Where were you when they nailed Jesus to the cross? I remember the day when God showed me so clearly where I was. I have a vivid imagination and God uses this many times to give me a spiritual picture of where I am with Him. On this particular day I was in church during a communion service where we had been asked to write particularly bothersome sins on scraps of paper and pin them to a wooden cross at the altar in a symbolic gesture of ‘nailing our sins to the cross of Christ’ in order to be rid of them. Back in my seat, I felt uneasy about what I had just done, though I wasn’t quite sure why I would feel this way.
I meditated upon the crucifixion scene and wondered where I would have been if I was there. I used to think I would have been among the women crying at the foot of the cross – not understanding why the Lord had been treated this way, but accepting the will of God and felling sad that He had suffered so much. But I was not there.
Perhaps I was with John, the disciple, confused and sad to see my Teacher, my Master, my Friend dying such a horrible death? He had done no wrong – this wasn’t fair! But no, I was not with John.
Perhaps then I was one of those other disciples who loved Jesus dearly but was afraid of getting caught up in the tragedy and being put to death myself? Perhaps I was hiding somewhere? That sounded like me! No, I felt the Lord’s leading, that was not me either. Surely I was not one of those calloused, hardened soldiers casting lots for His clothes? I was shocked at the very thought.
With my spiritual eyes I looked down at my hand and saw three heavy nails. As I looked at the nails I saw that my sins were written on them and I understood the meaning of my earlier uneasiness – those flimsy bits of paper fluttering in the breeze might ease a guilty conscience, but they were a sorry gesture of the price my Lord paid that day. I looked then at my other hand. It held the heavy hammer that was also engraved with sins – my sins and yours. As the nails with our sins were driven into His flesh I suddenly realized the weight of that scene – this was the Son of God and we crucified Him – our sins put Him on the cross.
I heard once that if I was the only person on earth, Jesus would still have died for me. I had thought at the time, “How wonderful. How important I must be to Him.” But now I realized the sad truth. If I was the only person on earth, Jesus would still have had to die to save me, because I could never have saved myself – my sinful nature would always fall short of God’s holiness.
Where were you when they nailed Him to the cross? I don’t know where you were – but your sins were there, with mine, in the nails.