Read Joshua 2:1-14 & John 8:1-11
In both Joshua and John, we see women in need of a rescue. Rahab was trapped in a lifestyle that only leads to death. The woman in adultery was about to receive the consequences of adultery and idolatry: death. Whether these women willingly made these choices or were victims of circumstance, we simply don’t know. What we do know is that they both were staring death in the face.
Rahab’s people, the Canaanites, were enemies of God’s chosen people. Being both a Canaanite and in a lifestyle of ill repute, there was no other ending possible. Rahab needed a way out. Her way had come when the spies came to scope out the land. Quite literally, rescue had come into her home. Much like Peter in the New Testament, Rahab recounts the many miracles of the Exodus that God performs both to save His people and reveal Himself. Because of God’s testimony through these men, His revelation of glory and salvation, Rahab commits not only herself, but the lives of her family to what God is about to do in the midst of Jericho..
Out of Rahab’s confession, her life is forever changed. Jericho is captured and the promise to save Rahab and her family was upheld. Rahab is listed in Matthew as being from the family line of Jesus. Can you imagine, a prostitute is included as one of Jesus’ ancestors? And yet, she is. She is the mother of Boaz, a man of such noble character that he redeems another woman of pagan descent, Ruth. Rahab’s confession not only changes her trajectory but the trajectory of her legacy. In Rahab, we have an Old Testament example of God’s commitment to rescue His people.
We then see in John another example of God showing up at precisely the right time to rescue and forever change the life of a woman. The woman caught in adultery was being used as a pawn to trap Jesus. The Pharisees were not concerned with her holiness, but with carrying out their own agenda. Because of this, they were hiding behind the Old Testament as a way to take care of their problem: Christ.
This woman’s fate rested on what Christ would say. He was completely aware of the weight of His words. They were straight from the mouth of God. The irony is that the One who actually had a right to throw a stone never does. “He who is without sin cast the first stone.” None of them could take hold of that identity. But Jesus could. He was the only one in the room who was sinless. Yet, Jesus never picks up a stone. It may have even appeared to them as he bent down that he was reaching for a stone. What he does is lay down His right for punishment and reveals His character and compassion. “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” Quite frankly, Jesus had just saved this woman’s life and her soul.
Both the Rahab and the woman caught in adultery point us to faith and hope in Christ. Rahab’s role in the legacy of faith points forward to a Christ who will die to save the world. The woman caught in adultery points to Christ coming forth, stepping in the gap on our behalf to take on the consequences of our sin. Even though he alone had the right to cast a stone, he withheld it for the salvation of this woman.
What a glorious thought as we anticipate the resurrection. No longer does our ending have to be death. Jesus has already come and offers us a different way. My favorite verse in the whole Bible is John 3:17 “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn it, but that the world through Him we might be saved.”