November 6, 2019
God Faithfully Redeems
November 6, 2019
Ruth and Naomi were at a disadvantage in a culture where men determined the financial arrangements and the social customs, but they were clever women. They knew Boaz should be their “redeemer,” and they figured out a way to bring their need to his attention and improve his life as well as theirs. Boaz, a distant relative, had a legal responsibility to these women who were left without income. A redeemer in this sense was a rescuer, a protector, an advocate, and a means of support. This legal term “redeemer” carried financial obligations and was avoided by some of the other kinfolks. Today the financial origins of this word linger; for example, we hear it used in the trivial sense of “redeeming coupons.”
In church we associate the word redeemer with Jesus; we sing Charles Wesley’s stirring hymn: “O for a thousand tongues to sing, my great Redeemer’s praise.” Reflecting on the meaning of redeemer in the Hebrew Bible helps us to see more clearly what Jesus has done for us. In Job’s deepest pain and sorrow, he was able to say, “I know that my Redeemer lives and that at the last he will stand upon the earth” (Job 19:25). Psalm 19:14 addresses God as “O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Isaiah repeatedly refers to God as “my Savior, my Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.”
In John 13, Jesus’ act of redemption is near as he talks at the table with his disciples. Jesus prepares them for what is to come when he will lay down his life for them and for us. Our response to Christ’s redeeming love—his love that pays the price for us—is given in verse 34, the new commandment: “Love one another as I have loved you.”
QUESTIONS FOR THE FIELD
- Romans 8:22-23 says that we, along with the whole of creation, need God’s redemption. What do we have in common with creation? If we share the same weaknesses and despair, how can we together hope for God’s saving grace?
- We talk a lot about becoming disciples and about letting others know we are Jesus’ disciples. How well do we live up to Jesus’ teaching on how to reveal our discipleship to others (John 13:35)?
FAMILY FIELD TALK
- What does the word “stewardship” mean? How can we be “stewards of the earth”? How do we practice stewardship for the needs of people?
- Name some people you know who are very loving to other people. How can we practice showing our love for others?
God, our Redeemer and Friend, you have loved the world from the beginning, without counting the cost. Teach us to reflect your love in the way we live, the way we give, the way we care. We know that we sometimes fail to see the way you see, and we ask that we may learn to find what is good even in the unlovely. For the love of Jesus. Amen.