Many years ago there lived a man who was richly blessed by God. His name was Job. You can read about him in the book of Job found in the Old Testament. As you read through that book, you will see both how God richly blessed Job, as well as the many hardships Job experienced in his life. Yet, in a time where those hardships were especially severe, Job made an amazing confession of faith. He said, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19:25-27).

That great confession of faith made by Job has since been turned into an Easter hymn. This Easter season many Christians will get the chance to sing Job’s confession, “I know that my Redeemer lives!”

As you sing those words, do you know what they mean? Do you know what it means to redeem something? The word “redeem” means “to buy back.” In redemption, a price is paid, or an exchange is made. Outside the context of church, we likely use the word “redeem” most often at a store; i.e. we redeem a coupon. The coupon is given in exchange for what it is worth.

In a similar way, there is always an exchange made with redemption. In Old Testament times, God had set up a law regarding redemption. One place where you can read about that is in Leviticus 25:47-55.

In God’s Old Testament economy, the redeemer was normally a close relative. This close relative had obligations to his family. If your family member became destitute and sold the family property in order to survive, you were supposed to buy it back to keep it in the family. If he sold himself into slavery, you were supposed to redeem him. You were supposed to pay the price so that he would not have to serve as a slave. In a way you could say that the redeemer’s responsibility was to “square things” for the one who could not accomplish that for himself.

A good Old Testament example of this redeemer can be found in the book of Ruth. As you read through that book, pay attention to the actions of a man named Boaz.

In the end, though, the greatest example of a redeemer is the one we sing about in the hymn, “I know that my Redeemer lives.” Jesus came to this world to be my redeemer. As he died on the cross, he paid the price for my sins. He exchanged his life for mine. Yet, as Job confessed years earlier, “My Redeemer Lives!” Jesus did not stay dead. On the third day he rose again, and he promises me that I will, too. Therefore, I can join Job in saying, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19:25-27).