Thursday 9th April - Maundy Thursday - 11th Station - Jesus is nailed to the Cross
“Face to Face: Sieger Koeder
St John 19: 18 - 19
There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them. Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, ‘Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.’
What a picture!
The Roman soldier raises the hammer high preparing to strike the nail, while the crowd of people (and animals) look on. Their expressions reveal a host of emotions. What was each of those gathered feeling? What was the Roman soldier feeling? Was he feeling anything? Or was it just another day’s work for him?
A few years ago, I read a little book called simply ‘The Nail,’ written by Stephen Cottrell. The question that was being posed in it was - who killed Christ? Various characters in the story came forward to justify their actions - and pass on the blame. The Roman soldier, holding a nail, said that it wasn’t his fault. He was simply following orders and he put the nail down.
A few years previous to this, a group of us had gone to see Roger Jones’ musical ‘Mary Magdalene.’ We had to imagine the crucifixion - how can you portray this anyway? But what we could hear was the ringing sound of a hammer hitting a nail - over and over again That sound lives with me still!
Like that soldier, we have done things we know are wrong, but somehow justify them. Sometimes we have a good laugh at someone else’s expense.
Jesus on the cross shows the best of humanity - the Roman soldier perhaps the worst. Where in that gathered crowd are we?
Jesus, sometimes, like that soldier we have done things we know to be wrong and we have made our excuses. But just a your body received the hammer-blow of the nails, we know that your love also held you to that cross. We know too that your love and forgiveness reach deep down inside us and we are forgiven and made whole.
The Rev’d Sue Henderson retired URC Minister member of Bradford on Avon United Church