In our current series we’ve been going through an old list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism published in 1648. In previous weeks we’ve been looking at how Christ was humbled in order to bring us eternal life. We’ve seen that Christ was humiliated throughout his life on earth and also by his death which involved Judas’ betrayal, the disciples’ desertion, the world’s rejection, the condemnation of Pilate, the torment of his persecutors, his experience of God’s wrath, becoming sin and experiencing pain and shame. This week I want to show that Jesus was humbled by being cursed.
If someone curses you, they usually desire supernatural forces to bring bad things upon you. Indeed, people can often be viewed as cursed when one horrible thing after another occurs in their lives. And if you are cursed it is certainly a humbling experience.
The Bible teaches us that ultimately it is God who curses people. Why? God warns that those who break his law are cursed: ‘However, if you do not obey the LORD your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come upon you and overtake you: You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the country. Your basket and your kneading trough will be cursed. The fruit of your womb will be cursed, and the crops of your land, and the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks. You will be cursed when you come in and cursed when you go out. The LORD will send on you curses, confusion and rebuke in everything you put your hand to, until you are destroyed and come to sudden ruin because of the evil you have done in forsaking him’ (Deuteronomy 28:20).
Moreover the law warned that those who were hung on trees were in danger of being cursed: ‘If a man guilty of a capital offense is put to death and his body is hung on a tree, you must not leave his body on the tree overnight. Be sure to bury him that same day, because anyone who is hung on a tree is under God’s curse’ (Deuteronomy 21:22-23).
So was Jesus cursed? Yes. As we have seen in previous weeks, Jesus experienced a painful humiliating life and death – an accursed death. Also, we can see that this cursing of God would be with good reason, as Jesus became sin for us. God rightfully cursed Jesus as he poured out his wrath on Jesus for our transgression of the law. We also have seen Jesus was hung on a tree and thus experienced the curse of God. Paul makes this clear: ‘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 tree”‘ (Galatians 3:13).
So why would the Son of God, who never needed to experience such cursing, humble himself and endure such an accursed death? Because of our sin we deserve to be humiliated for eternity in hell. But thankfully Jesus takes the eternal humility we deserve so we can have eternal glory instead. This eternal glory comes by trusting that Jesus was humiliated for you, including being cursed for you.
Do you trust in Christ’s humiliation for you so that you will have eternal glory in heaven?