We call it a return at the point of sale, or the voiding or canceling of a contract. The result being that the original owner gets back what was his prior to the purchase agreement.
In the Psalms we read the Lord not only is full of redemption1, but He redeems His servants2, and redeems your life3. And through His redemption, there is refuge in Him1. Additionally we see that redemption is costly, so much so that the no payment can be made4.
1 Ps 130:7
2 Ps 34:22
3 Ps 103:4
We now have our second fill in the blank:
God is only one who can redeem us from our sins .
In the book of Ruth we find a significant usage of this concept of redeeming and it is described as the “kinsman redeemer”. Here we read that Ruth was redeemed back into her patriarchal family by her near relative Boaz. The result of Boaz (the kinsman) taking Ruth (redeemed) as his wife is the birth of Obed who was the grandfather of King David. Ultimately, Jesus is born from that blood line.
Let’s now read from the New Testament Luke 1:67-79
In this part of scripture we see that Zechariah, who was the High Priest at that time over Israel, fully understood the redeeming qualities that were to be fulfilled with the coming Messiah to whom his son was to prepare the way for. Look closely a verse 77. Here we find precisely the purpose of the Messiah’s (Jesus’s) mission.
When we look at Jesus’ we find that he paid the price for our sins and its consequences5 and his death was a redemptive, substitutionary exchange for our life. In fact, Scripture is quite clear that redemption is only possible “through His blood,”6 that is, by His death.7
6 Col 1:14
Question: What would you say is the most important part of Biblical redemption? How is that application different from our culture today?
Psalm 130:7 NIV
O Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption.
Mark 10:45 NIV
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Q1: How does Christ’s redemption affect my prayer/devotional time?
Q2: How does God’s redemption affect my relationship with my spouse/family/co-worker?
Q3: What’s one thing I can do practice redemption this week?