If within the city a man comes upon a maiden who is betrothed, and has relations with her, you shall bring them both out to the gate of the city and there stone them to death: the girl because she did not cry out for help though she was in the city, and the man because he violated his neighbor’s wife. Thus shall you purge the evil from your midst.
(Deuteronomy 22:23-24 NAB)
Prepare to be shocked.
According to today’s Deuteronomy passage, God himself violated the law by the very begetting of Jesus.
Luke chapter 1 describes the occurrence. Mary was within a city; the town of Nazareth. She was betrothed to Joseph. The Holy Spirit came upon her, overshadowed her, and planted a child in her womb. She did not cry out for help because she didn’t want or need it. As proof this was an infraction, Joseph believed he’d been wronged and planned to divorce her.
All of these facts line up to show a clear violation of the law laid out in Deuteronomy 22.
So at the very moment the new covenant was initiated, God himself broke an old covenant law related to sex and marriage. It was a sign of its passing, a tearing of a holy scroll which was worshiped by the religious right of the day.
The Spirit must have whispered to Mary “Don’t think about what you’ve been taught. Simply love me with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Mary responded by opening to his request, despite knowing she could be stoned to death as a result.
Since God begins the very life of Christ through a violation of marital law, it certainly points out that his followers’ view of law needed to change, and drastically.
What if Jesus was not offering his followers an ethical system to follow, but rather was inviting them to enter into a life of love that transcends ethics, a life of liberty that dwells beyond religious laws? The difference between following an ethical system and being consumed by love can be seen in the way that ethical systems seek to provide a way to work out what needs to be done so that it can be carried out. In contrast, love is never constrained, it never sits back, it always seeks to do more than what is demanded of it.