The Rich Kinsman

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 8
IT was a law of old in Israel that if a stranger in the land grew rich, and an Israelite so poor that, in order to pay his debts, he had to sell himself to the stranger as a slave, a kinsman of the poor bondsman might redeem him.
If the poor man had sold himself as a bondsman for ten years' servitude for, say, one hundred pounds, and had worked for his master for six months, then the price to be paid for his freedom would be nine and a half years or ninety-five pounds; or if he had worked five years, then the price to be paid for his freedom would be five years or fifty pounds. "The price of his sale shall be according unto the number of years, according to the time of an hired servant shall it be with him. If there be yet many years behind, according unto them he shall give again the price of his redemption out of the money that he was bought for. And if there remain but few years unto the year of jubilee, then he shall count with him, and according unto his years shall he give him again the price of his redemption." (Lev. 25:50, 5150And he shall reckon with him that bought him from the year that he was sold to him unto the year of jubilee: and the price of his sale shall be according unto the number of years, according to the time of an hired servant shall it be with him. 51If there be yet many years behind, according unto them he shall give again the price of his redemption out of the money that he was bought for. (Leviticus 25:50‑51),) The exact value had to be paid, neither more nor less; the stranger to whom the poor Israelite had sold himself must needs have his money returned to him to the uttermost farthing, for God's law is a righteous law, and under it all debts must be righteously paid.
Now, while the Israelite was hopelessly a slave, unable by his own efforts to obtain his freedom, God allowed to the rich relation the joy of setting the poor man free. "After that he is sold he may be redeemed again; one of his brethren may redeem him: either his uncle, or his uncle's son, may redeem him, or any that is nigh of kin unto him of his family may redeem him." (Lev. 25:48, 4948After that he is sold he may be redeemed again; one of his brethren may redeem him: 49Either his uncle, or his uncle's son, may redeem him, or any that is nigh of kin unto him of his family may redeem him; or if he be able, he may redeem himself. (Leviticus 25:48‑49).) And what a joy it must have been to the rich kinsman to come to the stranger with the redemption money, and to buy out his poor brother from bonds into liberty!
You can see the rich kinsman in our picture coming with the receipt in his hand, and telling the poor slave, "The price of your redemption is paid!" Oh! how gladly would the poor man lift up his head, for he could go home to his family once more a free man in Israel.
This gracious provision in Israel of old is a beautiful picture to us of the joy of our Lord Jesus Christ in setting His people free. It was the kinsman of the poor man to whom the privilege fell of giving the liberty, and the Lord Jesus Christ, in order to have the joy of setting His people free, came to this earth, and took human nature upon Him—He became our Kinsman. He found us in our slavery and misery, with no hope of escape, and no power to deliver ourselves, and He reckoned up the cost of the price of our redemption. We were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, for the redemption price was nothing less than the blood of our Redeemer; He gave Himself for His people, out of love and out of pity. And now He comes to the poor slave of sin and Satan, for whom He died, and He says, "Fear not; for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art Mine.”
How wonderingly the bondsman would look up into the face of the rich kinsman! "What is it so? Am I indeed the subject of your favor?" And how shall the redeemed of the Lord look up in His face!
How often, fellow Christians, have you thanked the Lord our Redeemer for His wonderful love? Poor and a slave no longer, bought with a price, even His precious blood, and now His, and His forever, to serve Him in the happy freedom of love.