O Come, Let Us Adore Him – Advent Day 8 – The Redeemer Coming
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace. (Ephesians 1:7, ESV)
I remember the good old days when no stores were open on Thanksgiving, and Black Friday was an event. I enjoyed waking up insanely early and heading out to wait in lines for stores to open. We swapped stories with other shoppers and froze as we stood in the Cleveland, OH, cold. With my wife, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, and father-in-law we would pick up donuts, stop at Starbucks, and head back to the house to talk about the deals we had snagged. The memories and family time together made it worth the loss of sleep. I also remember naysayers declaring we were morons (imagine thinking we cared about their opinions). One year, my brother-in-law sat out all night in the cold at Target to get a huge deal on a TV ($400 off!). He was second in line and was given a voucher for the TV. To get it, he had to hand in the voucher once the store opened. No voucher, no TV, so that little piece of paper had some serious value to it! Once the doors opened, he could walk to the TV section, redeem his voucher, and get the deal. Didn’t have a voucher to redeem? No deal. He needed that exact piece of paper; nothing else would do.
For us today, redeeming something most often refers to turning in a coupon or voucher as a form of partial (or complete) payment for something. In the Bible, though the concept is similar, the term “redeem/redeemer” has much more significance. A redeemer steps into the place of another to make a payment they can’t pay. That $400 coupon my brother-in-law had took the place of $400 that he couldn’t pay. And just as a voucher couldn’t be just any scrap of paper, it wasn’t just anyone who could perform the role of a redeemer. A redeemer needed to meet the qualifications, and so would our Redeemer (Messiah) need to meet the qualifications for our eternal redemption. Let’s go through a few of them.
In Old Testament times, if a husband died without having a son, the husband’s closest relative was supposed to marry the man’s widow to provide for her and raise up a son for his deceased relative. The role of redeemer couldn’t be performed by just anyone—he had to be a relative. How would the Messiah fulfill that qualification? He would become like us. He would be the eternal Word made flesh (John 1:14). This was important because He would need to shed His blood for our sins (Ephesians 1:7) and die (Romans 6:23) to make the payment for sin. If He were not a man, He couldn’t die.
He must also have the willingness and ability to fill the role, which was mentioned yesterday. If a person was financially unable to redeem his relative’s widow, he was unable to fill the role. But even if he was able, a person would sometimes lack the willingness to do so. Just read the story of Ruth in the Bible and you’ll find a relative of her husband, Mahlon, unwilling to marry and redeem her. In contrast, another relative, Boaz, was both willing and able. How about the Messiah? To redeem and stand in our place, He had to be able to make the required payment—the shedding of His blood. The only way His blood could satisfy God for our sin is if He were perfect and sinless—which He was! The New Testament states this clearly (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5—three different writers, mind you). Thankfully, He was willing to make the payment to redeem us and to forgive us. Where would we be without Him as our Redeemer?
Finally, a redeemer would defend and vindicate his people. This was something the Lord had already done throughout the Old Testament. From the Exodus from Egypt to Israel’s many encounters with the nations, the Lord delivered and defended them time and time again. So when the Messiah came, it was expected that He would defend and vindicate His people. The two on the Emmaus road in Luke 24:21 thought this: “But we had hoped that He was the One to redeem Israel.” It’s a role He will yet play in the future. He will defend and vindicate His people; you can be sure about that. Just read the last few chapters of the book of Revelation.
As His people, we are thankful He is our Redeemer. We recall “There Is a Redeemer” written by the late Keith Green: “There is a Redeemer/Jesus, God’s own Son/Precious Lamb of God, Messiah/Holy One/Thank You, oh my Father/For giving us Your Son.” What a tremendous truth—without Him, we would have no hope, unredeemed and lost forever.