“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’” (Galatians 3:13).
In Israel, very serious crimes were punishable by death. On some occasions, we read that somebody was hanged on a tree. Such a man was “cursed by God” (Deuteronomy 21:22-23). Apparently, this was the most despised and humiliating sort of death penalty.
It is shocking to read that Jesus was “killed by hanging him on a tree” as well. He was crucified, which means He was hung on a wooden stake ‘the Roman way’. The Roman officials were probably not aware that crucifixion was especially cursed by God, but the apostles did notice the striking significance. Jesus Christ was willing to die this utterly shameful death, He was willing to “become a curse” in order to save sinful humans from the curse of the law.
And God the Father accepted His innocent death as the ‘payment’ for human sin. That becomes clear three days after the crucifixion: “The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree” (Acts 5:30). By Jesus’ atoning death, the curse is broken and the way to the Father is re-opened.
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