Nails! What a simple invention! Yet perhaps the most essential device that holds civilization together. they are an archetype of technology, of civilization. Nails have been with us for at least 5000 years. What would we build without nails?
Nails connect one piece of wood to another to another. In time they create a home, a garage, a safe place, a sky scraper. A couple of nails and pieces of wood eventually turn in to a computer, an x ray machine, a man on the moon.
Nails. It is amazing what we can do. God has blessed us not only with a beautiful world, but beautiful brains that can build beautiful things. Like our Creator, we ain’t too bad at creating.
Yet more often than not, we do terrible things with the brains God has given us and the contraptions we make. We can even commit atrocities with just a few nails.
We laugh at ancient civilizations that bowed down before wooden idols. How can something made by man become the same man’s god! Ah, such idol worship has only become more sophisticated. If we can make that idol speak back to us, display images, temporarily heal our wounds, connect us to strangers half way around the world, satisfy our perverted desires – well maybe its worthy to be worshiped.
The worship of idols made by hands causes more americans to fall away from Christ than college professors or jackasses on t.v. As long as americans have their Super Bowl broadcast on high definition t.v.s and they can play farmville on their iphone, they could care less about what else is going on in the world, or what happens after death. As Pink Floyd sings, ‘we have become comfortably numb.’ Don’t bother us about sin, death, or anything serious. out of sight out of mind.
We love what we build. it has become our god. like the tower of Babel. we think we can reach the heavens. Yet no matter how much we invent, we have not changed our condition one iota. We are depressed and dying creatures staring at the boob tube pretending everything is ok.
Worse, if we aren’t admiring what we build, we are using our minds and our creations to kill and hurt our neighbors or ourselves. What’s the first thing we did with the internet? We treated women like animals through porn!
So it should be no surprise that with our brains and nails we made a cross out of a couple pieces of wood. We turned on our Creator. We have no King but Caesar, they cried. But they really meant, We have no king but ourselves. like Eve and Adam, we want to be God. We want to be the builder. We don’t like Him to tell us what to do with our bodies, our words, our hearts. We would rather kill our King than submit.
So they drove nails in the flesh of God.
Yet those nails didn’t kill Jesus. We did!
And those nails did not keep jesus on the cross!
His love for us did.
With those nails our Lord was raised up high. By those nails our Lord suffered and died. Yet with those nails, the Lord turned the tide and turned our worst act of rebellion into His greatest act of love! By His wounds we are healed, as Isaiah foresaw! By His wounds we are forgiven, our punishment replaced, our destiny destroyed.
With those very same nails, Jesus began to construct something amazing, something out of nothing! Something more marvelous than creation itself: A church! A people of God!
Sure enough Christ rose from the dead as He promised, yet the marks of the nails still decorated his hands and feet! And with these marked hands He sought after empty dead rebels, first his scared disciples, then you and me.
And with those marks of the Messiah, Jesus raises the dead in baptism, He makes enemies into friends, He makes rebels into a community, He brings back lost sons and daughters to the Father, to Home!
He who has begun this good work in you will bring it to completion on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ!
In other words, just as He told Nathaniel, you haven’t seen nothing yet!