It was Thursday and the sun was hot . The narrow street was just as dusty as people were walking in and out of the city gate. It was a relatively quiet day apart from the clanging from his shop, where this blacksmith was working the whole day. It was two days before the end of the Passover and he must hurry up to finish his job to attend to the festivities.
In a few minutes , this narrow street was teeming with people coming out from their houses. It was because of the rumor that spread around. It was about the man from Galilee who just entered into the city, a few days back. The men huddled, while women and children were eavesdropping. Some believed He was a great teacher from above while the few vocal doubters charged Him as an impostor. Most were puzzled and went away having more questions than answers
He did not mind. He seemed not to hear the commotion outside.
“I must finish this before sunset”
, he sighed after he drank his last water from his wineskin. He stared to the nine pieces of cast iron placed at the top of the anvil. He smiled.
“There is still much time to taper all these and grind
”, he thought, “ Before sunset all must be ready for pick up.
He paused as he stared into the wall blankly. He pondered.
“But why did the Roman soldiers want me to make these special nails urgently?
Suddenly, he got an idea.
“ I will inscribe at the head of three of these nails with capital letter S for special”
He tried to hide his smile about the silly idea. But, he did it anyway.
He went back to his poundings and grindings in his shop.
Later, he heard footsteps. He knew they were Roman soldiers approaching for the familiar tapping of military shoes. He handed them the brand new iron nails. They saw the letter S. The officer smiled wryly looking at him, while nodding his head without saying a word. Being impressed, he gave him ten pieces of silver and left immediately. He couldn’t believe it. It was more than quadruple to the usual pay.
“Was it the letter S?”
, he thought, “ I did not realize it was a clever idea.”
Never was a walk back home happier than this time.
Early the next morning, he was awakened up by the commotion outside. He heard his neighbors talking to each other. The Galilean will be crucified. They talked about the miracles and wonders this man did in Galilee. He moved in closer to hear more. He suddenly became interested about this man.
Before noon time, a mob was nearing. The chanting was drowning, Crucify Him! Crucify Him. Even at a distance, the long robes of the Pharisees among the angry mob, stood out. A few women followed sobbing along the way. He saw three men carrying their crosses. One was the Galilean. Their feet wobbly. Their robes were blood stained from the beatings of the heartless Romans.
At one moment, this man halted and looked up. They exchanged glances. Though the man’s face was marred, he saw conspicuously his saintly smile. There was compassion in His eyes. He was pricked in his reins. His heart pounded faster as the man struggled slowly on the rugged road.
The mob became much frenzy. He followed from behind up to the hill called Golgotha, just outside the city.
Then, he saw the three crosses raised slowly by the soldiers while the officer watched on by. They laughed and mocked at them. They had a good fun. He recognized them. It was they who went to his shop the previous day.
Now, his heart even beat faster.
He saw the man from Galilee suspended between heaven and earth between two criminals. The sight was almost unbearable - his head crowned with thorns; his face marred by blood; his disfigured body wrapped all over with bruises; his side with a spear’s wound with blood and water gushing profusely and his ribs protruding when he gasped for air.
Moreover, he saw the hands and feet fastened to the tree dripping with blood. And, yes, he saw the three big iron nails. It was almost three in the afternoon. And, the sun was scorching. But, he felt very cold unusually inside when he saw the nails. As if he was stabbed inside that he was about to loss consciousness.
However, he mustered his courage. He dragged his feet slowly closer to the foot of the cross. His watery eyes now fixed to the feet and the nail. His trembling hands wiped the blood stained nail head to see the inscribed letter S.
He knelt and broke down before the cross.
Sobs and more sobs. Silence.
He bowed down as he shouted.
“ Lord Jesus, I am the sinner who made the special nails that nailed you to the cross, Please do forgive me”
Slowly, he lifted his eyes. Again, he saw the smile. The same saintly smile.
“Thank you Jesus, your smile for my sins; your sacrifice for my sins; your salvation for my special nails. Thank you Jesus.
While tears flooded his eyes, joy and peace flooded his heart.