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Why did Jesus have to suffer so badly?

In Galatians 3:13 the Apostle Paul said, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us: for it is written,  ‘Cursed is everyone that hangs on a tree.’”

From this we see that Jews were actually under double condemnation. When father Adam sinned he brought God’s curse upon the entire human family. But Israel was also given the Law of Moses, which they were unable to keep perfectly. By falling short of the perfect standards of the Law Israel received a second condemnation. In Paul’s day, both curses had to be removed before any Jew could come into Christ.

So, not only did Jesus die to offset the sin of Adam, but by dying on a cross he removed Israel’s curse under the Law. The passage Paul refers to is found in Deuteronomy 21:22,23. “…if a man guilty of a capital offense is put to death and his body is hung on the tree, you must not leave his body on the tree overnight.  Be sure to bury him that same day, because anyone who was hung on a tree is under God’s curse… “

Being put to death is normally considered the ultimate punishment. But under the Law, after first being stoned to death, one who committed a particularly vile offense had their dead body hung from a tree. It was a punishment that added shame to one’s death.

This was the severest punishment under the Law, death with humiliation.

Paul said that Jesus was made a curse under the Law, and this was demonstrated by his hanging on the cross.  Though he was perfect and never sinned, Jesus was treated as the worst transgressor of the Law, one worthy of its severest punishment, death with humiliation. By being punished as one of the vilest offenders, Jesus provided an escape for every Jew, even the vilest offender.  Paul tells us in Colossians 2:14 that Jesus nailed the Law to the cross. Every Jew that believed in Christ was then freed from both condemnations.

But the Roman manner of execution was even worse than stipulated by the Mosaic Law. They treated Jesus as one of the vilest criminals. By his willingness to endure this awful punishment the larger message may be that Jesus’ sacrifice is even for the worst sinner of our race. It shows his deep desire to save all men, that there are none that are too bad to save. It is a demonstration of love going to the greatest lengths in making salvation possible for all.

To learn more about Jesus’ life and death listen to,

“Condemned to Death, How Did Jesus Love His Enemies?”

“What is the Legacy of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection?”