If a man is found sleeping with another man’s wife, both must die. Purge that evil from Israel. Deuteronomy 22:22 (MSG)
One of the reasons that I love the journey through the Old Testament is that it helps bring important perspective on the familiar stories of the New. Take the law I pulled out of today’s chapter, for example. When I read it, I immediately thought of a familiar story from John’s biography of Jesus:
Jesus went across to Mount Olives, but he was soon back in the Temple again. Swarms of people came to him. He sat down and taught them. The religion scholars and Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught in an act of adultery. They stood her in plain sight of everyone and said, “Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery. Moses, in the Law, gives orders to stone such persons. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something incriminating so they could bring charges against him.
Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger in the dirt. They kept at him, badgering him. He straightened up and said, “The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone.” Bending down again, he wrote some more in the dirt.
Hearing that, they walked away, one after another, beginning with the oldest. The woman was left alone. Jesus stood up and spoke to her. “Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?”
“No one, Master.”
“Neither do I,” said Jesus. “Go on your way. From now on, don’t sin.”
All of a sudden, there is greater complexity in the story of the woman caught in adultery and I have a greater appreciation for what Jesus did. Knowing that the law specifically called for both the man and woman caught in adultery to be killed, Jesus was wondering “where’s the dude?” But, Jesus didn’t make it a legal argument, he made it a personal argument. Rather than pointing them to the law, Jesus pointed them to their own sin and shortcomings.
God’s Message tells a story from beginning to end. I may have my favorite chapters, but I will never have the whole picture if I don’t know the whole story.