Deuteronomy 21:23: 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. You shall not defile your land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance. (ESV)
Jesus hung on the cross. He died a terrible death. He was made a curse for us, though he knew no sin, though he brought only blessing, in a great travesty of justice. He did not bear the curse for himself but for us.
To be accursed is to be separated from God on a permanent basis, to be cut off from his life, to not be recognised by God. To give us a picture of what it means to be accursed we should see what happened to the walled city of Jericho (Joshua 6-7).
When the city was to be conquered, everything there was meant to be destroyed, and the one who took something for himself from the city was likewise destroyed, together with his household, and properties and what was stolen. They were stoned to death with a pile of stone on them. Rejection does not go further than that. Jericho was supposed to be treated as “accursed.” Achan the man who was stoned to death with his family was also treated as accursed, together with anyone related directly to him.
Jesus was totally rejected as he carried the sin of humanity on the cross and he cried to God: my Father my Father, why have you forsaken me (Mark 15:34)? He went through that so we can come into the full embrace of God having been invested with the righteousness of Jesus. He was rejected so that we can be accepted.
That is why Paul said that the preaching of the cross is an offence to the Jews, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God (1Corinthians 1:17-31). It is an offence because to them, the cross is a symbol of a curse, but to those who believe in Jesus, the cross releases the presence of God to us. At the foot of the cross the world and flesh becomes cut off from us and us from them. What was shame for Jesus, was renewal for us.
Without Identification with Christ in his death, we could not be identified with him in his resurrection.
He gives a new meaning to the cross. It is now equally the symbol of death and life, burial and resurrection, rejection and acceptance. Jesus bore the curse so that we can bear the blessing. He was accursed so that the blessing of Abraham can come upon those who are in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:13-14).
It is at the foot of the cross that we meet the cleansing blood. On the cross, what was written as the list of things wrong with us, was nailed. The legal basis for the devil to hold us bound, hold us back in death, diseases and sin, were removed, and we are free, where Jesus was bound.
It is at the foot of the cross that we encounter the power of God for transformation. Through the cross Jesus passed from natural to the supernatural, from weakness to the highest level of authority. And now he has been given the name above every other name (Philippians 2:5-11). Before coming to the cross, Jesus was beaten and battered, after the cross, he rose up to be lord of lord’s king of kings. At the cross he was the Lamb of God, afterwards he is the fiery one, with a sword in his mouth.
To be accursed means to be taken out of the way, to be cut off. And that was what happened to Jesus on the cross. He spread his arm, had nails pierced them, he was made a public spectacle, with his friends and associates weeping, but he has a different interpretation of the event.
And when he was about to breath his last he said that: IT is finished, while others, both those who mocked him and those who wept for him, thought HE was finished. How could they have known the better since he was bloodied and sentenced to death?
Some might have even been wishing for a last minute miracle for him to save himself from death. Even now, there are people that might have informed some who claim that somehow the cross was a stage-managed event, with the real Jesus gone from the cross, and not really dying, because “God cannot die.”
How deluded! But the bible says that Jesus tasted death for all of us (Hebrews 2:9). To taste means to experience. If he did not really hag on the tree how can he taste death, if he did not really die, then the penalty for our sin was not really paid for and we are still far from God.
If he was not really accursed it means we are not really blessed. But the bible says that we have been blessed with all spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3). If God did not really walk the earth, therefore man could not really go up to heaven.
To be accursed is to be removed from a group. For Jesus, it means he is to be regarded as a non-Jew. To be accursed also means to be numbered with the wrong people. Of Jesus it was said that he was numbered with the transgressors (Mark 15:26-228).
Because Jesus was numbered among the transgressors, we are numbered among the righteous, in a divinely orchestrated arrangement. While Jesus was counted among the wrongdoers, though he knew no sin, he was made to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2Corinthians 5:21). Jesus went into the darkness of hell, so that we might go up into the light of heaven. Paul said that he became poor that through his poverty we might become rich (2Corinthians 8:9).
When he said my God why have you forsaken, me, it opened the way for anyone who is willing to come into the divine embrace, washed away from the sin of the past, made new creature (2Corinthians 5:17), with a new start, a new name, a new direction, a new commission. Paul said that we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which are to walk in (Ephesians 2:10).
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