But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.(Galatians 4:4-5)
When God became a man, He put himself under the law. In every sense possible Jesus was yoked underneath the heavy load of the Law of God. The entire moral, sacrificial and ritual law were placed upon the MEssiah from birth.
At the very beginning we are told of Jesus’ circumcision. He too was circumcised the eighth day according to the Law of Moses, and His mother who bore him had to undergo the ritual purification rite.
And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called Jesus, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb. And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.(Luke 2:21-24)
Circumcision presupposes sin and guilt. It is a ritual that implies that we are fallen and not acceptable as we are naturally. Particularly in that part of us that transmits natural life, we must be altered ,something painful and limiting must be applied to us. Birth makes a woman unclean, and for the male, seminal emission is uncleanness. This is the Old Testament teaching of original sin.
The Savior first shed his blood when he was circumcised in the temple according to the Law of Moses.
But the Messiah had no original sin, so why should He be circumcised? To fulfill the purpose for which He came into the world, as Isaiah told us, “He was numbered with the transgressors and bare the sin of the many…”. He who knew no sin became one with us, not in guilt, but in liability to the law of God.
He underwent the discipline of the entire law of God, growing in His knowledge of it, being a disciple of the Law, and at 13 becoming a “Bar Mitzvah” , a Son of the Law of God. In all things He kept the spirit of the Law as well as the letter. King David was prophesying through the Spirit of his greater son, the Messiah, when he said things such as ;
With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Blessed art thou, O Lord: teach me thy statutes. With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches. I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word. Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word. Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. I am a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me. My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times.(Psalm 119:10-20)
Only of the Messiah could it be said by the Father in Heaven, “This is my beloved Son, in Him I am well pleased”, for in Him alone does the heavy law of God find its complete satisfaction. What is he end and goal of the Law of God anyway, but to draw men to love God and to each other…“Thou shalt Love the Lord Thy God, with all of they heart, and with all of thy soul and with all of thy mind and all of thy strength… and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”.
Jesus alone proved capable of doing the above in a complete and inward sense. His human life was a love offering to the Father. He did not hate or oppose the law of God, Jesus loved, treasured and even magnified it. His interpretation of the Ten commandments, that they are to be spiritually followed and not merely externally, is what convicted me personally of my sin and eventually led me to God.
The law which He upheld in its entirety, we have all broken. Now the law demands death for the transgressor, and Life for the keeper thereof. At the prime of His life, the Messiah credited His Law Keeping to you and me, and made himself liable for our law breaking.
He was condemned under the law, by the High Priest, (the chief executive of the law of Moses). The charge was blasphemy, a charge which pretty much sums up my lifetime of slights and distortions towards God.
He wasn’t stoned, however. The holy logic of stoning is that because the LAw was written on stone, transgression of the law called for stoning. The law breaks you, you don’t break the law.
THe Messiah instead fulfilled in his death another aspect of the Law, He was crucified,(Hanged). Deuteronomy tells us that Hanging is reserved for a particular type of transgressor, one who is actually cursed of God!
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.(Deuteronomy 21:22-23)
It should be of interest that Pilate unknowingly performed another ritual from Deuteronomy 21, at the trial of Jesus. The Law of Moses decreed that should an innocent person be found murdered in a city and the murderer is unknown, the elders of the city should gather, slay a heifer and wash their own hands over the innocent heifer.
And all the elders of that city, that are next unto the slain man, shall wash their hands over the heifer that is beheaded in the valley: And they shall answer and say, Our hands have not shed this blood, neither have our eyes seen it. Be merciful, O Lord, unto thy people Israel, whom thou hast redeemed, and lay not innocent blood unto thy people of Israel’s charge. And the blood shall be forgiven them. So shalt thou put away the guilt of innocent blood from among you, when thou shalt do that which is right in the sight of the Lord.Deuteronomy 21:6-9)
The Messiah, who hung between heaven and earth upon that cross, naked, defenseless against his tormenters and their mockery, derelict of friend and lover, and abandoned even of God, was cursed of God indeed!
But not for himself, for he took upon himself our curse which we deserve- “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, for it is written,’cursed is everyone who hangs upon a tree”(Galatians 3:13)