The Cross – Part IIIDecember 10, 2006
Continued from // The Cross – Part II
The hammer came down with a thud, driving the nail into Jesus’ wrist, striking the medial nerve. Which sent excruciating pain through His arm and shoulder. The cry that came from him was painful even to hear – the hammer paused. Slowly, the echoes faded away. The Roman officer walked up to the soldier with the hammer and signaled for him to continue. After a deep breath, the hammer rose and came. The nail drove completely through Jesus’ wrist into the wooden cross. Again and again, the hammer rose and fell, each time followed by that same cry. Lethargically the Roman bearing the hammer went to Jesus’ other wrist. He readied another nail, and shakily raised the hammer. The hammer came down with a thud, again, driving into the medial nerve. Which sent excruciating pain through Jesus’ other arm. Every eye on the hill watched the hammer rise and fall, ramming the nine-inch spike through the prostrate man’s wrist. After the wrists, came the feet. Unable to stand up, the soldier picked up the third nail, and crawled to the foot of the Cross. His arms were visibly shaking as he placed the feet of Jesus on the cross. After two deep breaths, he raised the hammer, and brought it down on the nail head. Blood gushed forth as the nail penetrated Jesus’ feet and into the rough-hewn wood of the Cross.
With his job completed, the soldier tossed the hammer aside and crawled away, weeping. Some of the other soldiers laughed at him and readied the cross to be raised. When the soldiers’ laughter broke the silence, the crowd began jeering at Jesus again. “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One,” taunted one of the Pharisees. And another followed suit by shouting, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!” But Jesus said in a shaky voice, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” Upon hearing Jesus’ voice, a few of the jeering onlookers quieted down and walked off; their heads hung low in shame. Two of the soldiers jeered at the Roman for not being able to nail Jesus to the Cross. He replied in a quavering voice, “Don’t you realize that this is the Son of God?” Hearing a strange note in his voice, they left him alone.
As the Cross was made ready to be raised, Jesus felt the full weight of mankind creep upon Him. The sins of the entire world, past, present, and future were being laid upon The Perfect Sacrifice – Jesus. The burden felt like an actual weight, pressing Him downward. As the soldiers finished readying the Cross, Jesus’ thoughts drifted to every man and woman. He reflected on their lives, their emotions, and their choices; He felt their pain, both physical and mental. He grieved for their sins, praised their triumphs, and was filled with a love for each and every one. Even through the physical and mental pain, Jesus did not feel any anger or bitterness for anyone. He loved them all, no matter what they had done, or will do.
Continued on // The Cross – Part IV