I struggled with a title so I just let some of my research guide me to it. The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible’s Concise Concordance gives eight references for ‘redeem'(s)(ed)(ing). The Amplified Bible’s concordance has twenty-two references for (s)(ed)(ing), with an additional seven for (er). The King James Study Bible’s Concordance with Word Studies offers thirty-six references for (s)(ed)(ing) and ten references for (er). That’s a lot of reading and cross-referencing, folks.
The Bing online dictionary gives these as the definition: 1. Compensate for faults or bad aspect of (something) – (self) do something that compensates for poor past performance or behavior; (of a person) atone or make amends for (error or evil); save (someone) from sin, error, or evil. 2. Gain or regain possession of (something in exchange for payment) 3. Fulfill or carry out (a pledge or promise)
If we look at the work on the Cross, Jesus has done all of these things. He compensated for our faults and bad aspects. When God created man, He created them exactly the way he wanted man to be. Man was, at that instant, perfect. It didn’t take us long to ruin that and fall from where we were meant to be to where we are today. We’re very good – expert, even – in messing up our lives.
He compensated for our past (and present!) poor performance. There are any number of stories or videos or podcasts or memes of ‘men behaving badly’, ‘women behaving badly’, ‘babies behaving badly’ and we chuckle and laugh and nod our heads because – that’s us. We know that behavior; we’ve had it all our lives. We try to atone for our errors and make amends to folks we may have hurt along the way but we’re not quite as accomplished at that as we are at making a mess of things. Like the mote/plank idea, we try to save loved ones, friends and family – and sometimes complete strangers – from the sin, error, or evil we see in their lives.
To regain God’s possession of us, Jesus paid with his life, to buy us back to God. Now, clearly, this is very simply put for readability but you get the idea here. His death on the cross was the ‘exchange for payment’.
To fulfill, to carry out his promise of breaking death and his pledge of a home for us in heaven (My Father’s mansion has many rooms. If it were not so I would have told you.), he died on the cross. He died on the cross and opened heaven to us, his resurrection proved he had broken death, and his ascension gave visual proof that there is a place other than here that we can attain to.
I am, we are, small people with limited abilities and understanding but there is something so tactile, so real, so immediate in ‘redeem’ (s)(ed)(ing)(er), that even though we are limited, we understand that we have been (ed).