He Chose the Nails

He Chose the Nails

4.4 50
by Max Lucado

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Linger on the hill of Calvary.

Rub a finger on the timber and press the nail into your hand.

Taste the tinge of cheap wine and feel the scrape of a thorn on your brow.

Touch the velvet dirt, moist with the blood of God.

Allow the tools of torture to tell their story.

Listen as they tell you what God did to win your heart.

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Linger on the hill of Calvary.

Rub a finger on the timber and press the nail into your hand.

Taste the tinge of cheap wine and feel the scrape of a thorn on your brow.

Touch the velvet dirt, moist with the blood of God.

Allow the tools of torture to tell their story.

Listen as they tell you what God did to win your heart.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble, Inc.
Bookseller Reviews

I don't think it's ever possible to study the cross too much, Rev. Max Lucado writes. "Everything about it is at the core of everything we do as Christians". Though lyrical, this study is not merely a personal meditation. In He Chose the Nails, Lucado reexamines the symbols around the crucifixion and explores the nature of Jesus.

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Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
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Chapter One

He deserves our compassion. When you see him, do not laugh. Do not mock. Do not turn away or shake your head. Just gently lead him to the nearest bench and help him sit down.

    Have pity on the man. He is so fearful, so wide-eyed. He's a deer on the streets of Manhattan. Tarzan walking through the urban jungle. He's a beached whale, wondering how he got here and how he'll get out.

    Who is this forlorn creature? This ashen-faced orphan? He is—please remove your hats out of respect—he is the man in the women's department. Looking for a gift.

    The season may be Christmas. The occasion may be her birthday or their anniversary. Whatever the motive, he has come out of hiding. Leaving behind his familiar habitat of sporting goods stores, food courts, and the big-screen television in the appliance department, he ventures into the unknown world of women's wear. You'll spot him easily. He's the motionless one in the aisle. Were it not for the sweat rings under his arms, you'd think he was a mannequin.

    But he isn't. He is a man in a woman's world, and he's never seen so much underwear. At the Wal-Mart where he buys his, it's all wrapped up and fits on one shelf. But here he is in a forest of lace. His father warned him about places like this. Though the sign above says "linger-ie," he knows he shouldn't.

    So he moves on, but he doesn't know where to go. You see, not every man has been prepared for this moment as I was. My father saw the challenge of shopping for women as a rite of passage, right in therewith birds and bees and tying neckties. He taught my brother and me how to survive when we shopped. I can remember the day he sat us down and taught us two words. To get around in a foreign country, you need to know the language, and my father taught us the language of the ladies' department.

    "There will come a time,' he said solemnly, "when a salesperson will offer to help you. At that moment take a deep breath and say this phrase, `Es-tée Lau-der." On every gift-giving occasion for years after, my mom received three gifts from the three men in her life: Estée Lauder, Estée Lauder, and Estée Lauder.

    My fear of the women's department was gone. But then I met Denalyn. Denalyn doesn't like Estée Lauder. Though I told her it made her smell motherly, she didn't change her mind. I've been in a bind ever since.

    This year for her birthday I opted to buy her a dress. When the salesperson asked me Denalyn's size, I said I didn't know. I honestly don't. I know I can wrap my arm around her and that her hand fits nicely in mine. But her dress size? I never inquired. There are certain questions a man doesn't ask.

    The woman tried to be helpful. "How does she compare to me?" Now, I was taught to be polite to women, but I couldn't be polite and answer that question. There was only one answer, "She is thinner."

    I stared at my feet, looking for a reply. After all, I write books. Surely I could think of the right words.

    I considered being direct: "She is less of you."

    Or complimentary: "You are more of a woman than she is."

    Perhaps a hint would suffice? "I hear the store is downsizing."

    Finally I swallowed and said the only thing I knew to say, "Estée Lauder?"

    She pointed me in the direction of the perfume department, but I knew better than to enter. I would try the purses. Thought it would be easy. What could be complicated about selecting a tool for holding cards and money? I've used the same money clip for eight years. What would be difficult about buying a purse?

    Oh, naive soul that I am. Tell an attendant in the men's department that you want a wallet, and you're taken to a small counter next to the cash register. Your only decision is black or brown. Tell an attendant in the ladies' department that you want a purse, and you are escorted to a room. A room of shelves. Shelves with purses. Purses with price tags. Small but potent price tags ... prices so potent they should remove the need for a purse, right?

    I was pondering this thought when the salesperson asked me some questions. Questions for which I had no answer. "What kind of purse would your wife like?" My blank look told her I was clueless, so she began listing the options: "Handbag? Shoulder bag? Glove bag? Backpack? Shoulder pack? Change purse?"

    Dizzied by the options, I had to sit down and put my head between my knees lest I faint. Didn't stop her. Leaning over me, she continued, "Moneybag? Tote bag? Pocketbook? Satchel?"

    "Satchel?" I perked up at the sound of a familiar word. Satchel Paige pitched in the major leagues. This must be the answer. I straightened my shoulders and said proudly, "Satchel."

    Apparently she didn't like my answer. She began to curse at me in a foreign language. Forgive me for relating her vulgarity, but she was very crude. I didn't understand all she said, but I do know she called me a "Dooney Bird" and threatened to "brighten" me with a spade that belonged to someone named Kate. When she laid claim to "our mawny," I put my hand over the wallet in my hip pocket and defied, "No, it's my money." That was enough. I got out of there as fast as I could. But as I left the room, I gave her a bit of her own medicine. "Estée Lauder!" I shouted and ran as fast as I could.

    Oh, the things we do to give gifts to those we love.

    But we don't mind, do we? We would do it all again. Fact is, we do it all again. Every Christmas, every birthday, every so often we find ourselves in foreign territory. Grownups are in toy stores. Dads are in teen stores. Wives are in the hunting department, and husbands are in the purse department.

    Not only do we enter unusual places, we do unusual things. We assemble bicycles at midnight. We hide the new tires with mag wheels under the stairs. One fellow I heard about rented a movie theater so he and his wife could see their wedding pictures on their anniversary.

    And we'd do it all again. Having pressed the grapes of service, we drink life's sweetest wine—the wine of giving. We are at our best when we are giving. In fact, we are most like God when we are giving.

    Have you ever wondered why God gives so much? We could exist on far less. He could have left the world flat and gray; we wouldn't have known the difference. But he didn't.

He splashed orange in the sunrise
and cast the sky in blue.
And if you love to see geese as they gather,
chances are you'll see that too.

Did he have to make the squirrel's tail furry?
Was he obliged to make the birds sing?
And the funny way that chickens scurry
or the majesty of thunder when it rings?

Why give a flower fragrance? Why give food its taste?
Could it be
he loves to see
that look upon your face?

    If we give gifts to show our love, how much more would he? If we—speckled with foibles and greed—love to give gifts, how much more does God, pure and perfect God, enjoy giving gifts to us? Jesus asked, "If you hardhearted, sinful men know how to give good gifts to your children, won your Father in heaven even more certainly give good gifts to those who ask him for them?" (Matt. 7:11 TLB).

    God's gifts shed light on God's heart, God's good and generous heart. Jesus' brother James tells us' "Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light" (James 1:17 MSG). Every gift reveals God's love ... but no gift reveals his love more than the gifts of the cross. They came, not wrapped in paper, but in passion. Not placed around a tree, but a cross. And not covered with ribbons, but sprinkled with blood.

    The gifts of the cross.

    Much has been said about the gift of the cross itself, but what of the other gifts? What of the nails, the crown of thorns? The garments taken by the soldiers. The garments given for the burial. Have you taken time to open these gifts?

    He didn't have to give them, you know. The only act, the only required act for our salvation was the shedding of blood, yet he did much more. So much more. Search the scene of the cross, and what do you find?

    A wine-soaked sponge.

    A sign.

    Two crosses beside Christ.

    Divine gifts intended to stir that moment, that split second when your face will brighten, your eyes will widen, and God will hear you whisper, "You did this for me?"

The diadem of pain
which sliced your gentle face,
three spikes piercing flesh and wood
to hold you in your place.

The need for blood I understand.
Your sacrifice I embrace.
But the bitter sponge, the cutting spear,
the spit upon your face?
Did it have to be a cross?

Did not a kinder death exist
than six hours hanging between life and death,
all spurred by a betrayer's kiss?

"Oh, Father," you pose,
heart-stilled at what could be,
"I'm sorry to ask, but I long to know,
did you do this for me?"

    Dare we pray such a prayer? Dare we think such thoughts? Could it be that the hill of the cross is rich with God's gifts? Let's examine them, shall we? Let's unwrap these gifts of grace as if—or perhaps, indeed for the first time. And as you touch them—as you feel the timber of the cross and trace the braid of the crown and finger the point of the spike—pause and listen. Perchance you will hear him whisper:

"I did it just for you."

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He Chose the Nails 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 50 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is the first book that I've read from Max Lucado and this is my favorite. I also read 'Just Like Jesus' and one of his promise books. This book gives you full knowledge, wisdom, and understanding about what Jesus Christ did for us. Max Lucado touches areas that you normally don't hear about when people teach on the crucifiction. I thank God for the teachings in this book. It contains a lot of information. This book put me on to 'Max Lucado Books'. It's a 'must have' for every Believer.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I don't think the this book is bad. I think it is good and has brought a lot of encouragement to me, my husband and his friends. My Husband is in the army and has a lot of struggles as well as his friends. This book has help all of them to look at all the good that is happening and not all the bad and also has brought some of them closer to Christ. All of them that have read this book didn't know Christ encluding my husband. This book has helped my husband realize all that God sacrificed for us to live with him in heaven for eternity. They all liked this book so much that they want me to send them some more copies. I was in the process of checking out when I saw the bad rating and read what the person wrote. This person has nothing better to do then to write bad reports of books in my oppinion they are very hypocritical .This book was writen by a every smart man that has been educated on this subject.I would really like to see this person write a book that can move so many people. A book like this is only good if you have the want to read it. You only get out of this book what you put in to it. I would highly recomend it to everyone that is struggling in there relationship with Christ and for those who want to know him and be closer to him.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wow-what a writer, I've heard of him before, read a childrens book to my son, that he wrote. But this-Max! Unreal, I will continue to read more and more of his. So easy to understand, so loving! What an author and gift!!!! Thank you Lord!
noahsmom1008KJ More than 1 year ago
Max Lucado is a best-selling novelist and Pastor of Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, TX. He has written many books and his newest one is wonderful. He Chose The Nails is an easy read that you won't be able to put down. "Linger on the Hill of Calvary. Rub a Finger on the Timber and Press the Nail Into Your Hand. Taste the Tinge of Cheap Wine and Feel the Scrape of a Thorn on Your Brow. Touch the Velvet Dirt, Moist with the Blood of God. Allow the Tools of Torture to Tell Their Story. Listen as They Tell You What God Did to Win Your Heart." -Quote from the back of the book Isn't that an incredible quote. When I read that I got chills down my spine. Have you ever wondered why Jesus chose to go to the cross? Have you ever wondered what it was like for Him? This is the perfect book for answering those questions and more. It's a very emotional and eye-opening book. What Jesus really did for us on the cross was extraordinary. In this book, Lucado takes us through some of the significant symbols of the cross such as the crown of thorns, the sign on the cross, the burial clothes, etc. Here is a small list of some of the chapters: 1. You Did This For Me? 2. I Loved You Enough To Become One Of You 3. I Will Not Abandon You 4. I Invite You Into My Presence 5. I Have Redeemed You, And I Will Keep You 6. I Have Won The Victory 7. What Will You Leave At The Cross? Surprisingly enough, this was not a dark book. It speaks of the love that Jesus has for us. His love was enough to cover all of our sins on the cross. He alone chose to go to the cross and suffer and die to save us. I have a hard time imagining that kind of love. I mean, I love my husband. I love my children. I would die for them. But to die for strangers who have murdered, raped, stolen, abused, etc. I just can't fathom it. What a sacrifice. What grace He has given us. Forgiveness is a wonderful, powerful thing. Amazing love. That's all I can say. Read this book and find out for yourself what the cross really meant to mankind. You will not be disappointed.
lovebookLJ More than 1 year ago
to read, to share, to get closer to God. Simple language but all well written and directed to show you how important you are to God, through his son Jesus Christ
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had never heard of Max Lucado before, or any of his books, until one day in a van on a mission trip, it was a long ride, I found some books on the floor board and I believe the majority, if not all were Max Lucado books, I picked out one b/c I liked the cover, and I couldn't stop reading it, now I was never a big reader before this mind you, but ever since then I bought He Chose the Nails, and other Lucado books, and they are all wonderful!!! They were funny and inspiring!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In typical Max Lucado style he leads you to a greater understanding of Christ's sacrifice. This book helped prepare me to celebrate Easter.
Gethsemane More than 1 year ago
Belief and faith in God are two things that guide many along the righteous path. The scriptures show us that anything is possible; we only need to believe. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done. It’s hard, sometimes, to believe in something we can’t see, to place in someone we’ve never truly met, but that’s what faith is about, isn’t it? To love God whole-heartedly and place our lives, our trust, and our beliefs within his hands. Using aspects of his own life to show us what the grace of God has done for him, Max Lucado is able to broaden the reader’s understanding of what having faith in Him is like. He breaks things down so that anyone of any age can find significance with the passages he writes. Embedded throughout the book are lessons he’s learned along the way, lessons meant to enrich and fulfill the life he’s lead. With each stroke of the pen, he allows us to understand the sacrifice that our beloved God has made in order for us to life a fulfilling and righteous life. The book is quite thought-provoking and the meaning behind Max’s analogies strike deep within one’s soul. This book will definitely give the reader a thorough understanding of what Jesus Christ went through in order to cleanse of us of our sins. I truly recommend this book for reading and enjoyed reading it very much.
SavvyMomma More than 1 year ago
Max Lucado's newest book, "He Chose the Nails" is a book all about God's love and sacrifice for his people. The book discusses the life and death of Jesus, intertwined with personal stories to reinforce the deep love of God for each and every person. The tagline on the front of the book reads, "What God did to win your heart", and that is the foundation of the book - the amazing sacrifice of Jesus that allowed us to be close to our Creator. This book is very empowering, showing God for exactly what he is - a loving father, willing to sacrifice his own son to allow us to have a relationship with him. Lucado adds his own personal insights and stories that only add to the book's message, and allow us to connect with the reality of God's love. This book is wonderful, and I would highly recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a wonderful...human view of the death of Christ and the meanings behind how he died.
getyysburg_scw More than 1 year ago
While I am not a big fan of Max Lucado, I found this book to be a wonderful read and would like to go back and use it as a Bible study. I read it for a book club and fell in love with it after the first few pages. We used it as a pre-Easter selection and it surpassed my expectations. It definitely deepens your appreciation of all that was done on the cross.
addieCC More than 1 year ago
haven't read it yet but it was highly recommend years ago and i found i already have the book when going through my books i had packed when i moved here 2 years ago , but i do like Max Lucado'writings i have his bible amoung a few other bibles thank you ccc
siena57 More than 1 year ago
Was a good book for spiritual meeting during Lent.
54Donna More than 1 year ago
but it could have used some editing between going from print to e-format. There were a couple of pages in Chapter 5 that are difficult to read - the conversation between the angel and the thief from the cross. I have not read past chapter 8.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful book of knowledge
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He Chose the Nails by Max Lucado By Max Lucado is among the most inspirational and motivating books that I have recently read. That can be said about almost all of Lucado's books, actually. This book specifically impresses upon the reader the enormous sacrifice Jesus offered each and every one of us. It brings to life, the experiences that Jesus faced on the cross for each one of us- the cold painful nails, the sharp thorns and the splintered wood. Adjectives and description brings this sacrifice to animated life- in vivid detail. It helps those who are enduring really difficult times, to endure and persevere. The beginning of this book had a slow start, with Lucado's analogy of the painstaking process of finding his wife the perfect gift. I found there was too much detail. Yet I am sure many economically "gifted" or comfortable readers can relate. At times, he is a bit self serving in addressing the issues of financial prosperity and comfort in life that he and many readers are lucky enough to enjoy. Yet, Lucado puts his God given resources to good use- there is no doubt about that! He uses his economic gifts and wisdom to help countless readers. Pehaps if Lucado was not in a comfortable financial position, he would not have the practical resources and time to be able to deliver his wisdom to the masses. Personally, I could not afford to buy his books, and I assume that much of the readership that actually read his books are upper middleclass that can afford to buy his books and have the luxury of time to dedicate to read- but I am thankfully they are offered free to bloggers so that not only the economically advantaged have access to his wisdom. The author address real issues- job loss, terminal illness, grief and loss. This book is designed to help those who are suffering from extreme circumstances. If you are bellyaching because you burned your husband's dinner, or the grass stain won't come out of the soccer uniform, or if missed an apointment for your pedicure, or your favorite coach bag sold out before you reached the mall, then this book isn't for you. What you need is a fluffy, superficial, condescending, feel- good, women's devotional book. But, if you truly suffer from life's heartaches, then this book will offer the comfort you need. In true Lucado fashion, Max writes in an animated, easy to understand style that communicates biblical truths to the reader. His books bring bible stories and biblical truth to life in an inspirational way that speaks out to the reader. "Catch God in a bad mood? Won't happen. Fear exhausting his grace? A sardine will swallow the Atlantic first. Think he's given up on you?" ..... Lucado's use of colorful language and his conversational tone, make it so that biblical truths are memorable and meaningful to the average modern reader. You need not be a theologen, educated in an expensive seminary or college to understand Max Lucado's books. This inspirational book will be certain to leave the reader with a lasting impression. In today's self centered society, without offense Max Lucado illustrates the importance of living life based on biblical principles. After reading this book, and really meditating on the biblical truths communicated via Max Lucado, one can feel a renewed sense of embpowerment to live a selfless life style. Max makes use of personal anecdotes as well as bible stories to illiustrate the importance of depending on God rather than on the material things of this world. If you are a theologen, looking for an apologetic defense on the purpose of depending on God then this book isn't for you. But, if on the other hand you are simply looking for bible based motivation and a relief in a world that takes pride in materialism, selfish ambition and competition, then this book is perfect. As a blogger for booksneeze, I receive books from Thomas Nelson publishers in exchange for writing an honest review. The opinions expressed are my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He Chose the Nails is very strong title as well as a very strong book. It is inspirational, educational, religious, and everything a good christian book needs to be. This book increases your knowledge of Christianity and God. It's a great book and it has lots of things to look forward into it. In my opinion, Max Lucado did an exceptional job with his work. It's an amazing book and has lots of strong points in it. I really loved this book and can't wait for more by Max Lucado. I received this book from book sneeze.
4HisGloryEM More than 1 year ago
I love Max Lucado's books and it was no different. Lucado does a good job of combining everyday examples of life with the imagery of the cross to paint a compelling picture of God's love as demonstrated by sending the perfect lamb of Jesus Christ to live among sinful beings and to die on their behalf only to conquer the grave and be physically resurrected for the world to see. He uses the nail, the crown of thorns, the clothes that were taken from Jesus, the clothes that were put on him, the two other crosses beside him, and even the soldiers spit to explain the many things that had to happen to bring us salvation. This is a great book for Easter...or anytime of year!
The_Observer More than 1 year ago
Considering that Easter is right around the corner and this week is the Passion week for Catholics as well as a lot of Protestants, Max Lucado’s He Chose the Nails is quite appropriate. In this book, Max invites us to stop and ponder about the meaning of things that we usually forget to notice: the soldier’s spit, Jesus’ clothes that were divided among the men who crucified Him, the sign above Jesus’ head, the other two crosses. All these demonstrate God’s love. I did this for you. That’s one thing that will never cease to amaze me. He did all of this for me. Jesus went on this tough and scary journey for me. For you. Like the other Lucado books, this one is written simply, but so powerfully that there are times when you simply stop reading and marvel… and it feels as if you are getting a second wind and everything in you blossoms, past hurts forgotten because you can’t stop smiling – He loves you!
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