It is important that Jesus suffered under Pontius Pilate, but exactly how Jesus suffered is also essential to our faith as Christians.

Jesus was crucified.

Death by crucifixion is excruciatingly painful. In fact, the word “excruciating” comes directly from the Latin word for cross. Crucifixion was used by the Romans to torture and execute criminals, and ultimately to bring shame on them, so that others would think twice before committing the same crimes.

In His death on the cross, Jesus suffered the most horrifying and shameful death imaginable. And though He had committed no crime, He suffered the accursed death of a criminal. In His crucifixion, Jesus was despised and forsaken of men.

But more than that, Jesus’ crucifixion was a sign of God’s curse as well. In His own Law, God said, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.” Jesus hung on a tree in order to show that He was not just rejected by men, but smitten of God and therefore truly afflicted.

The death of crucifixion was a public spectacle. And it is important that Jesus died in this way, because it means that Jesus was lifted up for all to see.

God has publicly lifted up His Son for everyone who comes near, so that anyone who looks to Him in faith might be healed of their sins. And Jesus suffered such a terrible death in such a public way—the death of a criminal—so that we might have confidence that even we can be forgiven of our own crimes against the Maker of heaven and earth.

Jesus became a curse so that everyone who believes in Him might be freed from the curse of God’s Law.

We proclaim our faith in this truth every time we profess our trust in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord, who was crucified.

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