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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Toddler Christ with nails

"The Nails"

Message summary: heryerye

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"This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put Him to death by nailing Him to the cross" (Acts 2:23). "When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; He has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross" (Colossians 2:13-15).

We saw the above painting, "Destiny" in our friend's home on Monday, painted by an artist who chooses to remain anonymous. It's thought-provoking artwork that stimulates spiritual reflection. When we observed the image we considered several things: the toddler apprentice, Jesus, picking up three spiked nails by His own volition as His father, Joseph worked at the carpenter's bench, looking down out of the corner of his eye. What was he thinking as he observed the scene. The toddler Christ's feet are planted on the foot of the cross His shadow forms, the two planks of wood possibly representative of the cross, the halo reminding us that Jesus came as a light to those in darkness, the sunshine outlining the cross which reminds of the resurrection Sunday that would follow three days later and that Christ will return one day in all His glory. Perhaps you can find more symbolism. The picture prompts a consideration today of the nails of the Crucifixion.

NailsThe first use of the word nail in the Bible in this sense is when King David provided "a large amount of iron to make nails for the doors of the gateways and for the fittings" of the Temple (I Chronicles 22:3). Until the end of the 18th century (late 1700's), they were made by hand; an artisan known as a "Nailer" providing them with a head and point.

The Tremont Nail Company in Wareham, Massachusetts, is the oldest continuously operating nail manufacturer in the United States, forging nails since the early 1800's and they're still stamping them out! When we lived in New England we would periodically drive by the Company and, although they didn’t have plant tours, I recall curiously stopping and looking through the windows to watch. The nails they manufacture are not the round kind we typically see, but square, peg-like nails. They are in demand for thiose desiring an historic, restoration look. At the little country gift store across the street I bought three of the longest ones I could find. Holding these nails, rubbing my fingers across their coarse surface, and considering their lethal purpose in Christ's crucifixion illustrates more vividly the price Jesus paid for our redemption.

Nails in wood We of course have no photographs nor are any details given regarding the nails that affixed our Savior to the cross, but they were likely iron spikes five to seven inches long. In the daily text the action of nailing our Lord to the cross is taken from the Greek word "prospegnumi” and literally means “to impale.” Did you notice that the English word "peg" is in the middle of the Greek word?  How indescribably horrible this form of death was.

Certainly Christ felt the physical agony of those long, thick, spikes driven into His hands and feet, in addition to the other horrible wounds He received. Almost anyone who has ever done carpentry work at some point has snagged a nail or stepped on one. That hurts!

But surely He also felt another type of pain or “nail” as He hung on that Cross for our sins:

Cross scene1. He felt the "nails" of blasphemy. This was demonstrated by the soldiers, the thieves crucified beside Him, the religious officials and the onlookers as recorded in Matthew 27:27-44. They mocked and hurled insults at Him, blaspheming the very One who willingly laid down His life for their sins. The opposite of blasphemy is worship and we are called to worship the Lord. In the wonderful song by Stuart Townend, "How Deep The Father's Love For Us" has this probing line, "Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice. Call out among the scoffers."

2. He felt the "nails" of rejection. This was demonstrated by the “other” unrepentant crucified criminal who hung on a cross beside Christ as recorded in Luke 23:39. He rejected Christ to his dying breath. The opposite of rejection is acceptance as taught in John 1:12.

3. He felt the "nails" of denial. This was demonstrated by Peter and is recorded in Mark 16:66-72. The opposite of denial is confession and Romans 10:8-10 calls us to confess with our mouth that, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead.

Games at the cross4. He felt the "nails" of indifference. This was demonstrated by the soldiers playing games at the foot of the Cross as recorded in John 19:23,24. The opposite of indifference is attentiveness and is taught in Hebrews 12:1-3.

5. He felt the "nails" of unbelief.  This was demonstrated by so many: those who stood watching from a distance; those who participated in the sordid events leading up to the crucifixion; those who carried out the crucifixion and this was most famously exemplified by the disciple, Thomas, in John 20:25.The opposite of unbelief of course is belief and as Christ reached out to Thomas he fully believed, declaring, "My Lord and my God!" as recorded in John 20:27-29.

Tragically, the majority of people continue to respond to the claims of Christ either by blasphemy, rejection, denial, indifference or unbelief.  But we who look upon and embrace Jesus' nail-pierced hands respond by crying out with Thomas:  "My Lord and my God."

We give thanks for those nails knowing that He was pierced for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities.  Surely He bore our sorrows and by His stripes we are healed.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we know that Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of man ordained by You for a miraculous birth, along with many signs and wonders that You performed through Him. He was handed over to wicked men and gruesomely crucified by the nails that bore Him to the cross.  This was done by Your set purpose and in Your foreknowledge.  But God, You raised Him from the dead, freeing Him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him.  And now He is exalted to Your right hand making intercession for us.  "What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss to bear the dreadful curse for my soul!"

Prayer based on passages from Acts 2

Lancaster County farm in snow 3/18/17
We passed this large farm on Hossler Road between manheim and Mount Joy returning from the Vouice of the Martyrs conference last Saturday.
This will probably be our last snow photo this season (at least we hope so!)
(Click on photo for larger image)

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"By the Mark"  Video   Dailey & Vincent

"Just Three Nails"  Video  Tommy Brandt

"Nails In Your Hands"  Video   Mercy Me

"Driving Nails"  Video 
Bruce Carroll

"Three Rusty Nails"  Video   The Spencers

"The Three Nails"  Video   Jimmie Davis

"Where the Nails Were"  Video  Won By One

"He Was Nailed To The Cross For Me"  Video  Steve Holder and Anointed Praise.

"How Deep The Father's Love For Us"  Video   Phillips, Craig, and Dean

Tremont Nail Company

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