Redemption ~ Bible Study Questions

Messages From The Messiah

Redemption Study 1 : A Land and People Redeemed

Read Leviticus 25:8-55

1. What was the purpose of the “Year of Jubilee”?

2. To whom did the people and the land belong? (v 23 and 55)

3. What was the basis on which land could be bought and sold in the Promised Land? What did it mean to “redeem” it? (v 23-34)

4. How could a person become a slave? How could they be redeemed? (v35-55)

Read Exodus 6:6-8

5. How did God redeem His people from Egypt? Why?

6. What do the concepts of Redemption and Jubilee teach us about the nature of God and His relationship with His people?

Redemption Study 2 : The Coming of the Great Redeemer

Read Psalm 49:7-9 and 15 and Psalm 130

1. From what did God’s people expect redemption? On what basis?

Read Isaiah 35

2. This passage foretells the coming of the Lord to bring salvation. What else will He bring, and what should be the response of His people? (v4)

3. What will be the signs that the Lord has come to redeem His people? (v5-6)

4. How will the people of God respond to His coming?

Read Isaiah 49: 6-13

5. Passages like this one together formed a picture of the awaited “Anointed One”, the Messiah or the Christ. What kind of Messiah might the readers of these verses have expected? What would they expect Him to do for them?

6. How is the usual idea of a beloved King of Israel destroying the oppressive Gentiles turned on its head in verses 6 and 7?

7. What messages of hope were revealed to God’s people in these passages?

Redemption Study 3 : Jesus the Redeemer

Read Luke 2:25-38

1. In Jesus’ time many were looking forward to the redemption of God’s people. What did Simeon and Anna prophesy about the baby Jesus?

Read Luke 4:14-21

2. The Year of the Lord’s favor is the same as the year of Jubilee mentioned in the first study. How does Jesus define His ministry in terms of Isaiah’s prophecy?

Read Luke 24:1-3 and 13-35

3. What do the disciples say about Jesus as they walk on the road to Emmaus?

4. What had they hoped that Jesus would do?

5. How does Jesus go about explaining His mission to the disciples? Is it political or spiritual?

Read Romans 3:24; Galatians 3:13-14; Ephesians 1:7; Titus 2:14; Hebrews 9:12 and 1 Peter 1:18-20.

6. How has Jesus fulfilled the disciples’ hopes for redemption?

7. What will be the evidence for our redemption? (Read Galatians 5:1, 13 and 14) What marks a free person in Christ rather than a slave to sin?

Ruth and Jubilee

by Deborah Horscroft

Every seven years the Israelite Sabbath year laws provided for the freeing of all slaves, the cancellation of all debts and the laying fallow of the land. After seven sabbaths on the Day of Atonement a “Jubilee” year was called, and in addition to these other liberations all land was returned according to the original Mosaic distribution. In this way land was not so much bought and sold, as leased until the next year of Jubilee (and priced accordingly).

One’s land could also be recovered before the year of Jubilee by redemption. Either the owner or a kinsman could redeem the land for a price proportionate to the number of harvests before Jubilee. This is what Boaz did for Ruth and Naomi.

The basis for the release of slaves, debts and land was God’s ownership of both the people and land. Since he had delivered them from Egypt into the Promised Land, neither they nor the land could ever be sold.

When Jesus teaches in the synagogue in Nazareth, he reads: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19, Isaiah 61:1-2)

Passages in the Old Testament such as this were part of a growing understanding by the people of God that as they had been redeemed from Egypt and Babylon, so the Messiah would bring liberty to God’s people. Jesus claimed that he was the fulfillment of these prophecies. (Thanks to R.B. Sloan’s excellent article on Jubilee in the Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels: A Compendium of Contemporary Biblical Scholarship, IVP 1992)

Redemption in Ruth

by Deborah Horscroft

The book of Ruth is a beautiful love story, not only of a man and a woman but of a foreigner from Moab and her Jewish mother-in-law, and of a woman stripped of everything who finds joy in the grandson who will be her “kinsman-redeemer”, continuing the family name and looking after her in her old age.

Many old church songs talk about being “Redeemed”, for instance “by the blood of the Lamb” but it is a word which has lost almost all meaning outside Christian circles, and perhaps some within them.

The concept is reasonably straightforward and was a common one in Biblical times. To redeem something is to buy back something which was rightfully yours in the first place, like going back to a pawn broker to get your grandmother’s antique brooch out of hock. In the Old Testament, portions of the Promised Land could be redeemed by the original owner’s family, people could be redeemed from slavery and God was frequently redeeming his people from the consequences of their sin: usually being captured by foreigners. One of the great acts of redemption in the Old Testament is celebrated in the Passover, when God redeemed his people from slavery in Egypt. The Jews were told by Moses to mark their homes with the blood of a slain lamb, so that the angel of the Lord would pass over their homes as he killed the first born in each home in Egypt.

In the New Testament, Jesus is revealed as the one who redeems God’s people from slavery to sin, paying with his own sacrificial death.

Ruth followed Naomi home to look after her, but also to cast herself upon the mercy of Naomi’s God. She followed Naomi’s advice, gained a real catch of a husband and went on to become an ancestress (foremother) of Jesus Christ.