Daily Thought for: 16th January
ACCURSED OF GOD
Deuteronomy 21. 18-23; John 19. 31; Galatians 3. 13-14
Todays title is taken from verse 23 of our Deuteronomy reading. Undoubtedly, it applies to the Lord Jesus: how amazing that He should be made a curse for us! The threat of judgement hung over every lawbreaker, Gal. 3.10, and the penalty had to be executed. To redeem His people from that threat, He became accountable and bore the promised wrath. To make that obvious, His death involved Him being hanged on a tree, Acts 5. 30. Thus, He was made a curse for us, Gal. 3.13, for cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.
His the curse, the wounds, the gall,
His the stripes - He bore them all;
His the dying cry of pain
When our sins He did sustain. [John Cennick]
The background to the quotation in Deuteronomy 21 is the stubborn and rebellious son. City elders would hear the parents complaints, and then there was the stoning. As a further indignity, the offender could be hung on a tree. We never read of it happening! Hophni and Phineas were tolerated, 1 Sam. 3. 13, Absalom was pampered, 2 Sam. 13. 39, and the prodigal was pardoned, Luke 15. 20. The Son of God was neither stubborn, I delight to do thy will, Ps. 40. 8, nor rebellious, I was not rebellious, Isa. 50. 5: nor was He disobedient for He was declared to be obedient unto death, Phil. 2. 8. Approachable and sociable, He came eating and drinking, Matt. 11.19, but He was no glutton or drunkard, and yet He was hung on a tree.
Treason or treachery occasioned the hanging of the chief butler, Ahithophel, Haman and Judas; deservedly, the curse came upon them. The Son of God was loyal, kind and true, and yet He was made a curse. Though He was never stoned at the city gate, He was taken there, for He suffered without the gate, Heb. 13.12. Rulers at the gate were hostile, Ps. 69.12, as were the drunkards, at the opposite end of the social scale. Unlike the offender of Deuteronomy 21, He was hung alive on the tree. We worship as we ponder His willingness to experience such physical anguish, but, especially, the fact that He became a curse for us.