The Curse of the Tree
Passage: Galatians 3:1–3:14
There are two trees in the beginning of Genesis (the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden), and two trees at the end of Revelations (the Tree of Life and the Tree for the Healing of the Nations in the New Jerusalem); these are the bookends for the hundreds of references to trees throughout the Bible.
In the middle of the Scriptures, though, there is a different sort of tree--an ugly, brutal, blood-spattered tree. It is the cross, on which Jesus Christ was crucified.
In the ancient world, the bodies of criminals who were executed were often hung from trees, as a warning to others to obey the laws of the ruling authorities or face the consequences. According to Old Testament law, people who were hung in this manner were under God's curse.
Even though Jesus was perfectly innocent, without wrongdoing or sin, he was executed and hung from a tree like a common criminal. But he did not endure that agony and shame because of a simple mistake or a miscarriage of justice. He went to the cross willingly, for our sake. Due to our sinfulness and rebellion against God, we all deserve to be executed and hung from trees--we all deserve to be under God's curse. Jesus Christ endured that curse for us, so that we could be spared it.