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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Sharp (03/07/13)

TITLE: The Nailer
By Adele Threadgold


Claudius was an industrious worker: he prided himself on the superiority of his goods. One of his dreams was to open his own blacksmiths in Jerusalem. He was weary of being a nailer, which he had been for the past ten years: he wanted more. More fame, recognition and wealth. He had limited fame, but that was not enough for him.

That morning as he went to his workshop as customary, he happened to overhear two locals speaking about a commission from the Roman guard that could bring about a great reward.He drew closer and made enquiries. “This Passover a spectacle is to be made of Barabbas, the insurgent. He is to be crucified and they want the sharpest nails to hammer him to a Roman cross outside of the city. The governor will award the nailer who supplies the nails full Roman citizenship.

Claudius couldn’t believe his ears, he would win the prize of Roman citizenship indisputably; something he so earnestly desired. Who made better nails than him? No one! And to make sure of it, he decided to fix the other nailers´ mixes of iron with a little dust and wood.

Later that day, full of enthusiasm, he called the Roman guard to present his finest quality nails. As the guard came by he swelled with pride. The guard picked up a sample of the freshly hardened nails and hammered them into the wood that Claudius had supplied. “These are perfect: they are just the ones we need.” The guard said, handing over a bag of coins. Your nails will be used at the crucifixion for Barabbas I am sure they will keep him there until he dies”.

Claudius felt slightly guilty knowing what his nails were going to do, but peeking into the bag and seeing so much gold glistening at him, his conscience was soon swept aside. What good things he could buy for his wife this Passover – they could even buy a lamb to present to God. He was so proud of himself and knew Maria his wife would be too.

When he got home he was so jubilant and consumed with his ideas of what the coins could do, he hardly noticed his wife´s distress. Maria had been crying and her eyes were red. “Jesus is to go on trial tomorrow.” She said. Claudius always liked a public trial where the crowd could choose who went free. Jesus was a good man, but he would go and see what happened.

Early the next morning he went along to the courtyard, already a large crowd had gathered. Then Pilate brought out two prisoners: Barabbas and Jesus. There was no contest; Barabbas was a notorious prisoner the crowd would call for him to be crucified. He began to walk away but then the mob started to call for Jesus to be crucified. Pilot then did something very unusual: he asked for a bowl of water to be brought out and then he washed his hands. To Claudius’ astonishment Pontius let Barabbas go. Then it hit him: If they weren’t going to use his nails for Barabbas then who would they be for?

He wandered the streets until just after the third hour – his nails would hammer Jesus to the cross. He tried in desperation to see if there was any way to get the nails back, but it was too late. On the road outside the city in the place known locally as Golgotha were three Roman crosses. He ran to the foot of Jesus’ cross and cried out in anguish to God for forgiveness: his nails had pierced the hands of an innocent man. Then he heard a small voice say to him “It wasn’t your nails that put him there, it was your sin.” In utter despair, knowing it to be true all he could do was to go home, crawl into bed and sleep; perhaps it would all go away.

Beep beep, beep beep. The alarm shrilled; it was 6 in the morning. Claud pulled back the covers and looked stared at the clock. It had been a dream, but he knew what was required: something he had been putting off for a long time. He got out of bed, kneeled on the floor and asked God to forgive him and invited Jesus into his heart.

Maria, his wife, smiled heavenward, she had been praying for Claud´s salvation for a long time and now her prayers had been answered.

Note: In ancient times blacksmiths who only made nails were referred to as nailers.

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This article has been read 444 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Bonnie Bowden 03/15/13
Thought provoking and interesting perspective.

There were a few punctuation errors, but it did not distract from the strength of the piece.
Joseph Veseli03/16/13
Very nice!!! I liked the nailer idea and the twist at the end was unexpected.

I agree, there were a few punctuation errors, but overall, I thoroughly enjoyed it!!!
Judith Gayle Smith03/17/13
Great story! I love how the nailer was told that it was not his special nails that bound Jesus to His cross, but his/our sins.
C D Swanson 03/17/13
Powerful! Nicely done, this was right on topic and held my interest from start to finish.

God bless~
Loni Bowden-Horn 03/19/13
This was a powerful piece from beginning to end.
I thought this had a unique twist from the nailers point of view.

To make the piece stronger towards the end, ...beep, beep. I may have put emotion into waking up with something like this, "Claudius awoke in a cold sweat. He couldn't get the vision of the nailer out of his head.

I thoroughly enjoyed this piece. Keep writing.
Virgil Youngblood 03/20/13
I had never considered the making of the nails, but of course, someone did. It was a great perspective on which to base this story. “It wasn’t your nails that put him there, it was your sin.” That sentence is powerful and brings conviction. Well done.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/22/13
Congratulations on ranking 7th in level one!
Janet Kelly03/23/13
Very good story. I enjoyed reading this. Your ranking was good but I really thought it should rank higher. Very good job.