January 26, 2018


Galatians 3:5-14

Anyone who is hung on a pole is under God’s curse.

—  Deuteronomy 21:23

Taking this Old Testament Scripture literally seems to imply that Jesus is cursed by God because he was crucified on a pole (also translated as “tree”).

However, Paul offers a clarifying interpretation in Galatians 3:13: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.’” Here Paul teaches us to read the Old Testament through the lens of Jesus’ cross and resurrection. In his death, Jesus represents ­every human being. He took the curse of God on himself so that ­every believer would be blessed rather than cursed. Then Paul explains further, “He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus.” The blessing given to Abraham— that he was credited with righteousness for believing God’s promises—is now for people of all nations (the Gentiles). We can be similarly blessed by having faith in Christ.

Jesus became a curse for us all so that all our sins could be forgiven. Jesus experienced hell and separation from God so that we would never be separated from God. Jesus became a curse so that we could be redeemed from the curse of the law.

What a tremendous blessing for all who believe in Jesus as their Savior from sin. Do you believe in him?

Thank you, Jesus, for taking the curse of the law upon yourself, redeeming us from our slavery to sin. You have set us free and given us new life! Amen.

About the author — Dean Deppe

Dean Deppe has been a pastor in inner-city, suburban, and rural ­churches. Currently he teaches New Testament theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. His courses include one on the parables of Jesus. He and his wife have four grown children.

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