Can He Still Feel the Nails?
Yesterday at church, the one who led the communion thought said something interesting. He said that Jesus feels the pain of the nails every time we sin. His comments reminded me of a frustration I have had for some time regarding a mentality that every single time we sin, it is as if Jesus is hung up on the cross, again and again. We even sing a beautiful song about it:
Can He still feel the nails
Every time I fail?
Can He hear the crowds
Cry crucify again?
Am I causing Him pain
When I know I’ve got to change?
Cause I just can’t bear the thought
Of hurting him.
I wonder about the theology of such comments and songs for several reasons. When Jesus died, his sacrifice was different than all the other sacrifices in the Bible. In the Old Testament, the Jews had to make annual sacrifices in order to be rid of their sin. The sacrificial lamb was brought to the altar over and over again each year to reconcile God’s people with himself (Lev. 16:34). What makes Jesus’ sacrifice different is that unlike the lambs and other animals of the Old Testament, Jesus rose from the dead.
When I think about the thought of crucifying Jesus over and over again, I think I forget about the fact that his sacrifice was “once for all” (Heb. 7:27). I think also about Romans 6:8-10 which says, “Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.”
I am not trying to suggest that we shouldn’t feel remorseful about our sin. I am sure that the intent of songs like Can He Still Feel the Nails? are meant to evoke an emotion leading to repentance and reflection on what was done so we might have it, yet I think the theology of the song should be questioned. Is Jesus sitting at the right hand of God wishing he had some Tylenol every time someone sins? If that is the case, how can we ever live with Him (Rom.6:8). I think it is a beautiful song that we sing, but in my head, I am thinking, “Can He still feel the nails? NO!!! He can’t. He has risen!!!”