November 4, 2022
“About three months later Judah was told, ‘Your daughter-in-law has been acting like a prostitute, and now she is pregnant.’ ‘Bring her out!’ Judah said...”
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“About three months later Judah was told, ‘Your daughter-in-law has been acting like a prostitute, and now she is pregnant.’ ‘Bring her out!’ Judah said. ‘Let her be burned to death!’ As she was brought out, she sent her father-in-law this message: ‘I am pregnant by the man to whom these items belong.’ And she added, ‘Examine them. Whose signet ring, cord, and staff are these?’ Judah recognized them and said, ‘She is more in the right than I, since I did not give her my own son Shelah.’ And he did not know her intimately again.” Genesis 38:24-26
Three Biblical “women accused of adultery” stories come to my mind. First, Tamar is forced to lure Judah into fulfilling his duties as kinsman-redeemer…by making him believe he is committing adultery. Her actions ensured the birth line of the Messiah. Tamar is recognized by name in the genealogy of Jesus. (Matt 1:3) **Notice the other women in Jesus’ genealogy were either prostitutes, adulteresses, or accused of both…and all were Gentiles. (Tamar, Ruth, Uriah’s wife [Bathseba], Rahab).
The Jewish community should have considered those women unworthy, yet their characters earned them reputations of high regard…all except for Mary. Mary was the only woman in Jesus’ genealogy who was legitimately innocent: a nice normal Hebrew girl. Yet to this day, most Jewish community considers Mary a fornicator.
“The birth of Messiah Jesus came about in this way: After His mother, Mary, had been engaged to Joseph, it was discovered before they came together that she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. So her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce her secretly. But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Jesus, because He will save his people from their sins.’” Matthew 1:18-22
Then, there is this story.
“Jesus stooped down and started writing on the ground with His finger. When they persisted in questioning Him, He stood up and said to them, ‘The one without sin among you should be the first to cast a stone at her.’ Then He stooped down again and continued writing on the ground. When they heard this, they left, one by one, starting with the older men. Only He was left with the woman in the center. When Jesus stood up, He said to her, ‘Woman where are they, has no one condemned you?’ ‘No one, Lord.’ she answered. ‘Neither do I condemn you,’ said Jesus. ‘Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.’” John 8:6b-11
The first story involved a woman who faked adultery and thus ensured the line of Messiah. The second was unjustly accused of adultery because she bore Messiah. But the third should be closest to our hearts, for we have all committed spiritual adultery. And her story teaches us that Jesus is willing to FORGIVE adulterers with conditions.