60. Is there greater importance in His having been crucified than if He had been put death in another way?
Yes, as Paul also shows us when he says that He hanged on a tree to take our curse upon Himself and acquit us of it (Gal. 3:13). For that kind of death was accursed of God (Deut. 21:23).
In Deuteronomy 21, Moses speaks of a man who was hanged on a tree for committing a crime punishable by death. The people could not keep him hanging on the tree all night because “a hanged man is cursed by God” (21:23). Doing so would defile the entire land that God had given Israel.
This is a great lesson in a rather obscure section of the law, but what does it have to do with Jesus? One could see the obvious connection between a man hanging on a tree and Jesus hanging on a cross. But would anyone dare go further than that? Would anyone dare call Jesus “cursed by God”?! Isaiah called him “smitten by God”, but… “cursed”?
First we need to consider why the man in the law was hanged in the first place. He had committed a sin punishable by death. To my knowledge the only example of hanging in the Pentateuch is in Numbers 25, the great Moabite rebellion. Surely we cannot say that Jesus committed a sin so heinous that he would be punished by hanging, can we?
Paul does. In Galatians 3 Paul is making the case that we cannot become righteous by doing the works of the law. We cannot accomplish all that the law commands, and we are thus under a curse if we are relying on the works of the law. The righteous one must live by faith that God will remove our unrighteousness and make us righteous before him. Paul shows us that this was accomplished when Jesus became a curse for us. We committed the sins punishable by death, but he was the one hanged on a tree. He had to be hanged on a tree to bear our curse. This is why we preach the cross. It is only through Christ crucified that our curse is removed.