Theme: Christ, the Servant 
This week’s lesson encourages us to examine Christ’s ultimate act of service for us.
Matthew 20:28-34
even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
And as they went out of Jericho, a great crowd followed him. And behold, there were two blind men sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” The crowd rebuked them, telling them to be silent, but they cried out all the more, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” And stopping, Jesus called them and said, “What do you want me to do for you?” They said to him, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.” And Jesus in pity touched their eyes, and immediately they recovered their sight and followed him.


As I stated in yesterday’s lesson, the three conditions of a kinsman-redeemer were fulfilled in the case of Jesus Christ, but they are best illustrated in the story of Ruth and her redeemer Boaz. Here is their story. In the days of the Judges there was a famine in Israel, and a man from Bethlehem, whose name was Elimelech, left Judah with his wife Naomi and two sons to live in Moab. Not long after this, Elimelech died, and shortly after that the sons married two local girls from Moab. One was Orpah. The other was Ruth. Ten years later the sons also died, and Naomi and her daughters-in-law were left. They were quite poor. So when Naomi heard that the famine in Judah had passed and that there was food there, she decided to go back to her own land and live again in Bethlehem. Orpah, the first daughter-in-law, returned to her family, but Ruth insisted on staying with Naomi.
Back in Bethlehem, Naomi and Ruth were still quite poor, in spite of the fact that Naomi seems to have owned a piece of land (cf. 4:3), and the only way they could survive was by Ruth going into the fields at harvest time to glean behind the reapers. Gleaning means that she was allowed to follow the workmen and pick up any small bits of grain they missed or discarded.
Ruth went to a field belonging to an affluent man named Boaz who, as it turned out, was a close relative of Naomi, a kinsman of her deceased husband Elimelech. Boaz was kind to Ruth, in spite of the fact that she was a foreigner. He encouraged her to remain in his fields and instructed the workmen to protect her and be generous to her, allowing a good supply of the grain to fall behind.
Naomi seems to have recognized what was happening as well as realizing that God was arranging circumstances so that 8an could perform the duties of a kinsman-redeemer for herself, in regard to her inheritance, and for Ruth, in regard to raising up an heir. So she advised Ruth how to make her claim known to Boaz.
When she did Boaz was delighted, for it meant that Ruth was interested in him also and had not, as he said, “run after the younger men, whether rich or poor” (Ruth 3:10). Unfortunately, there was a kinsmen closer to Naomi and Ruth than himself. Boaz promised to raise the matter with this kinsman and to perform the office of kinsman-redeemer if the other person was unable or unwilling.
As it turned out, the other relative was interested in the land but was unable to fulfill the obligation to Ruth. So Ban willingly bought the land and married Ruth. The story ends by relating that they had a son named Obed, who became the father of Jesse who was the father of King David.
In redeeming us Jesus did exactly what this beautiful story illustrates: 1) He became our kinsman by the incarnation, being born in this very town of Bethlehem; 2) He was willing to be our Redeemer, because of his love for us; and 3) He was able to redeem us, because he alone could provide an adequate redemption price by dying.
The redemption of Ruth may not have cost Boaz a great deal, at the most only money, but our redemption cost Jesus Christ his life.
Do you understand how this applies to the life you are called to live as Jesus’ follower? Do you see it? Let me suggest that this is where the final incident in this chapter comes in, the one involving the two blind men who met Jesus when he was on his way from the valley of the Jordan River near the ancient city of Jericho to Jerusalem.
The blind men are illustrations of the disciples in their spiritually blind condition. Or to put it another way, they represent ourselves. We are spiritually blind; we do not see spiritual matters as we should. We are also poor, beggars who have no hope of advancing ourselves and have no claim on Jesus. The crowd will not help. The crowd is blind too. The crowd will push us aside, telling us to be quiet and get out of the way. We have only one hope: that Jesus might be merciful to us. All we can do is cry out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” as they did.
Ah, but that is precisely why Jesus came—to have mercy, to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. When we ask for mercy, he gives it. And he opens our eyes to see that that this is exactly what we are to show to other people as we tell them about the Savior.


How was Ruth related to Boaz?
How does Dr. Boice explain the application of Jesus’ encounter with the blind men?


Read the book of Ruth and study it for its rich symbolism of Christ and his sacrifice for us.

Study Questions
Tagged under
More Resources from James Montgomery Boice

Subscribe to the Think & Act Biblically Devotional

Alliance of Confessional Evangelicals

About the Alliance

The Alliance is a coalition of believers who hold to the historic creeds and confessions of the Reformed faith and proclaim biblical doctrine in order to foster a Reformed awakening in today’s Church.

Canadian Donors

Canadian Committee of The Bible Study Hour
PO Box 24087, RPO Josephine
North Bay, ON, P1B 0C7