Jesus in Ruth
If you love love, like I do, then Ruth is a book for you. It’s only four chapters and narrates a cute little tale of the eponymous character’s faithfulness to her mother-in-law, Naomi, leading to her marriage and the birth of a child who was King David’s grandfather and therefore ancestor of Jesus Christ.
Can I be honest with you? I struggled to find Jesus in this book. My friend, Uzoma, said of it, “no Christ but Christ’s qualities on full display,” and I honestly couldn’t relate.
What everyone keeps saying is that Jesus is our kinsman-redeemer, like Boaz was Ruth’s kinsmanredeemer. That’s nice and all, but what does it mean?
As usual, I did some digging so you don’t have to.
In short, under the Mosaic law, a poor man could sell his family or himself if he needed money. However, because God gave portions of land to each tribe, the land had to revert to ownership of the original family. A kinsman-redeemer relative had the responsibility of buying back the land to keep it within their family.
Part of his redeeming responsibilities was to marry his relative’s widow if she didn’t have any sons, who would normally (a) inherit the dead man’s land, and (b) take care of her. The first son the widow had by the kinsman-redeemer would be counted as a son of her former husband to fulfil point (a). That, in a nutshell, is why Boaz married Ruth.
I’ll break the word ‘kinsman-redeemer’ up into two parts to relate them to Jesus. Let’s first consider how He is our ‘redeemer.’
To redeem is to ‘set free by avenging or repaying.’ It doesn’t take much thought to see the connection between this and Jesus’ death on the cross. The New Testament teaches that whilst apart from Christ we were slaves to sin, by believing in Him we are set free. That freedom came at a cost – Jesus’ life in place of ours, to pay the debt we owe God for our sins. “He was pierced for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The punishment that brought us peace was upon him, And by his wounds we are healed We all, like sheep, have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way, And the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:5-6
Jesus is also our kinsman. A kinsman is a relative i.e., someone related to us. Someone we can relate to. Someone relatable. Interestingly, the kinsman-redeemer wasn’t just any relative, but the one most closely related to the family.
Jesus isn’t just our knight in shining armour. He isn’t just God. He’s also a man. Like most of us, (I assume) He spent nine months in his mother’s womb. He was a baby at some point, and then a child, and then a teenager and a young man. He experienced the emotions and temptations that come with each of those stages in life. Jesus had to work. He did manual labour as a craftsman. He had brothers and sisters– need I say more?
He went through this, all so that we would not complain, like Job did, that God doesn’t know what it’s like to be human. In Jesus we have a friend who understands. One of my favourite verses sums it up perfectly:
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet He did not sin.” Hebrews 4:15
Jesus is near. In times of trouble He should be our first point of call, like Boaz was for Ruth, because He is closer to us than no other. And if you – like the sheep Isaiah speaks of – have gone astray, know that you can return to your Father’s house boldly, because Jesus has paid the price to redeem you. In Him, you are holy, cleansed and radiant, without stain or wrinkle or blemish.
“Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” Ephesians 5:25-27
(I chose not to use Ruth and Boaz to speak on the marriage of Christ and the Church, because I’m saving that for the Song of Solomon write up! Keep an eye out for.)
Jesus is near. In times of trouble He should be our first point of call, like Boaz was for Ruth, because He is closer to us than no other. And if you – like the sheep Isaiah speaks of – have gone astray, know that you can return to your Father’s house boldly, because Jesus has paid the price to redeem you
COLOURS OF LIFE SHOW
Our lifestyle show of inspiring stories that would encourage your faith is on you tube as Colours of Life TV. It also shows on DOVE, DSTV channel 349, Saturdays at 3pm. For daily devotionals follow us on IG @ coloursoflifeministry. We may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org