The words “nails” or “nailing” is mentioned once in the Gospels and only 3 times in the New Testament. But the word “hands” is mentioned 85 times in the New Testament. That kind of makes what happened to Jesus' hands on the cross more important than the nails that were driven through His hands.

Pr. David Palmquist

God’s Promise in the Nails

God’s Promise
John 19:16-18, 20:25
March 20, 2024
The words “nails” or “nailing” is mentioned once in the Gospels and only 3 times in the New Testament. But the word “hands” is mentioned 85 times in the New Testament. That kind of makes what happened to Jesus' hands on the cross more important than the nails that were driven through His hands.

Grace be to you and peace from God, our Father, and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen. The text for our meditation this evening coincides with the scripture reading we just had, except it’s just a little bit shorter. It’s like Paul summed up all those verses in two verses here in Colossians chapter 2 verses 13 and 14. When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us. And condemned us. He has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. This is the word of the Lord.

Join me in a word of prayer. Dear heavenly father, ask your blessing upon us as we hear this message, as it’s delivered and as we worship you tonight, may the words of my mouth and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable in your sight. Oh Lord, our rock and our redeemer. Amen. My dear fellow Christians. Whenever you purchase a house, you usually have a company come out and do a home inspection during the first ten days of offering that, uh, purchase. And their job is to find something wrong. Most of them are really good at their jobs. They find things wrong and they make a list can be 20 to 25 pages long of things They find that are wrong things that they It could be fixed and then some of those things that are just really in bad shape in that house. So, you get the report and you start this long process of looking through it to see what you need to have done and what you can accept the way it is. So the bedroom door doesn’t have a lock. The storage room window is cracked. There are no towel racks in the spare bathroom. The doorknob needs to be changed in the den. And the house is very nice, but it has this list, this list of problems that just seem to keep on growing. Well, looking at that list kind of reminds me of a spiritual list that I think our God has made listing. all the things that we have done wrong. Some of them little, some of them good size, and some of them really bad.

He knows them all. I like to think of him once in a while as the great inspector. After all, he has taken up residence in my heart as a believer now. And if I see flaws in a house, imagine what he sees when he looks. In here at, at my house, as it were, dare I even think about that list and the report that it could compile the door hinges to my prayer room have grown rusty from under use the stove called envy and jealousy is overheating the attic floor is weighed down with too many regrets the cellar is cluttered with too many secrets And won’t someone please open the shutters and chase away the pessimism that’s in my heart. Now that list of weaknesses, would you like to see it? Would you like to see yours? Would you like them to be made public? How would you feel if we posted them high so that everyone, including Jesus, could see them? Well, this evening, I’m going to take you for a moment to a place where that happened. Yes, there is a list of your failures and mine. Jesus has chronicled our shortcomings, but you’ve never seen it. And neither have I. So let’s go to that Mount Calvary and I’ll tell you the story of why that is. Max Lucado, in his book, He Chose the Nails, describes it for us vividly. Are you there with me? Think about it. In your mind’s eyes, you’re on Golgotha.

That’s the Greek word for Calvary. So we’re on Golgotha. Even the name is horrible, isn’t it? At the foot of the cross, you’re looking up now, and you’re seeing what’s happening. You see the soldiers bringing this person in along with two others, and Jesus gets shoved to the ground. He’s the carpenter, as they knew him. They stretch out his arms across that beam. One of the soldiers presses his knee Against the forearm and he puts a spike on his hand. Jesus turns his face toward that nail in his hand, just as the soldier lifts that hammer and is ready to bring it down. Couldn’t Jesus have stopped it with the flex of his biceps with a clench of his fist? He could have resisted, right? Is he not? Is it not the same hand? That’s laying out there, that, that’s stilled the sea, that cleansed the temple, that summoned the dead. But the, the fist doesn’t clench. It stays open. And that moment isn’t aborted. The mallet rings. You can hear it loudly. The skin rips. And the blood starts to drip. And then it flows freely. And you question why. Why didn’t Jesus resist? That happens to be one of those why questions in the Bible that we can answer. Because He loved us. That’s why. Remember, He did it for you. That’s why. That’s that sentence we’ve been saying just over and over every Wednesday night during this Lenten season, isn’t it? And it’s true. It’s wonderfully true. He loved you, and he did it for you. That’s why.

But watch this. You thought I was going to end the sermon already, didn’t you? We got the main answer, but there’s one more. This is interesting. Max Lucado says, this is only partially true. There’s more to Jesus reason for staying there than just that he loved you. Now, that’s quite a bit, and that’s usually enough, you’d think. But listen to this. Think about it. I think he’s got a point. He saw something. Jesus saw something there. that made him stay with his palms wide open. As the soldier pressed his arm, Jesus rolled his head to the side with his cheek laying on that wood. And what did he see? The nail? Yes. A mallet? Yes. A soldier’s hand? Oh yeah. But he saw something else. He saw the hand of God. He saw the hand of God. It appeared to be a hand of a man, long fingers of a woodworker, calloused palms of a carpenter. It appeared common. It was, however, anything but. He saw his own hand. But since he too is God, he was looking at the hand of God. Do you get that? Isn’t it amazing? Think about that. Jesus is looking at his home. He’s looking at the hand of God. He’s true man and true God. All at the same time, he never gave it up. He possessed it the whole time, didn’t he? He didn’t use his deity at this point, and his power to resist, but he used his power to lie there and take it.

He was lying there. His hands were the hands of God. Isn’t that amazing? Those are the fingers that formed Adam out of the clay and wrote the Ten Commandments in two tables of stone. With a wave of his hand, he toppled Babel’s tower and split the Red Sea for the Jews to walk over on dry land. From his hand flew the locusts that plagued Egypt and the ravens that plagued Egypt. Fed Elijah. Is it any wonder the psalmist celebrated liberation? As we heard in our call to worship from Psalm 44, you drove out the nations with your hand. It was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your countenance. The hand of God, the hand of God is a mighty hand. Oh, the hands of Jesus, hands of incarnation at his birth, hands of liberation as he healed. Hands of inspiration as He taught, hands of dedication as He served, and here they are, the hands of salvation as He died. The crowd at the cross concluded that the purpose of the pounding was to nail His hands to a beam. But they were only half right.

We couldn’t fault them for missing the other half. They couldn’t see it. But Jesus could. Heaven could. And now we can, too. We can see it through the eyes of Scripture. We’re able to see what others missed and what Jesus saw. It was in our text. The last verse, Paul wrote, He canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us. He has taken it away from us. Nailing it to the cross. Between, between his hand and the wood, there was a list, a long list, a list of our mistakes, our lusts, our lies, our greedy moments, our lost years, a list of our sins, dangling from that cross. That cross is an itemized catalog of your sins and mine. The bad decisions that we made last year, the bad attitudes that we had last week, and the rolling of my eyes some 40 years ago, I’ll never forget it. There in broad daylight, for all of heaven to see, is a list of my mistakes. And a list of your mistakes. God has done with us what the home inspector does to a house that’s for sale. He has penned a list of our faults. But that list of God cannot be read.

The words cannot be deciphered. The mistakes are covered. The sins are hidden. Those at the top are hidden by this hand of Jesus. Those underneath are blotted out by the blood of Jesus as it trickles down our text. And this time, listen, from Philip’s translation, listen how he says it. He’s forgiven you all your sins. He utterly wiped out. The written evidence of broken commandments, which always hung over our heads and has completely annulled it by nailing it to a cross. This is why Jesus refused to close his fist. He saw the list. What kept him from resisting this warrant, this tabulation of our failures. He knew the price for sins, for our sins, was death. He knew the source of those sins was you and me. And since he couldn’t bear the thought of eternity without you, he chose the nails and left his hand open. The hand squeezing the handle was not a Roman soldier. The force of the hammer was not an angry mob. The verdict behind the death was not decided by jealous Jews. Jesus himself chose the nails. So, the hands of Jesus opened up. Had the soldier hesitated, Jesus himself could have swung the mallet. He knew how to do it. He was no stranger as a carpenter to driving a few nails. He knew what it took. But now as a savior, he knew what it meant. He knew that the purpose of that nail. Was to place our sins where they could be hidden by his sacrifice and covered by his blood. And so in a sense, Jesus himself swung the hammer. The same hand that stills the waves, stills our guilt. The same hand that cleansed the temple, cleanses our heart. The hand is the hand of Jesus. God. The nail is the nail of God. And as the hands of Jesus opened for that nail, the doors of heaven opened for you.

Pretty amazing, isn’t it? God’s love, Jesus power in his hand to take all the penalty of our sin. A couple pastors were traveling to a conference and a fellow passenger on the airplane found out that they were pastors. And so she came up to them and she said something that, uh, that I’m afraid perfectly reflects too much of the culture that we live in today. She said, well, you know, isn’t it great that no matter what a person believes or what path they follow, they are all, there are all those different ways to get to God. Well, that gets your attention, doesn’t it? It just bugs me because I’m stunned. But it happens a lot these days. So, one of those pastors, very kind hearted man, softly responded, Well, actually, Jesus in John 14 said, I am the way, the truth, and the life. Now, you’ve probably heard that passage before. It’s when Jesus claimed the exclusive way a person gets right with God. He basically says, I’m it. I did it. It was my hands up there. I’m the path. I’m the hope.

Now, some of you also probably know the story about the man who, who wrote the famous, uh, Chronicles of Narnia. You know him? C. S. Lewis from England. He grew up in the church, actually, in England. But then there came a long period of time in his, uh, youth and into his, uh, young adulthood that he rejected it. He hated it. Wouldn’t have anything to do with it. But later on in life, all of a sudden he said, well, I got to read it once again. So he opened up the scriptures and he started reading it studiously as a smart man would. And he read through the scriptures and he came to the conclusion. That you only have three options with Jesus, not a fourth, there’s only three options.

The fourth one is that one everybody says, wow, yeah, Jesus is a good example and a great teacher on this earth. But see, you can’t do that. That’s, that doesn’t work. There’s only three options. You can call him a liar if you want, you can call him a lunatic if you want, or you can do as the Christians do and call him Lord. That’s it. And what you think and what you say and your choice you make determines your eternity. That’s the important part, isn’t it? So, C. S. Lewis would say, what do you think of Jesus? Come on, friends, what do you think of Jesus? Is he a liar who knew that he was not God, but went ahead and claimed to be anyway? Is he a lunatic who thought he was God, but was incredibly deceived? Or, is he the Lord that will get the last word on every part of every day? for the rest of your life. And so today, my friends, when you see the nails and you see his hands and you know, he chose those for you, you know, Jesus is the Lord.

Join me in a word of prayer. Dear God, we love your word sometimes so much. And so I pray that you would do in the hearts of all people, what you’ve done for us to give us faith, to give us a strong faith. That we could see ahead into eternity, our future, and know and believe that heaven is ours. May we spread that message through our crucified Lord Jesus in his name. Amen.

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The GriefShare Program is a 13-week series of videos that we watch each week of the meeting. Each weekly GriefShare group begins with a 30-minute video featuring respected experts on grief-related topics and helpful stories from people who have experienced loss. Their insights will help you manage your emotions, gain clarity, and find answers to your questions as you walk through the grief process. We welcome everyone who has a loss; whether it be a child or a parent or spouse.

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We meet throughout the year on the 2nd Tuesday of the month for Bible Study.

Summer Schedule (May-Sept): 2nd Tuesday of the month all groups meet together on campus at 9:30am

Winter Schedule (Oct-April): 2nd Tuesday of the month

Esperanza Bible Study – 9:30am

Mary Bible Study – 1:30pm (in home)


Women’s Ministry

PURPOSE STATEMENT

As a community of women created in the image of God, called to discipleship in Jesus Christ, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we commit ourselves to grow in faith, affirm our gifts,  support one another in our callings, engage in ministry and action, and promote healing and wholeness in the church, the society, and the world.

We meet throughout the year on the 2nd Tuesday of the month for Bible Study:

Summer Schedule (May-Sept)

2nd Tuesday of the month all groups meet together on campus at 9:30 am.

Winter Schedule (Oct-April)

  • 2nd Tuesday of the month
  • Esperanza Bible Study - 9:30am
  • Naomi Bible Study - 2:00 pm
  • Mary Bible Study - 1:30 pm (in-home)
  • Women’s Ministry

    PURPOSE STATEMENT

    As a community of women created in the image of God, called to discipleship in Jesus Christ, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we commit ourselves to grow in faith, affirm our gifts,  support one another in our callings, engage in ministry and action, and promote healing and wholeness in the church, the society, and the world.

    We meet throughout the year on the 2nd Tuesday of the month for Bible Study:

    Summer Schedule (May-Sept)

    2nd Tuesday of the month all groups meet together on campus at 9:30 am.

    Winter Schedule (Oct-April)

  • 2nd Tuesday of the month
  • Esperanza Bible Study - 9:30am
  • Naomi Bible Study - 2:00 pm
  • Mary Bible Study - 1:30 pm (in-home)
  • Stephen Ministry

    Stephen Ministry equips lay people to provide confidential one-to-one Christian care to individuals in our congregation and community who are experiencing a difficult time in life, such as grief, divorce, job loss, chronic or terminal illness, or relocation.

    Stephen Ministers are trained by their congregation’s Stephen Leaders using resources from Stephen Ministries St. Louis. The training they receive in the congregation equips them to provide high-quality care to people who are hurting.

    Care receivers are individuals in the congregation or community who are going through a crisis or life difficulty. Potential care receivers first meet with a pastor or Stephen Leader, who assesses their needs for care and matches them with a Stephen Minister.

    After being matched with a person experiencing a life crisis, the Stephen Minister meets with that person on a weekly basis for about an hour to listen, care, encourage, and provide emotional and spiritual support. The caring relationship lasts as long as the need for care exists.

    “Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2, NRSV)

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    Four times a year we host families experiencing homelessness at Victory for a week at a time. Volunteers needed to set up rooms, preparing a meal, serve/clean-up dinner or stay as an overnight host.

    Upcoming Host Weeks: April 16-23, 2023 & November 112-19, 2023

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    I-HELP PROGRAM: We provide a safe and secure place for women who are currently experiencing homelessness the 2nd & 4th Thursday of the month.

    FOOD PANTRY: Food boxes distributed Mondays & Wednesdays, 9:00-11:30am.
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    We meet the 3rd Tuesday and Wednesday of the month at 8:30am. Come when you can, stay as long as you can; everyone can cut, sew, pin and tie knots. You do not need to be a church or circle member to attend. Bring a friend! The quilts are donated to Navajo Lutheran Mission, Orchard: Africa and Lutheran Social Ministries. We typically break for the summer. Please check schedule.

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    Ensembles at Victory practice weekly during the high season to prepare for weekly worship and special events. In addition, many people share their talents individually. Click here for our concert line-up!

    NAVAJO LUTHERAN MISSION

    Serving the Navajo community of Rock Point, AZ, a remote, isolated village near the Four Corners. The Mission campus includes a K-2 private Christian school, clinic, cultural center, water project and food bank.  (nelm.org)

    FAIR TRADE

    Victory Women support Lutheran World Relief (lwr.org) by selling Fair Trade hand-made crafts, jewelry, coffee and tea that generates income for small-scale businesses in third world countries. 

    OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD

    A “shoebox ministry” of Samaritan’s Purse, delivering gift-filled shoeboxes to boys and girls around the world.

    ORCHARD: AFRICA

    To equip the church to respond to poverty & injustice, thereby caring for the vulnerable using four programs: Food & Agriculture, Care, Education and Ministry.  (orchardafrica.org)

    Stephen Ministry

    Stephen Ministry equips lay people to provide confidential one-to-one Christian care to individuals in our congregation and community who are experiencing a difficult time in life, such as grief, divorce, job loss, chronic or terminal illness, or relocation.

    Stephen Ministers are trained by their congregation’s Stephen Leaders using resources from Stephen Ministries St. Louis. The training they receive in the congregation equips them to provide high-quality care to people who are hurting.

    Care receivers are individuals in the congregation or community who are going through a crisis or life difficulty. Potential care receivers first meet with a pastor or Stephen Leader, who assesses their needs for care and matches them with a Stephen Minister.

    After being matched with a person experiencing a life crisis, the Stephen Minister meets with that person on a weekly basis for about an hour to listen, care, encourage, and provide emotional and spiritual support. The caring relationship lasts as long as the need for care exists.

    “Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2, NRSV)

    WOMEN’S MINISTRY

    Welcome to the vibrant women’s ministry at Victory Lutheran Church! As a community of women created in the image of God, called to discipleship in Jesus Christ, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we are committed to growing in faith, affirming our gifts, and supporting one another in our callings. Our purpose is to engage in ministry and action, promoting healing and wholeness in the church, society, and the world. At Victory Lutheran Church, our women’s ministry provides a nurturing and empowering space for women of all ages to connect, grow, and serve together. Through uplifting worship, inspiring Bible studies, enriching events, and impactful service opportunities, we equip women to live out their God-given purpose and embrace their unique gifts. Join us as we journey together, fostering fellowship, spiritual growth, and making a lasting impact within our church, our families, and our wider community.

    PURPOSE STATEMENT

    As a community of women created in the image of God, called to discipleship in Jesus Christ,  and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we commit ourselves to grow in faith, affirm our gifts,  support one another in our callings, engage in ministry and action, and promote healing and wholeness in the church, the society, and the world.

    We meet throughout the year on the 2nd Tuesday of the month for Bible Study:

    Summer Schedule (May-Sept)

    2nd Tuesday of the month all groups meet together on campus at 9:30am.

    Winter Schedule (Oct-April)

    • 2nd Tuesday of the month
    • Esperanza Bible Study – 9:30am
    • Naomi Bible Study – 2:00pm
    • Mary Bible Study – 1:30pm (in home)