Christ The King Sunday!
Christ The King Sunday!
Today we celebrate Christ as our King! This holiday is always the last Sunday before Advent. What comes to mind when we think of Christ as King? We may think that it means He is the ruler of Heaven and Earth. That is correct. We also may say that He is the Provider and Protector of His people. That is also correct. Other traits of Jesus that we remember is that He is our Savior and Redeemer. Jesus died for our sins, freeing us from eternal death. Jesus is also coming again soon to redeem us from the death of this world. This is the meaning of Advent which is the expectation of Christ’s second coming, as we celebrate His first coming.
Today we are going to see the reason the story of Ruth is included in our Bibles. Although it is a good story and probably quite rare for such story to have happened more than once, Ruth’s story is special for another reason. The legacy of Ruth, Boaz and Naomi will live on for all time.
Pray and Read Ruth 4:1-12
No sooner had Boaz gone up to the gate and sat down there than the next-of-kin, of whom Boaz had spoken, came passing by. So Boaz said, “Come over, friend; sit down here.” And he went over and sat down. Then Boaz took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, “Sit down here”; so they sat down. He then said to the next-of-kin, “Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, is selling the parcel of land that belonged to our kinsman Elimelech. So I thought I would tell you of it, and say: Buy it in the presence of those sitting here, and in the presence of the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, redeem it; but if you will not, tell me, so that I may know; for there is no one prior to you to redeem it, and I come after you.” So he said, “I will redeem it.” Then Boaz said, “The day you acquire the field from the hand of Naomi, you are also acquiring Ruth the Moabite, the widow of the dead man, to maintain the dead man’s name on his inheritance.” At this, the next-of-kin said, “I cannot redeem it for myself without damaging my own inheritance. Take my right of redemption yourself, for I cannot redeem it.” Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning redeeming and exchanging: to confirm a transaction, the one took off a sandal and gave it to the other; this was the manner of attesting in Israel. So when the next-of-kin said to Boaz, “Acquire it for yourself,” he took off his sandal. Then Boaz said to the elders and all the people, “Today you are witnesses that I have acquired from the hand of Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech and all that belonged to Chilion and Mahlon. I have also acquired Ruth the Moabite, the wife of Mahlon, to be my wife, to maintain the dead man’s name on his inheritance, in order that the name of the dead may not be cut off from his kindred and from the gate of his native place; today you are witnesses.” Then all the people who were at the gate, along with the elders, said, “We are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman who is coming into your house like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel. May you produce children in Ephrathah and bestow a name in Bethlehem; and, through the children that the Lord will give you by this young woman, may your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah.”
So remember that Boaz is not the next-of-kin and has no legal ties to Naomi or Ruth. He is a distant relative so he could negotiate for them. Boaz redeemed Ruth, literally. Redemption in the Old Testament is a business term. Boaz, being a successful business meant that he knew every well how to make the best business transactions. It means to release property, animals, and people from bondage through payment of an agreed upon price. When we as Christians think about Redemption, it means that Jesus paid the price for the forgiveness of our sins. That is actually the same thing, really when we look at the comparison.
Boaz uses every leverage that he had to obtain Ruth legally as his wife. Once the next-of-kin found out that Naomi had no heirs, he was out of the deal. He could not afford to make Ruth and whomever her offspring were to be born, his heirs. He could not afford a family, and we will leave it as that. However, Boaz could and needed a family.
So, yes we get our happy ending. Boaz and Ruth marry and live happily ever after. However, that is not the end of our story. We are talking about real people here. Boaz has a legacy to leave, and Ruth plays an important part of course. However, it is not only Ruth and Boaz who gets a happy ending in this story. Let’;s read the rest of the chapter: Ruth 4:13-17
So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When they came together, the Lord made her conceive, and she bore a son. Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without next-of-kin; and may his name be renowned in Israel! He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has borne him.” Then Naomi took the child and laid him in her bosom, and became his nurse. The women of the neighborhood gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi.” They named him Obed; he became the father of Jesse, the father of David.
Ruth bore a son to carry on the family legacy. Yet, listen to verse 14. The women celebrate with good news for Naomi! Naomi, in a way has also been redeemed. She too has a next of kin. The other two descriptive terms to describe this blessed child also sound very familiar. This is the legacy of Obed: that he would be a “restore of life and a nourisher of your old age.” Those who have grandchildren are probably able to describe the unspeakable joy that Naomi felt in that moment of holding baby Obed for the first time.
Children do give us hope for the future. There is one birth, one child who was born to give this same hope, redemption and restore to all of humanity that Naomi recieved at the birth of Obed. Obed would be the patriarchal line of Jesus our redeemer and restorer of life. He came to give us abundant life, and life eternal. Let’s read Matthew 1:5-6a.
Matthew 1:5–6a (NRSV)
and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David.
There are only four matriarchs named in the lineage of Jesus in the first chapter of Matthew. Ruth is one of them. The mother of Boaz is also mentioned. Her name is Rahab. If you go into the Old Testament, before Ruth, in the book of Joshua we find a woman named Rahab. Rahab is known to be a prostitute in Jericho which Joshua needed to lead the Israelites in conquering if they were to live in peace in the land God was giving to them. Rahab opened her home to these foreigners, who where actually spies for Joshua, and treated them with hospitality, stay with me. When she discovered their true purpose for being there, she did not go and tell on them or try to kill them herself. No, she helped them get the information they needed and aided them in their escape. Rahab was protected when the battle for Jericho begun. She became Hebrew, one of God’s people. She was loved, respected, and rewarded for her choices. You could say that she was wise, humble, and courageous. I guess Boaz saw those same traits in Ruth that his mother and father had instilled in him. This is the earthly family legacy of our Redeemer, Jesus. God obviously had a plan for our redemption since the beginning.
Reading over the lineage of Jesus in Matthew chapter 1, you see many names that cover our Old Testament. Each person overcame hardships, made choices to love and serve God even when it was risky to do so. Each patriarch and matriarch has a story to tell. Some lived less than stellar lives. Some made some really bad choices. Yet, God worked through all of them to bring redemption to His people.
God’s plan to redeem the world is still in motion. Jesus will return soon, and will establish a new heaven and earth. He will, and is, reigning as King for all eternity, time knowing no end. The continuing plan is with His people still to this day as each of us live our lives, building our testimony of God’s goodness and faithfulness. We are not perfect, we make mistakes. Yet, Jesus redeemed us from our earthly peril.
The question this week is, what are you thankful for? Look over your life and see the legacy you are leaving for future generations. Tell the story of God’s redeeming love. Tell the story of your life being restored thanks to saving work of Jesus. It is this we are forever grateful.
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen