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If a man has committed a sin deserving of death, and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his body shall not remain overnight on the tree, but you shall surely bury him that day, so that you do not defile the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance; for he who is hanged is accursed of God. (Deuteronomy 21:22-23)

Commentators have noted that, in ancient Israel, there were four ways a criminal might be executed: stoning, burning, sword and strangulation. Hanging a criminal upon a tree actually occurred after their death, perhaps, serving as a deterrent for others who might be tempted to do as they had done. This was particularly true for those who were executed for idolatry or blasphemy, and thus, being hung upon a tree was a token of infamy. In contrast to most cultures, however, the body was not left to hang very long. In fact, Jewish commentary says the person would be hung close to evening and then removed and buried before nightfall lest the land become defiled, as it is written.

I feel it is important to have this context to appreciate just what Messiah endured on our behalf. Yes, we know about the awful injuries to His physical body but consider the other elements of His execution. First of all, He was branded a criminal by His own people who claimed He as a blasphemer, and in their eyes, an idolater. Furthermore, He was handed over to the Romans who used crucifixion as a method of torture and shame. In other words, He was humiliated before an audience and put to death. Consequently, in the eyes of the Jewish people, He was considered someone who, like Cain, was cursed by God.

My point is that Messiah’s suffering was much more than physical; it was emotional, mental and everything else a person can suffer even though He was entirely innocent of any wrongdoing. So for those of us who realize the price He paid, we do not look upon Him who was hung upon the tree as a curse but a blessing from God because, without His suffering, we would be expected to pay for our sins. We should thank God each day for the blessing of Messiah’s obedience because, in the words of Paul:

“Messiah has 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’), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Messiah Yeshua, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” (Galatians 3:13-14)

Blessings and Shalom,  




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