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Jesus of Nazareth, Redeemer of humankind

"In him we have redemption through his blood" (Eph 1:7)

Jesus, the Christ. The Letter to the Ephesians says that God set forth a plan to be accomplished "in the fullness of time" (Eph 1:10) and that consists "to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth" (Eph 1:10).

This is the Man! When the police seek someone whose identity it do not know, it makes an identikit of that person using the data it possesses. This we can also do regarding our Redeemer

  • He should be equal to God. It was not in vain that it was prophesied: "Your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel" (Is 41:14). No one lesser than God could pay an infinite debt, as it is the debt for sin against God. The sin was infinitively grave considering the dignity of the one who was offended and only someone of the same dignity could pay the debt and atone for the sin.
  • The angel said to Mary, the Mother of the Redeemer: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God" (Lk 1:35).
  • About Jesus Christ it was said when he was coming out of the Jordan at the time of baptism: "And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased’" (Mk 1:11).
  • And John states: "God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God" (1 Jn 4:15). And also that: "If we receive human testimony, the testimony of God is greater; for this is the testimony of God that he has testified to his Son. Those who believe in the Son of God have the testimony in their hearts. Those who do not believe in God have made him a liar by not believing in the testimony that God has given concerning his Son" (1 Jn 5:9-10).
  • He should be a man; otherwise he could not represent man adequately. Moreover the reparation demanded that if a man had rebelled, also a man should nullify this rebelliousness through his obedience. Of Jesus Christ it was said: "Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, ‘Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body you have prepare for me’. […] Then I said, ‘See, God, I have come to do your will, O God’ (into the scroll of the book it is written of me)" (Heb 10:5.7). One with the Father and the Spirit, by obedience he became man and lived as such: "but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form" (Phil 2:7).
  • He should be just, holy, unrelated to sin: "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth. When he was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly" (1 Pt 2:22-23).
  • But he should also include and represent the sinners: "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us —for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’" (Gal 3:13).
  • He should be free; otherwise he cannot ransom the captives: "I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father" (Jn 10:17-18).
  • He should accomplish all righteousness in his life and offer payment for the ransom of all humankind, paying with his own life: "Therefore just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all" (Rom 5:18).
  • God should accept his sacrifice, which moreover should be sufficient: "But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God" (Heb 10:12).

Only in Christ Jesus are perfectly accomplished each one of the qualities required to carry out the redemption. Jesus Christ is not only another man. The Bible teaches us that he is Son of God, one with the Father, and as such eternal, but who become man, and assumed from the Father the mission of redemption of the humankind, as well the restoration of the Kingdom of God on the earth.

Redemption. To redeem means to pay the price for ransom. The debts of the humankind on account of sin were not payable, and as such we had fallen into slavery to sin and to devil, into servitude to sin and its tyrant inducer, without escape.

God established in Israel, a new people, image of the redeemed people, the year of grace, an unique opportunity when all debts were forgiven to those who had welcomed this decree of God. When the remission of our great debts, those of sin, and our liberation from slavery to it would come?

While beginning his public ministry, Jesus Christ read in the Synagogue of Nazareth what had been prophesied by Isaiah: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor" (Lk 4:18-19). Jesus continued to say something that inaugurated a new time in history, the time of redemption: "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing" (Lk 4:21).

This great Redemption includes a series of glorious realities:

  • Our sins were forgiven: At that high moment of giving his life, Christ explained why he was doing so and what sense the shedding of his blood was making: "for this is the my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins" (Mt 26:28). And Paul states: "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses according to the riches of his grace" (Eph 1:7).
  • Our guilt has been forgiven and we have been set free from condemnation: "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Rom 8:1).
  • We have been reconciled with God: One of the consequences of redemption is reconciliation with God. This has been prophesied: "The people who live there will be forgiven their iniquity" (Is 33:24). When our sins were forgiven by Christ, reconciliation took place: "That is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us" (2 Cor 5:19). Therefore we can really know God and walk in his friendship.
  • Free from sin: "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death" (Rom 8:2). Whoever receives the redemption of Christ is not a debtor to sin, but truly free.
  • Free from the oppression by the devil: Peter says that in Christ Jesus we were shifted from one kingdom to another: "Who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light" (1 Pt 2:9).
  • Free from curse: "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us" (Gal 3:13). In Christ all curse is nullified and loses its legal right over the redeemed: "So, if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed" (Jn 8:36).
  • Justified: This means that we are constituted righteous or made righteous on account of the righteousness of Christ. Not only we are rescued from condemnation and set free from guilt, but, moreover, the work of Christ offers us a surplus balance of righteousness which is not ours: "since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Rom 3:23-24). The Word clearly explains that all justification proceeds from the merits of Christ: "For just as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous" (Rom 5:19).
  • Free from eternal death: Eternal death was to be the final destiny of those captives of sin. But by the redemption carried out by Christ we are set free from death and destined to life eternal: "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom 6:23).

Open way. What was a distant light glimpsed in the horizon, a longing, a hope, becomes now a reality in Christ: "And he will come to Zion as Redeemer to those in Jacob who turn from transgression" (Is 59:20).

If God had redeemed Adam and put him again as the head, he could have fallen again. But Christ being now the Head of everything, we have the assurance that the Kingdom of God will not be again in disorder as the devil will be definitely annihilated. Meanwhile an opportunity is given to every human being to chose: to be redeemed by Christ or to be a slave of the devil; of submitting himself to Christ and to be a citizen of the Kingdom of God or to be under the authority of Satan and to continue in the kingdom of darkness; to be under condemnation, destined to eternal death or to freely receive eternal life through the redemption carried out by Jesus Christ.

Questions for sharing:

  • Comment on the meaning of the word "redemption".
  • Comment on some of the characteristics of the Redeemer, that have appealed to you.
  • Comment on some aspects of redemption, which have appealed to you.

 

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