It Wasn't The Nails That Held Jesus On The Cross
In our church, it is not uncommon to hear someone say during our praise and worship, " Every time I think about Jesus, I feel good." or, " When I think about the goodness of Jesus, my soul cries out, Hallelujah!"
I reflect sometimes on a phone call I received from my brother a few years ago, before he went home to be with the Lord. I was at home in Atlanta, and he was in B'ham, Al. He called me, and I could easily tell from the tone of excitement in his voice that something good had happened, and I could hardly wait for him to share it with me. I knew or could feel that he had called to tell me something, but I didn't know what it would be. So after going through the how you do's and preliminary chatter, he finally said, Bro, I'm going to tell you something, and I want you to hear me out before you say anything. I agreed. Then he went on to say, Bro., the Cadillac I had that we loved so much, and we used to have so much fun in, I sold it and bought a truck. But I got a truck that is nice enough for me to drive to church. Now, I'm thinking to myself, did he say, "church", and did he say it so quickly and nonchalant, that it would shoot right past me. I continued to listen. He went on to tell me, you remember all the stuff we used to do, all the parties, all the girls, all the getting high, and hanging out. I couldn't contain myself, having a quick flash-back, I said "yes", who could forget those times. Then he said to me, Bro., " I didn't enjoy none of that." He said I realize now that I'm saved and sanctified, that all those things were just a waste of precious time. First off, I'm floored. I'm asking myself, how could he dare say that he didn't enjoy all of those times? I know he had good times, I was there with him. But it really sent me for a loop when my brain caught up with my racing emotions, and it sunk in that he said he was " saved and sanctified." He was happy, and I could visualize his smiling face by hearing the joy in his voice. He testified to how God had saved him, and he witnessed to me the Love of God. Shortly thereafter, he got a call on another line and had to go.
After hanging up the phone, I wondered whether God could love a wretch like me the way he loved my brother. I wondered if God could possibly look beyond all of my faults and failures, my sin and evil, and love me that way. My brother was eleven years older than I was, and to me, he was everything. I knew that he would never lie to me, or lead me wrong. I knew that I could trust whatever he said to me, because I knew that he loved me.
I Wanted To Know The Love of God
I held that conversation in my mind, playing it over and over again for weeks after. But now, it wasn't the revelation of not enjoying all those sinful things we did together. Now it was how to understand the love of God, the love that my brother told me was already mine in Christ. I had not been a regular in church since leaving B'ham, and truth be told, I only went then because it was required of me. I still wasn't ready to go back to church, but I was yearning to have that kind of intimacy with God. I began to take notice of Christian people. I realized that there really was something different about them, though I couldn't put my finger on it. I began to read the Bible on a daily basis. I began to watch Christian television broadcasts, hoping to find clarity of God's word, or confirmation to what my brother had said.
But way down inside of me there was still doubt and disbelief. It was almost impossible for me to believe that God could love me. After all of my sins, evil, and wickedness, God still loves me. I couldn't get a handle on it, I thought that I had done too much wrong, I thought that I didn't even deserve to be loved like that. I saw myself the way Paul often times described himself, as the " Chiefest Sinner." Then one day, on my way home from a hard day on the job, standing at the bus stop, and old lady walked up and stood beside me. She looked at me, smiled, and said, " Son, I don't know who you are, but you are special to God, and He told me to tell you that He loves you, and that He's going to reveal himself to you so that you'll know.
God Opened My Eyes
A couple of days after meeting the old lady, I was again at home making a sandwich and getting juice, so that I could sit down and read my bible. As I opened the bible, I heard a voice in my head saying read this passage of scripture from Matthew 27. These are the scriptures I was lead to read.
Matthew 27: 35-42,
And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots. And sitting down they watched him there; And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left. And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, And saying, " Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, Save Thyself." " If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross." Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, " He Saved Others; Himself He Cannot Save." If he be the King of Israel, let him come down from the cross, and we will believe him.
About as soon as I had finished reading those scriptures, that the Holy Spirit said to me, Now Do You See. They crucified Him. They nailed him in his hands, they drove the spikes into his feet. Then they that had gathered around at the foot of the cross reviled and ridiculed him to come down from the cross, to prove that he indeed was the Son of God.
Now I'm thinking to myself, Lord you know that I'm not the sharpest tool in the box, or the brightest crayon in the carton, you're gonna have to help me.
Then he made it plain, then he opened my eyes. He said, " It Was Not The Nails That Held Jesus On The Cross, It Was The LOVE of GOD."
Jesus could have come down, he could have simply stepped down and walked off into oblivion. But he stayed there, just to save sinners, like you. And to go further, he died, while you were yet a sinner, simply because God loves you so, and didn't want you to perish in your sins. Remember in the garden, when the soldiers came to arrest him, and he told them he could have called down legions of angels. Remember him telling Pilate, that though he was king, he had no power over him, except what was given from above. It wasn't the nails that held Jesus on the cross, truly, it was the Love of God.
Now I got it, and I received the love that God has towards me. I called my brother, and I told, " I didn't enjoy any of those times either. "