And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance. (Deut. 21:22-23)
Though judgment and condemnation of the guilty was necessary and carrying out punishment by the government of Israel would occasionally involve hanging the guilty, Israel was not to leave a corpse hanging out for all to gawk at or ridicule. The nature of the punishment was to be enough deterrent without glorifying the death itself or leaving the dead for scavengers who spread death and disease. The people would be defiled if they descended into such a death culture as their neighbors and the land would be defiled if bodies were left just hanging around instead of being buried. Moses told the people of the curse of God upon those hanged that they would remember and bury those who died upon a tree before sundown. He was also looking ahead to the time in which His own Son would be hanged on a tree, not for His sins for He had no sins of His own, but for ours.
For the Christian this passage has a particular meaning and fulfilment, because not only did Jesus take our curse when He was hung on the cross, but also the prohibition led Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea to remove the body of our Lord before sundown. Though Pilate was surprised that Jesus was dead, he allowed them to take the body in obedience to this instruction. God was telling those with ears to hear that all who are hanged are cursed. Since Jesus was without any guilt or fault for sin, having no sin of His own, the curse He bore was our curse for our sin. By faith in Him and His finished and perfect work on the Cross of Calvary we can have forgiveness of sins and a new life in Christ, a life of righteousness which He has already paid for and purchased by His own blood. When we repent of our sins, acknowledging that our sins have separated us from God and put our trust in Him and Him alone for Salvation, God, having put our sins on Jesus Christ, puts His righteousness on us. We can be free, not to sin more or continue in sin, but free from the curse of sin and alive in Christ to live the life which were meant to live by faith through grace.
God has sent those who are His and know Him out into this world to reach the lost that they might be saved from sin. He desires that His people strive to be holy and obedient unto Him that we might minister to those around us who are hurting and in need as He provides. We serve others, equipped with the Word of reconciliation and righteousness, rightly divided and fitly spoken, that they may see Christ in us, the hope of Glory. Our God has commanded us to love one another with an unfeigned love, even as He first loved us, and to disciple one another in the Word of God so that we may all grow in grace and in the Knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Our Lord has commissioned those who are His with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to go where He sends us in the power of the Holy Spirit. As we go, we are to proclaim the Good News of forgiveness through repentance and reconciliation with the Father through faith in His Son, that those who believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah of God might have life in His Name.
God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and the knowledge of the Truth. Jesus loves you and wants to establish a covenant relationship with you that is real and personal. Surrender to Him on His terms and He will give you a brand new life of discipleship and fellowship with Him that is abundant and everlasting. God calls you to faith in Christ and His finished and perfect work on the Cross of Calvary to pay your sIn debt. He has provided the only way of reconciliation with God, forgiveness from God, and Salvation through Jesus Christ, the Son of God who is God the Son, to give you a new life in Christ. Turn away from yourself and your sIn and turn to Him alone for eternal Life, now and always.