Nails are so common today few people realize how precious they once were. Although I sometimes think a box of nails is expensive, at one time they were valuable enough to be used as a medium of exchange. Until the 18th century nails were made by hand using a very slow process. A fairly common practice during those days was to burn down an old house in order to retrieve the nails. They were that scarce.
In 1794 Thomas Jefferson added a nailmaking operation to his blacksmith shop at Monticello. In 1795, he wrote a letter to Jean Nicolas Demeunier informing him of this new enterprise. “In our private pursuits it is a great advantage that every honest employment is deemed honorable. I am myself a nail-maker…. My new trade of nail-making is to me in this country what an additional title of nobility or the ensigns of a new order are in Europe.”
Jefferson purchased one of the first nail cutting machines in 1796. Several inventors spent large sums of money producing various cutting machines. It has been estimated these men spent over $1,000,000 before a machine made in 1810 was able to produce about 100 nails per minute.
Cut nails are still being used, but after the invention of a wire-nail-making machine in 1851, wire nails are common today because they are so much cheaper. Nails went from being rare and precious to being mass-produced and relatively inexpensive. That fact enables my husband to buy them to build or repair something.
Satan intended the nails that pierced Jesus on the cross to destroy His life, but they were really used to create new life for those of us who trust Him. Jesus took my place on the cross. Through His blood He repaired the relationship between God and man that was marred when sin entered the world (Colossians 1:13-23). Without His allowing those nails to penetrate His innocent hands and feet, I would be facing judgment. Those nails cost Him dearly but it was a price He was willing to pay for my salvation – and yours.
Those nails represent God’s sacrificial love and eternal life. They are most precious to me.
As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so continue to live in him….When you were spiritually dead because of your sins and because you were not free from the power of your sinful self, God made you alive with Christ, and he forgave all our sins. He canceled the debt, which listed all the rules we failed to follow. He took away that record with its rules and nailed it to the cross. God stripped the spiritual rulers and powers of their authority. With the cross, he won the victory and showed the world that they were powerless (Colossians 2:6, 13-15 NCV).