About 14 years ago at a Good Friday service we had the opportunity to come forward at our church and pound a nail into a huge wooden cross. As we were pounding the nail, we were to say, “Jesus, it was my sins that nailed you to the cross.”This was a new experience for all of us and many of us needed a little time to think about it. We didn’t want to be the only one going up to the front of the church.
Out of the corner of my eye I noticed our Pastor’s son moving towards the cross. He was in a wheelchair and when he got close enough he came down out of his wheel chair and crawled to the cross. I held my breathe in anticipation as I watched him get ready to pound his nail into the cross. As he raised the hammer and struck the first blow, it was a horrible sound that echoed through the sanctuary and pierced my heart. I felt distraught as the realization came home to me in a profound and meaningful way. My sins had nailed Jesus to the cross.My eyes became filled with tears as I hung my head in shame. I thought about how I didn’t know if I wanted to be the only one up there and yet I knew that if I was the only one on earth, Jesus would have died for my sins. I got up from my seat and walked to the front of the church. I could hardly see as the tears filled up my eyes and spilled down my cheeks. I didn’t care at that moment if anyone saw me; this was a sacred moment between my Savior and me. I stooped down to pick up the hammer and the nail; I could barely say the words because my throat was tight with grief. I didn’t want to pound that nail into the cross because I didn’t want to admit that my sins had nailed Jesus to the cross.I rose up and I somehow managed to walk back to my seat. I felt a sorrow so great that my heart hurt as it hung heavy with grief. I couldn’t help but think of the words from the hymn
Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted:
“Ye who think of sin but lightly
Nor suppose the evil great
Here may view its nature rightly,
Here its guilt may estimate.
Mark the Sacrifice appointed,
See who bears the awful load;
'Tis the Word, the Lord's Anointed,
Son of Man and Son of God.”
As I sat there in the silence and thinking about my sins, my heart began to fill with peace. I knew that Jesus loved me and had forgiven me. The fourth verse of the hymn brought even more comfort to me.
“Here we have a firm foundation,
Here the refuge of the lost;
Christ's the Rock of our salvation,
His the name of which we boast.
Lamb of God, for sinners wounded,
Sacrifice to cancel guilt!
None shall ever be confounded
Who on him their hope have built.”