March 08, 2016

The Curse of the Cross

Deuteronomy 21:22-23

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

—  Deuteronomy 21:23

In Bible times, dying by crucifixion or by being hung on a pole was the worst way to die. It was a slow, painful death. It was also public. You died before a watching world, not in the privacy of your home, with loved ones surrounding you. It also meant that your death was punishment for a crime. No one died naturally by crucifixion.

The biggest reason this kind of death was so awful was that it meant you died under the curse of God. Not only were you judged by others, but you died under God’s judgment. That’s the most terrible way to die. There’s nothing worse than facing eternity without the ­favor of God.

Death on a cross (hoisted up on a pole) is the way Jesus died for us. He suffered tremendous physical pain, but, even more, he died under the curse of God. He was sinless, but he became cursed for us. He carried all our sins and was judged for them.

It’s important that Jesus didn’t die from natural causes or in an accident. Only by dying on a cross could he take our sin away and restore us to a saving relationship with God. No human being could do that for us. 

God’s plan for our salvation is perfect. Be assured that by trusting in Jesus, you can live and die with God’s favor on you.

O God, we praise you that Jesus took the curse of our sin on himself. We bless you that by trusting in Jesus for salvation, we can live and die under God’s forgiveness. Amen.

About the author — Tom Groelsema

Tom Groelsema and his wife, Sheri, have served churches in Minnesota, Michigan, and North Carolina. They have four children and three granddaughters.

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