Since becoming a Christian as a young adult, I’ve heard Jesus called our Redeemer. And He is. But I was surprised when I began researching this name of Jesus that it is an Old Testament name for Jesus. While the New Testament speaks of the redemption that comes through Jesus Christ…
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:23-24 NIV
… I could not find the actual name Redeemer used anywhere in the New Testament as a name of Jesus. Yet it obviously is an important aspect of Jesus’ purpose in coming to earth.
So what is a Redeemer? The Hebrew word translated Redeemer in the Old Testament (ga-al) conveys several ideas, depending on where it is used. In Ruth, it is used of Boaz, who is qualified to be Ruth’s kinsman-redeemer. It is used of redemption from slavery (such as of God setting Israel free from Egyptian bondage), of redeeming land by payment, and in a variety of other ways. But whenever it is used the key understanding is that a payment has been made and something or someone is has been bought back.
As our Redeemer, Jesus redeemed us from slavery to sin and death. He paid the price or ransom for our release and freedom, not with money but with His own life.
Titus 2:11 makes it clear that this redemption is by grace and has been offered to all people. But not everyone will receive the benefit of Christ Jesus being our Redeemer.
“‘The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,’ declares the LORD.” Isaiah 59:20 NIV
The New Testament makes it clear that this redemption is now offered to people of every tribe and nation, Jews and Gentiles alike. But the requirement to take advantage of it has not changed. Repentance of sins is the necessary response to the good news that Jesus came as Redeemer.
Redemption is ours by grace through faith, but once we have been redeemed, our lives will be different. Titus 2:12-14 shows what happens in our lives as a result of being redeemed.
“It (the grace of God that brings us salvation) teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” Titus 2:12-14 NIV