Seeing the Glory of Christ as Son of Man
The Right to Redeem
And into a world like that, into a race like that, God, in His Son, in terms of manhood, comes from the outside as the Redeemer-Kinsman. He has, first of all, the right to redeem. Why? Because He is the Firstborn of all creation. He has the First Place. This is no second-place kinsman. "He is before all things" (Colossians 1:17). He is the Firstborn; He has the right because of place, the place He occupies, the First Place. Oh, think again of all that there is about the Lord Jesus as coming first, as being in the First Place, as being the Firstborn, and you will see that constitutes His right, for in the very nature of things in the Bible, it is the Firstborn who carries the rights with him always. Here is Jesus, Son of Man, the first by appointment and placing of God. He has the right to redeem.
The Power to Redeem
He has also the power to redeem, that is, He has the resources for redeeming. Well, let us ask what is in the nature of things required for redeeming? The inheritance has to be redeemed not only for us but unto God. We in turn are God's inheritance, we are God's possession by right, and not only have we lost our inheritance, but God has lost His inheritance in us, and what we might be satisfied with as a return, God can never be satisfied with. If God is to get back in us that inheritance which He Himself has lost through man's sin and willfulness, its redemption must be according to God, something that satisfies God: and God cannot be satisfied with just anything. It must be something that wholly answers to God's own nature. So let us say at once that "we are redeemed, not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, from our vain manner of life ... but with precious blood, as of a Lamb without blemish" (1 Peter 1:18, 19). What is it that satisfies God? It is an incorruptible something. That which can alone bring back to God His satisfaction must be incorruptible, undefiled, without spot or blemish. These are words which always relate to Christ: a Lamb, without spot, without blemish. That is the redemption resource, the redemption power. Redemption means to recover the lost inheritance, and He has redeemed by His Blood, because that Blood represents His life which is an incorruptible life, a sinless life, a life which wholly satisfies an utterly righteous and holy God. That is the price of redemption. Oh, to see the humanity of the Lord Jesus in its incorruptibility, is to see the mighty power to redeem. Set aside the Lord Jesus and you set aside the whole power of redemption, the whole right of redemption; there is no hope of redemption. We can never be redeemed into God with such corruptible things as silver and gold. To be redeemed unto God means that a life must be forth coming which is according to God's own nature.
Oh, this is where all the blindness is. We spoke in our previous meditation of the terrible blindness which is seen in evolution. But here is the awful blindness of that terrible gospel, which is not a gospel at all, which is being preached, namely, humanism; that it is in man's own power to become like God. The roots and seeds of perfection are deep down in man's own being if only he will dig deep enough for them; there is no need for intervention from the outside at all; it is not necessary for God to intervene, for Christ to come into this world. It is an man to rise, he can improve himself. He is a wonderful creature deep down in his being. What blindness! You say, Amazing thing in the light of present happenings and present world conditions; amazing thing that with one breath they talk about the awful atrocities which are worse than those of the dark ages, and with the next breath they say it is in man to be godlike! Blindness!! The real point is this: are men more noble morally today? Are men morally rising? Well, who can say Yes! in the light of what we know today!
And yet they are preaching this gospel of humanism, that man is steadily rising and Utopia is on the horizon; because man has it in himself to rise. That is blindness, terrible blindness. But oh! to see God's Son, the Son of Man, is to see the hope, the direction in which redemption lies; because redemption lies in the direction of another kind of humanity, and in a power to redeem, because there is something there which satisfies God, and anything which does not satisfy God can never be a redeeming power. Has the Lord Jesus the power? We here all cry with one voice, Yes, He has the power. He has the resource for doing this.
The Liberty to Redeem
But another question arises. Is He free to redeem? One thing is taken for granted in this matter of the redeeming kinsman, and that is that he can only have one wife. If he is already married he is disqualified, because he cannot marry the person for whom he redeems the inheritance. That was the trouble with the other kinsman, in the case of Ruth. He was not free; he was married and had a family. But Boaz was unmarried, was free, and he could take Ruth as his wife; the way was perfectly clear.
Now we come into the realm of sublime things spiritually. "Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it, that He might redeem it from all iniquity" (Ephesians 5:25; Titus 2:14). "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself up for it." The redeemed is to be joined to the Lord, and the Lord Jesus - may I say it reverently? - is only going to have one wife. There is only going to be one marriage supper of the Lamb. The Church is His only Bride. His redeemed are the only ones to be brought into such a relationship with Himself; and the way is clear. He stands perfectly free to redeem, and to take the consequences of redeeming, even of marrying the one for whom the inheritance is redeemed.
Does not redemption bring us into a very sacred position with the Lord Jesus? That is the true significance of the title that attaches to Him as our Redeemer-Kinsman, that we should be joined to Him. Not redeemed as a chattel, not redeemed as a thing, but redeemed to be joined to Him forever in the holiest of all bonds. Married to the Lord. That is the meaning of the Son of Man. Yes, He is free. He can do it!
The Willingness to Redeem
Only one question remains. Is He willing? He has the right. He has the resource. He has the liberty. Will He? Oh, how Ruth and Naomi must have waited with bated breath and thumping hearts while that final question was being met and answered! Will he? Ah, but there may be no thumping heart here this afternoon, no bated breath. Will He? Is He willing? Well, what do we say to that? He has done it, and that answers the question. All that remains, if we are not in the enjoyment of it, is for us to accept it, believe it. He is willing!
May the Lord just ravish our hearts and enlarge our seeing of Jesus, the Son of Man. Amen