Summary: To show Christ’s compassion on the Cross.
Title: He Chose the Nails
Theme: To show Christ’s compassion on the Cross.
Text: Colossians 2:13-14
Note: with help from Max Lucado’s book "He Chose the Nails"
Col 2:13 (KJV) And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
Col 2:13 (CEV) You were dead, because you were sinful and were not God’s people. But God let Christ make you alive, when he forgave all our sins. 14 God wiped out the charges that were against us for disobeying the Law of Moses. He took them away and nailed them to the cross.
Today is a day of celebration. This is commonly known as Palm Sunday and commerates the day that Jesus walked through the crowd as a victor and they praised and worshiped him with palms. It was a glorious day that would herald in the dark day. What we call Good Friday but from the outset it would seem to say, “What is so good about this Friday?”
The picture is one of horror. Through the crowds you could hear the murmur. There comes a man beaten and ridiculed, carrying a cross. Hardly recognizable from the torture that has been administered.
So weak that he needed assistance to carry it the full length. Yet the picture gets worse. They finally arrive on that hill called Golgotha. Nothing ever happened on Golgotha but death. You see Golgotha is the “place of the skull”.
As they arrive the soldiers shove the Carpenter to the ground and stretch his arms against the beams. One presses a knee against a forearm and a spike against a hand. Jesus turns his face toward the nail just as the soldier lifts the hammer to strike it.
Jesus could have stopped them
Could Jesus have stopped him? With a flex of the biceps, with a clinch of the fist, he could have resisted. Is this not the same hand that stilled the sea? Made the cords of wip and cleansed the temple? Summoned the death with just a spoken word? Surely he could have resisted.
But the fist doesn’t clinch, the biceps doesn’t flex . . . and the moment isn’t stopped.
Can you hear the hammer ring as it hits the nail, skin rips and blood begins to drip and finally pour. Then the question is asked, even by his enemies, “Why? Why didn’t Jesus resist?”
Why didn’t those hands that healed the blind and make the lame to walk deny the pain that was felt? Why?
“Because he loved us,”. Such a good answer but we are not done yet. For you see that is only partially true though. There is more to his reason. Understand, he saw something that made him stay. As the solider pressed his arm, Jesus rolled his head to the side, and with his cheek resting on the wood he saw:
A hammer? Yes
A nail? Yes
The soldiers hand? Yes
He looked and saw the Hand of God
But he saw something else. He saw the hand of God. It appeared to be the hand of a man. Long fingers of a woodworker. The Callous palms of a carpenter. It looked common. It was, however, anything but.
These are the very fingers that formed Adam out of clay and carved the word in clay tablets.
With a wave, this hand toppled Babel’s tower and split the Red Sea. Egyptians remember this hand when they think of the locusts that plagued their homeland. Or Elijah as he was fed by the raven.
No wonder the Psalmists proclaims, “You drove out the nations with your hand . . . It was Your right hand, Your arm, and the light of Your countenance” Ps 44:2-3.
It was the hand of God almighty.
Oh the hands of Jesus. Hands of the incarnation at his birth. You see he is “God with us” as the angel proclaimed to Joseph at the birth of Jesus. Hands of deliverance as he healed the blind and made the lame to walk again. These are hands of inspiration as he taught the disciples and hands of service as he washed their feet. But most of all these are hands of salvation. As was prophesied at his birth “and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21
Purpose of the nails was more than just to hold his hands
As the crowd looked on they concluded that the purpose of the pounding was to keeps his hands on the beam. They could never be so wrong. Oh we can’t fault them for missing. They did not understand. Even his own disciples did not understand as a matter of fact it was not until after the resurrection did his mother understand the true purpose of her son. But it was not the nails that held him to the cross it was his love for you and me.