In, The Cross Centered Life, C.J. Mahaney quotes Luther in explaining that we all carry the nails of the Cross in our pockets:
You and I follow along as the Romans lead Jesus away to the hill called Golgotha – – “Place of a Skull.” They nail His quivering flesh onto a cross, then raise it and slam it on the ground.
From all around us in the throng of onlookers, the verbal abuse continues. Those passing by wag their heads and say, “If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” The chief priests and the scribes and the elders echo the mockery: “He saved others; he cannot save himself.
Make no mistake: Jesus can descend from the cross and save Himself at any moment. It isn’t the nails that keep Him there. What keeps Him there is what placed Him there – – His passion to do the will of His Father, and His love for sinners like you and me.
Without their knowing it, the mocking words these onlookers utter do in fact reveal the uniqueness of the Savior’s death and why it mattered. In their spiritual blindness they in effect express sublime spiritual truths. For Jesus cannot save both Himself and save you and me. It’s precisely because He refused to save Himself that He’s able to save others.
It would be necessary for Him to die even if it were for your sin alone or my sin alone. That’s why you and I are fully responsible for this tragic death. As John Stott wisely observed, “Until you see the cross as that which is done by you, you will never appreciate that it is done for you.”
Luther said that we all carry in our pockets His very nails. Are you aware of those nails in your possession?