Galatians 3:13. “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.”
Why is there a curse associated with hanging on a tree? Deuteronomy 21:22–23 teaches that there was a divine curse placed on a hanged person: “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. (The assumption here, of course, is that the hanged person was indeed guilty of a crime so heinous as to deserved this punishment.) You shall not defile your land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance” (ESV).
For most capital offenses covered by Jewish Law, stoning was the form of punishment. On some occasions the dead body would be hung in public as a deterrent to further crime. This law made it illegal to do so overnight (Leviticus 18:24–27;Numbers 35:3–34).
We deserved to be put to death for our sin. Jesus chose, in obedience to the Father, to allow Himself instead to be degraded, humiliated, tortured, and crucified as a substitutionary atonement for us. He could do that because He was fully God: Sinless, pure, holy. He could do that because He was fully man, taking His place among us for the purpose of fulfilling the Law’s demand for a perfect blood sacrifice to cover sin. The difference is that our sin is not merely covered by His blood. It is cleansed, made whiter than the snow, when we turn to Him in faith and receive the grace of His death and resurrection as our only way to heaven.
He became sin for us. The power of this truth has affected me deeply in this past year as I’ve finished up the study of the book of Matthew, spending several days looking at His crucifixion. He didn’t just die in my place; He became sin for me, Who knew no sin, that I might be made the righteousness of God in Him (II Cor. 5:21).
I am simply overwhelmed by His great love, and His amazing grace.