We are just about to start the most holy week of the year. Thorns and nails play their part in the Passion of Jesus, but they can represent our sins in a much deeper sense.
When I think about thorns, roses are the first thing that come to mind. While roses are not the only plant to have thorns, they are probably the most familiar. Roses are so beautiful and human nature’s tendency is to reach out and touch, only to find out that the beauty comes at a cost. So it is when we become enamored with a sin that is attractive to us at the surface level. We may be so caught up in how it affects our senses that we may not realize how dangerous it is to our spiritual life. Sins of vanity and pride can often disguise themselves in a beautiful way and later reveal their hidden peril. Sometimes the disguise is a bit more ordinary; thorns can be found among shrubs and leaves, too. Those who are prudent and watchful may be able to recognize the dangers before their soul is scratched or pierced.
Nails are a different story. By themselves they are useless. But when they have the force of a hammer to drive them, they can be deeply embedded, securing one item to another. Nails can be used for good, but the nails driven into Jesus to keep Him on the cross are like the sins we know are wrong, but still intentionally commit. Our act of willful choosing is that hammer driving the nails into Christ. It’s the times we choose our way over God’s, or when we walk away from a relationship with Him. When we choose to sin, do we only look at our temporary gain? Or do we recognize the cost of that sin, especially the damage to our relationship with God?
As we remember, reflect on, and celebrate holy week this year, let us thank Jesus for all He endured to save us. We should acknowledge our transgressions, the thorns and nails that we personally added to his suffering. This is the first step in taking ownership for our actions. With more awareness of our choices, we can begin to change from our sinful habits and draw ever closer to Christ.