Ever wonder why Jesus had to die – and not only THAT he had to die – but why he had to die THAT way? I mean- couldn’t he have been drugged or drowned or decapitated? No – He had to endure the most gruesome, painful, humiliating, excruciating death possible… WHY?
And wasn’t being hung on a cross enough? Couldn’t they have skipped the crown of thorns at least – geesh – I can’t imagine having all of those needles piercing my scalp and forehead and into my eyeball sockets. And couldn’t they have just tied him to that cross instead of nailing him to it!
Seems like overkill.
I remember watching the Passion movie several years ago – and one of the scenes that just hit home with me and stuck in my heart was after they had nailed Jesus to the cross, they flipped over the cross and bent the nail. My heart jumped – why would they do that!!! I mean - when I bend a nail like that, I expect never to be taking it out again. It seemed so permanent. I know – it’s kinda silly to focus in on such a small detail when Jesus was put through so much – but that scene more than any other still my heart cries, ‘WHY’!?
There was a hurricane that hit North Carolina several years back, and whole neighborhoods were wiped out by the winds. This one neighborhood was hit particularly hard – all mansions and ½ million dollar houses – every one of them was leveled. Yet – just one street over were a bunch of less expensive houses built years before, and they were all still standing. As the crews came in to start the clean-up, they were puzzled – and went to the folks who had built the houses that were still standing. What did you do that made your houses stand while ours were destroyed? Simple – where you used staples – we used nails.
Seems if you want to build something to last through the storms, you gotta use nails.
In a way, that answers our question about why Jesus died the way he did. See – part of His purpose coming here was to establish His Church on earth – he came so that 2000 years later, you and I would be here today. We are the mystical body of Christ – we are the representatives to the world that this is not some fairy tale. No – Jesus was real – He IS real. We know what happened on Good Friday really DID happen and fortunately, we also know how the story ends. We are here to take that message to the whole world both now and into the future. Jesus needed to build a church that would last. In order to do that, he had to show beyond a shadow of a doubt how deep his love is for us. He had said himself that there was no greater love than to lay down one’s life – so he HAD to die because that was his purpose: to show us how much He loved us. He also had to have those nails bent – overkill we might think – but if that’s what it takes to get MY (your) attention, that’s what He had to do. He knew his church would face storm after storm, heresy, scandal, relativism, and perhaps worst of all – apathy. Any one of these storms could tear apart a church. But that’s why Jesus died like He did.
Because if you want to build something to last through the storms, you gotta use nails.