DayBreaks for 1/13/17: The Man Who Drove the Nails
FROM THE DAYBREAKS ARCHIVE, January, 2007:
The Bible doesn’t tell us the name of the man (almost certainly a Roman soldier) who drove the nails into the wrists and feet of Jesus. The Bible tells us the name of the man who betrayed him, but not of the man who actually crucified him. It isn’t likely that it was the centurion who stated, “Surely this man was the Son of God!” because centurions typically stood around and directed activities and left the work to the private or corporal. I wonder, though, what the man must have thought as the afternoon wore on and the skies darkened, the earth shook and Jesus died. I wonder if I’d have been able to sleep that night. If my wife asked me, “What did you do today, honey?”, what would I have told her?
As I was browsing a book today in the Christian bookstore (it looked real good but I didn’t buy it yet – you know, cash flow!), I was captivated by a thought in one of the books I read. The name of the book was When God Weeps (I think that was it), written by Joni Earickson Tada and Steve Estes. At one point in the book, they were reflecting on the crucifixion of Christ and God’s willingness to endure suffering like one of us rather than to distance Himself from what we have to experience.
Christ had all power – for in him dwelt the fullness of God. He could have called legions of angels at any time to do his bidding, for how could one of his angels not have obeyed his command? But what I’d never quite pictured or thought about was this: Colossians 1.16b-17 tells us that everything that exists was created by Christ. That includes the mountains, lakes, skies, earth, you, me, our dog, and yes, even the person who pounded the nails into his hands was created by the Crucified One. But Colossians 1.17 also tells us that “…and in him all things hold together.” I think that means exactly what it says. At a subatomic level, what is it that makes all the particles of an atom hold together? Christ’s power. What is it that makes atoms bond together to form molecules, compounds and chemicals? Christ’s power. What is it that holds people together? Christ. What holds the universe in control so the moon doesn’t go spinning off into space, or the earth go spinning into the sun? Science would say gravity – I would say Christ.
But here’s the thought that I read that struck me: not only did God have to be willing to suffer as a man for man’s sake, but the same God who was suffering as the nails pierced his flesh was holding together the atoms of the man’s body that was doing the crucifying. With just one thought, Christ could have willed the man’s atoms to dissociate from one another and the man wielding the hammer would have disintegrated and been no more. According to Colossians 1.17, Christ was the one who held the man together, who willed the man to stay together, to finish the task that he had begun with the first swing of the mallet.
Commitment to purpose. Commitment to mankind. Commitment to obedience. Commitment to love, no matter what the cost. “Be imitators therefore of Christ…”
PRAYER: Father, thank you for the commitment of Christ to see the job through, to not just start the ball rolling for our salvation, but to drink the cup to the dregs. Teach us to be more committed to you and self-controlled. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2016 by Galen Dalrymple.