Leviticus 25: 25. “If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold.”
Reader, your heart is hidden from man’s view. But surely you are one of the human race, and therefore you partake of human need. Sin is your birthplace and your cradle and your native air. It is the stream on which you naturally glide; and its course tends to the depths of ruin, except some helper intervene.
But help is ready in the Saviour Christ. There is more power in Him to rescue than in sin to slay. Say, are these tidings music to your ears? If so, each image will be dear which shows some feature of delivering grace. This is the value of the Bible page. It is an ever-varying picture of one precious scene. Faith cannot look, but some new beauty of the beloved Lord appears.
An instance meets us in the Kinsman’s rights. The tale is simple. One of Israel’s sons is destitute. His goods, his lands, are torn away. The creditor demands. The claim is just. All must be yielded. But is there some Kinsman whose heart feels pity and whose means abound? Then he has a right to pay the price and to buy back the forfeited estate. He may not be denied. He speaks and restitution must be made. Redeeming privilege is his.
Such is the statute of the Jewish realm. But it is more than tender mercy to distress. It shows far more than civil remedy for helpless debt. It is a bright transcript of the work of Christ. Mark the clear parallel. He saw our misery. He felt that no one but a Kinsman could redeem. He tarries not. He puts on our flesh. He visits earth as man, and so is qualified to rescue our estate. Thus He stands forth, the end and substance of the Kinsman’s type.
Let us draw nearer. None value this restoring grace but they who realise their penury. Many exclaim, Are we thus poor? Nature is blind to nature’s meanness. It flaunts in rags, and calls them royal robes. It counts its tinsel to be gold. It proudly stalks, as the possessor of all treasure. Alas, the misery of such conceit! What is the soul as seen by God? What is its spiritual estate? All innocence is forfeited and sold. The glorious inheritance of righteousness is gone. The title-deeds of heaven are torn away. One property alone remains – an amassed pile of sin. No beggar is so spiritually poor as man.
This is the wreck which Jesus saw with pitying eye. His mercy moved Him, and He could not rest. His love constrained Him, and He must relieve. His heart could not forbear. He must redeem. But mighty hindrances opposed Him. Let them be viewed. Gigantic is the mass of obstacle. The needy ones are offspring of poor earth. Dust is their origin; the worm their brother; the clod their home. But to redeem requires a kindred birth. How can this intervening gulf be spanned? Jesus is God. Infinite distance parts the natures. One sits enthroned on glory’s highest seat; the other grovels in earth’s lowest mire. One is as great as God can be; the other is the meanest of the mean.
Jesus may love. But how can He relieve? As God alone, He cannot claim the Kinsman’s right. Are the destitute then beyond relief? My soul, are you then hopelessly undone? It must have been so if Jesus’ grace and wisdom had known bounds. But they are vast as Deity. Thus they are able to devise and execute a scheme. Since the Redeemer must be man, Jesus connects Himself with human ties.
My soul, draw nearer to the wondrous fact. What, will He tread on earth in human nature? He whom no heavens can hold, will He be imprisoned in a case of clay? He whose eternal age has seen no birth, will He be born an infant child of dust? Will He, who made all worlds, be made a man? Will He, who spans infinity, contract to be a humble sojourner in our abode? Will He, whose brightness far outshines the sun, wear our dull rags? Yes. One of the family alone can help; therefore one of the family He will become.
And verily it is so. There is no fact more true. The Holy Spirit lends His aid. A human frame is marvellously framed. A virgin mother bears the heavenly child. The mighty God, Jehovah’s compeer, breathes as the brother of our lowly tribes.
O my soul, what costly love is here! We count that to be real which in its efforts sacrifices self. It is not difficult to help in word. But sincere truth is tried when it must strip itself and bear hard burdens and submit to pain. Such is this love. It willingly comes down to shame and scorn.
You often think that worlds would be a mean price to buy assurance of a Saviour’s love. You may read this at Bethlehem. The lowly manger has a voice mighty in sweetness – sweet in its might. It tells that He has done so much that no more could be done. God becomes man. Here then is love – high above height, broad beyond breadth, deep below depth, immeasurable, unspeakable, inconceivable. It is the God-man’s god-like love. Be satisfied; give thanks; adore.
Reader, scorn not this statement as the element of truth – the earliest lesson which our childhood learns. Nay, nay. God joined to man – man joined to God – is heaven’s highest wisdom, deepest thought and most transcendent glory. It is so vast that all the Spirit’s might alone can bring us to receive it. It is the mystery which Abel sealed with blood and Abraham gladly saw and David and the prophets sang, which Jesus verified and the apostles boldly preached. He only is the blessed man who sees a God-man living as a Kinsman to redeem.
But mark, the Kinsman must be armed with more than ties of family. He must avail to pay down the required price. Keep this in view and then survey the vast inheritance which is here forfeited. It is a mass of souls. Each is eternity. Build a high pyramid of worlds; these riches will have bounds. Deal out earth’s jewels to an endless age; the value reaches not one spirit’s price. But the lost property is a company of souls more numerous than tongue can tell. They multiply beyond the stars which glitter on the brow of night. What then can Jesus bring to meet this need?
Oft weigh the price paid down by Christ. Salvation surely would be prized if its full cost were once discerned. Our Kinsman gives Himself, His life, His blood, and they are all divine. He rescues not with money; that were vain. He brings no finite store; that would fall short. He makes His soul an offering for sin. His Deity imparts sufficiency. Much is required; more is bestowed. The price is boundless; the payment far exceeds. The power and right both meet in Christ. He comes in flesh. He pays a God-man’s blood.
Such is the Saviour of the gospel page. Such is His love, His tenderness, His willingness, His might. Study His heart, His character, His fulness, His power, His work. Every view invites, attracts, allures. Can you refrain from flying to His arms? Surely the rocky heart must melt beneath the sunshine of such grace. Surely no fears can keep you from such a Kinsman’s side. Would He be man unless He longed to save? And, being man, can He be silent to a brother’s cry? Approach. Draw near. O rest not till you know that you are His, and He is yours. Plead His near kindred ties. Tell Him that He is one of your own family, flesh of your flesh, bone of your bones. Remind Him that He alone has the redeeming right and might. Kneel with petitions for your ruined soul. Urge this, and you fail not. Ask all the saved. One voice responds, Our elder brother never drives a coming sinner from His cross. Ask all the hell-bound. They miserably sigh, We never sought Him; therefore we are here.
Believer, awake and see your happy state. Your soul is rescued. Your heavenly home is sure. The chains are broken. Your loving Kinsman buys you from each adverse claim. Tremble no more at Satan’s rage. No longer fear the law’s stern curse. Once and for ever all is paid. You are redeemed. Live a redeemed life. Often repeat, “In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph 1:7).
Awake, awake, and see your access to delights. The earthly path is often rough. Griefs press with heavy hand. Afflictions flow, as wave on wave. Tears stream because of relatives no longer seen. Pain racks the limbs. Sickness brings languor and distress. The world points piercing sneers. False friends inflict a festering wound. You need much solace. You have it in your Kinsman’s love. The Man of Sorrows tasted each bitter cup. Now from His throne He calls us to relate our every woe to Him. Each aching head may rest upon His breast, and find a pillow of relief. Trouble takes wing when once His smile is seen. Fears are not heard when His sweet promises speak peace. Cares are no cares when laid on Him. Burdens are gone when cast down at His feet. Who can be sad who have a God-man Kinsman near?
But let your life proclaim that, being bought, you are no more your own. The Kinsman claims your heart, your love, your all. Shame, shame to those who would defraud Him of His purchased due! Believer, let Christ’s great glory be your one pursuit. Seek it in all your time, with all your strength, with all your means. It is the Kinsman’s joy to see His people bearing grateful fruits. O multiply this joy. It is His glory when you bring rich praises to His name. Let then each breath be praise.
Ye ministers of Christ, would you win souls? Then preach the Kinsman. Apart from Him, all topics are a chilling blight. The terror of the law may scare. But it gives no relief. It may wound sorely. But it lacks the healing balm. The charms of virtue fascinate. But they paint summits which unredeemed feet can never reach. External rites and forms have specious show. They seem a haven of repose. They promise steps which mount to heaven. Experience proves that without Christ they only cheat. They cannot ease a tortured mind. They cannot blot out past offence. The path seems flowery. But it beguiles to aggravated woe. The Kinsman is the only help. Then publish the story of the incarnate God. This cannot be in vain. Christ never was upraised but sinners fled into the fortress and were safe. Proclaim the Kinsman, and souls will hang delighted on your lips and bless you now and bless you for evermore.
Preach Him with tender zeal. He is your model. He yearned for souls. Their misery led Him willing to the cross. Can you tell this with icy lips? Can you be listless shepherds of a listless flock? You know His earnestness. With eager flight He sought this earth. He scorned no agony, no shame, no pain. Here is again your model. Burst all the bands of self-indulgent ease. Up and be doing. Strive as if striving rescued men from hell. Toil as if toil conveyed them swift to heaven. The Kinsman shortly will appear again. May His approving smile then be your heaven of heavens! May His glad welcome own you as brethren of His heart, the fellow-helpers of His work.
1. A chapter from Law’s The Gospel in Leviticus.