Jesus Be Cursed?

Pastor's Ponderings IllustrationBible Readings for the day: Psalm 99:1-9, 1 Corinthians 12:1-26, Song of Solomon 1:1-4:16
Meditational Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:2-3
2  You know that when you were Gentiles, how you were led, being carried away to these speechless idols.
3  Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.

“Jesus be cursed!”  Did people really run around shouting that?  Did they run around shouting that thinking that they were under the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit?  It appears so.  And Paul confronts us with the fact that saying, “Jesus be cursed” is not the work of God the Holy Spirit, but a false spirit.  It is an error in the life of the Church!

But most errors in the life of the Church have some seed of truth to them.  There is an element of truth in them that makes them plausible on the surface; but, when you examine them in depth, you see the error.  In Paul’s way of thinking part truth is total error.  So, what is the element of truth in the statement “Jesus be cursed”?

+First, look at the statement.  What does it say in terms we can understand?  Another way to translate this statement is “Damn Jesus!”.  “Curse”, “damn” they mean the same thing.  In Greek the word is “anathema,” which means something devoted (to God) without hope of redemption; to be cursed.  A long time ago I taught a confirmation class in which we discussed the meaning of “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.”  As one of the subtopics, we looked at cursing and how a curse is a prayer to God asking him to send someone to hell.  One of the young girls started crying because her father often (too often) said, “God damn you …” (I intentionally leave the name blank because if she reads this I don’t want to open up old wounds).  But back to the point:  people were running around, thinking they were under the Spirit’s control, yelling “Damn Jesus!”  The implication was they were calling upon him to be damned right now.

+What is the element of truth in this statement?  It is a great element of truth that is the basis of our right relationship with God the Holy Trinity.  As he hung on the cross Jesus was, indeed, damned by God the Father.  On the cross Jesus suffered all of the pains and torments of hell that I deserve!  It was no mistake that he called out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Read Psalm 22 in its entirety).  To be forsaken by God is to be damned!  And it happened on the cross.  This was Paul’s message; his message that some of the Corinthian Christians misunderstood.  In Galatians 3:13 Paul writes, “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'” (quoting Deuteronomy 21:23).

Think of it for a moment.  In a one time act, on the cross, Jesus suffered all the pains and torments of hell in my place.  In that one time act he paid the price for my sins because he was (and is) sinless and took my sins upon himself to pay their price in full!  It’s over and done with!  Jesus did it.  Note the past tense.  His suffering is over and done with.  He now lives and reigns as Lord and Savior (the second part of Paul’s statement in verse 3).  More importantly, he lives and reigns as my Lord.  By the power and inspiration of God the Holy Spirit I proclaim, “Jesus is Lord!”  And he is Lord because he became a curse for me and my sins.  But he rose again on that first Easter as God the Father’s sign to me that Jesus, indeed, paid the full and complete price for all of my sins.

When it comes to confessing saving faith in Jesus, it’s not enough to be partly right.  The Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Muslims are partly right.  But there confessions of faith concerning Jesus fall far short of the full, true, biblical confession brought forth by God the Holy Spirit.  God the Holy Spirit wants us to confess the full and true faith concerning Jesus and what he did for us on the cross.

A prayer:  Lord Jesus, by the power of God the Holy Spirit, I confess you as Lord.  Thank you for being my God in human flesh who came into this world to take my sins upon yourself, to pay their price in full by suffering the damnation I deserve, and rising again from the grave as proof that your work is full and complete.  Thank you for being my God who loves me beyond measure!  Amen!

Should you wish to access Pastor Kerner’s sermon archive, you can do so at

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 585 South St. (Route 75), Suffield CT 06078 USA  Should you wish to support this ministry, you can mail a check to the church.

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