The ancients had a strange custom. When they executed a man for crimes worthy of death, the penalty was often stoning. Then, to make an example of the malefactor and strike terror into the hearts of others, they put his body on display by hanging it on a wall or tree.
God’s law regulated this practice. “If a man has committed a sin worthy of death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his corpse shall not hang all night on the tree, but you shall surely bury him on the same day (for he who is hanged is accursed of God), so that you do not defile your land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance” (Deuteronomy 21:22-23).
Christ took our place, the place of a criminal. Christ was innocent. We are guilty. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us — for it is written, ‘CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE’” (Galatians 3:13).
Christ took up His work as a priest with this sacrifice of Himself on behalf of others. He bore the curse of death for people like us. We see the gravity of our sin. We also see the depth of Christ’s love. This is Good News. This is the Gospel we ought to believe.
To help you grasp this truth, click here and listen to the message, Christ, “Our Priest.”