What does redeem (redemption) mean? It’s the act of paying off a debt or the act of someone else doing it for you. It’s the action of regaining or gaining possession of something in exchange for payment, or clearing a debt. It can also be the act of being saved from faults, sin, error, or evil. The language of redemption is all over the Book of Ruth. Words built on the root “redeem” appear 23 different times in 4 chapters. The Book of Ruth points us to Jesus, the Ultimate Redeemer, 1,000 years before He was born.
Ruth is the story of a young Moabite woman who comes to the love of God and the joy of belonging to His people through her Jewish mother-in-law, Naomi. As these two women navigate the battles of life, there is unmistakable evidence of God at work. God is at work to redeem Ruth and His people to Himself with the help from a man named Boaz.
Boaz’s redemption of Ruth in Ruth 4:7-10 points us to Jesus. According to the Law of Moses (Leviticus 25), a relative was to act as a “Kinsman-Redeemer” for any family member who was widowed or living in poverty. The redeemer would get her out of poverty, provide for her, buy back any property so that it could be kept in the family, and even marry her. If the person was sold into slavery, the redeemer would buy back their freedom. Boaz does it all for Ruth. She is redeemed from a future that is bleak into one that is bright.
What does this have to do with us? We also need a Kinsman-Redeemer who will do whatever is takes to help us. This story of Ruth and Boaz is a picture of how Jesus redeems us. Jesus is the ultimate “Kinsman-Redeemer” who voluntarily paid the price for our debt and takes us as his bride Ephesians 5:23-32; Revelations 19:7. We were meant to face God’s punishment for our sin. We all fall short and can’t pay our debt. By trusting in Christ, that punishment is taken on by him. He paid our debt on the cross. Ephesians 1:7 says, “In Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”
We are adopted into the family like Ruth was with all its rights, privileges and protections.
Not only does the Book of Ruth point to Jesus, but Jesus is a descendent of Ruth and Boaz as well.