The Kinsman-Redeemer

The Old Testament and the New Covenant   Part 18

“So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife, and he went in to her.  And the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son.  Then the women said to Naomi, ‘Blessed is the Lord who has not left you without a redeemer today, and may his name become famous in Israel’ “ (Ruth 4:13-14).

“But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4-5).

The story of Ruth begins with Elimelech and his wife Naomi and two sons moving from Bethlehem to the land of Moab.  Then Elimelech dies.  His two sons marry Moabite women, Orpah and Ruth.  Then the sons each die.  So Naomi plans to return to Bethlehem but asks her daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth, to stay with their Moabite people.  Orpah finally agrees to stay, but Ruth declares her loyalty to Naomi, and goes to Bethlehem with her.

Naomi and Ruth arrive in Bethlehem with no resources; no money, no husbands, no land.  Naomi announces to her Bethlehem friends, “Do not call me Naomi [Pleasant]; call me Mara [Bitter], for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me” (Ruth 1:20).  It is a dark place for the two women.

But God provides a redeemer for Naomi and Ruth.  As Ruth is gleaning, gathering the leftovers from the harvest, she finds herself in the field of Boaz, a relative of Naomi, so also now a relative of Ruth.  Boaz learns who Ruth is and after some back and forth, chooses to redeem Ruth.  Boaz takes on the role of kinsman-redeemer, a legal transaction in which someone enters into an obligation to redeem a relative facing extreme hardship.  And Boaz does this for Ruth.

Jesus is our kinsman-redeemer.  Jesus was born a Jew (“born under the Law”) to redeem the Jews.  Jesus came to His own, His kinsmen, and they received Him not.  And His redemption has now been offered to the whole world.  We, like Naomi and Ruth, had no resources to save ourselves.  We have thrown ourselves totally upon the mercy of our redeemer Jesus Christ.  And based on our faith in Him, Jesus has come to our rescue.  Jesus is our kinsman-redeemer!

Jesus was present in the fields of Boaz, because Jesus was there from the beginning!