Easter Reflection: The Curse of Hanging on a Tree

There are times when I find or re-find the verses that confirm references to things in the Bible that I know and hear from being in church and talking to Christian friends. When that happens, I always feel a sense of wow-ness. That is how I felt a couple of weeks ago when I came across this passage:

“And if a man has committed a crime punishable by death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is cursed by God.” (Deuteronomy 21: 22-23a, ESV).

Although these verses aren’t directly talking about Jesus’ crucifixion, for me they brought home anew what Jesus’ crucifixion means for me in real terms. These few verses talk about death by hanging on a tree as being so bad that it is cursed by God. Jesus’ crucifixion, in which He took on the punishment for my wrongdoing, my sin, and of the sin of all mankind, shows that God takes wrongdoing, or sin, so seriously that the just punishment – hanging on a tree – is one described as cursed by Him. But it also shows that God has such love, grace and mercy that instead of making me undergo that punishment, He willingly took it on Himself. What an amazing thought as we head towards Easter, a time to remember Jesus’ death and celebrate His resurrection.

“He (Jesus) himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2: 24, ESV).

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