Revelations from the Word

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Jesus and the mamzer

by Jean-Louis Coraboeuf

"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. I know that you are Abraham's descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father. They answered and said to Him, Abraham is our father. Jesus said to them, If you were Abraham's children, you would do the works of Abraham. But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. You do the deeds of your father. Then they said to Him, We were not born of fornication; we have one Father – God. Jesus said to them, If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me" (John 8:36-42).

The Torah teaches us that "He who is the issue of an illicit union [ממזר, mamzer] will not enter the assembly of the Lord, even his tenth generation will in no way enter the assembly of the Lord" (Deuteronomy 23:2). The mamzer is an illegitimate child born of a relationship forbidden by the Torah (adultery or incest) (Leviticus 18:29 and Leviticus 20:10). The latter was excluded forever (meaning for ten generations) from the gatherings of the Lord, that is to say the solemn feasts, and the holy assemblies. According to the Halakhah, the Jewish Law, he was not able to marry a legitimate daughter of Israel, but only with a 'mamzeret', and their children then inherited from the mamzer status.

The Pharisees said to Jesus that they were not mamzerbecause they had Abraham for their father; by this expression they were implying that Jesus, He was a mamzer, because Joseph was not His biological father. That is why they threw stones at Him to make Him leave the Temple (John 8:59). Immediately afterwards, Jesus saw a man blind from birth, and His disciples asked Him, "Rabbi, who has sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?" (John 9:2). The disciples, like the Pharisees, thought that this blind man was a mamzer who "has been totally conceived in sin" (John 9:34 Interlinear).

But Jesus came to make manifest the works of God, not to judge people, that is why He healed the man blind from birth. He gave this man's dignity back to him, who was excluded from the holy convocations of the Lord and who had just been chased from the synagogue by the Pharisees (John 9:34). Jesus has come to break the curse which was weighing on the people of God by bearing it on Himself on the cross so that no one would be excluded from God's assembly any more. Through faith in Jesus Christ we have become sons of Abraham (Galatians 3:7) and we have been adopted as sons by God the Father (Romans 8:15). There is therefore no more condemnation or exclusion for those who dwell in Jesus Christ (Romans 8:1).