Then Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done.” And Jonathan told him, “I tasted a little honey with the tip of the staff that was in my hand. Here I am; I will die.” And Saul said, “God do so to me and more also; you shall surely die, Jonathan.” Then the people said to Saul, “Shall Jonathan die, who has worked this great salvation in Israel? Far from it! As the Lord lives, there shall not one hair of his head fall to the ground, for he has worked with God this day.” So the people ransomed Jonathan, so that he did not die. Then Saul went up from pursuing the Philistines, and the Philistines went to their own place. I Samuel 14:43-46 ESV
For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith. Galatians 3:10-14 ESV
There’s a story that when Captain John Smith and two other men were out exploring the area around the new Virginia colony that they had settled, he and his two companions were ambushed by Indians. The Indians killed the other two men, but John Smith was brought to the chief of their tribe, Powhatan. Powhatan condemned John Smith to death, and he was laid down so that the tribe could club him to death. However, the chief’s daughter Pocahontas threw herself between the men of the tribe and John Smith, and Chief Powhatan gave in and and spared his life.
No one is sure if this is a true story, but something similar really did happen to Jonathan. He had broken Saul’s rule about eating something on the day of an important battle. Even though he hadn’t heard the curse his father Saul had laid on anyone who ate anything his father condemned him to death. He was under a curse, and doomed to die. However, Jonathan had begun the battle with faith in God and great bravery, and he was a hero to the Israelite army. They wouldn’t allow their king to put his son to death, so Jonathan was spared and not put to death.
We were all also under a curse because we had broken God’s law, and under this curse we were condemned to death. It wasn’t because of anything good we were or had done that Jesus saved us from this curse, though. He saved us because he loves us. The way Jesus saved us was by being cursed himself. When he died on the cross, he was under God’s curse, and by taking on God’s curse he took it away from us. Now we are saved and blessed by God forever because of what Jesus did for us.
Dear Jesus, thank you for taking God’s curse away from us by taking it on yourself. Amen.