Today I stumbled across the article Nailed to cross, I feel all my sins washed away. It is about a Good Friday rite practiced in the Philippines where people will actually have themselves nailed to a cross. This is done apparently in remembrance of the crucifixion of Jesus, but interestingly enough none of those interviewed mentioned that. Rather, their focus was on the healing of their child or the atonement of their sins.
The irony of this act is that it completely negates what Jesus did. These terribly misguided people think that nailing themselves to a cross or being beaten with bamboo rods will actually atone for their sins. This “rite” implies that they can pay for their sins on their own.
Initially, this act appears to take sin very seriously, but actually it does not understand the gravity of sin at all. Jesus was not simply beaten and nailed to a cross and then let go . . . He died. No act of penance can ever be enough to atone for our sin, “for the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
It is easy to read this article and dismiss this act as fanatical. We can look at them and say, “They are just crazy people.” However, while we may not take it to this extreme, I bet most of us have similar thoughts. “I can make up for my flaws and mistakes by feeding the poor, or donating to charity, or swearing less, or going to church more.” The list is endless.
Today we remember that we do not have to do anything to atone for our sins. We do not have to be nailed to a cross, we do not have to be beaten or whipped, we don’t have to be better people, and above all we do not have to die. Jesus did all of this for us.