Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. 2 When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.
“Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? 3 Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. (Mark 6:1-3, NIV)
Very little is recorded about the life of Jesus before He began His ministry. In Mark 6:3, people from His hometown identify Jesus as a carpenter*. We know that his earthly father, Joseph, was also a carpenter. At the time, it was the custom for fathers to teach their sons the skills of the trade that they knew. (*The word “carpenter” can vary in different translations. Some experts believe that Joseph and Jesus were more akin to “handymen,” meaning that they did not exclusively work with wood but could repair and fix things of other materials as well.)
The Jews were waiting for a Messiah, a King. They were not waiting for a carpenter. Jesus was a common man, with a common upbringing and a common job. Jesus is relatable! If Jesus had been born into a kingly life, would He have been accessible to the people He came to save? Would the people have been able to relate to Him? Would they have been willing to listen to Him? Or would they have grumbled about how He “didn’t understand what life is like for the common person.”? Jesus had to be a common man, with a common life, and a common job.
Carpentry was a job that required hard work, precision, focus, and dedication. Even today, with all our fancy machinery, carpentry is still hard work! It was even harder work back then when everything had to be done by hand! Jesus knew how to work, and work hard. When God created Adam, He instructed Adam to work. Jesus was fulfilling God’s instructions. Do we?
As a carpenter, Jesus could fix broken things. Today, we can take our broken lives to Him. If we are willing to turn over our lives to Him, He can repair our broken lives, make us whole again. As a carpenter, Jesus could see the potential in a piece of wood. He could see a damaged piece of wood and know how to cut it and shape it into a useful and beautiful object. Likewise, He can see the ultimate potential in each person. He knows what we are capable of and is willing to help us reach that full potential. But we must place ourselves in the hand of the Master Carpenter!
Jesus built a bridge for all believers that leads to heaven, a personal relationship with the Lord God, and eternal life. Even today, Jesus continues His work as a carpenter, building up a place for each and every believer to live forever with Him in Heaven.
So what does this mean for us? We are all broken. We all require Jesus to heal us and guide us on the best path for our life. When we seek out Jesus’ guidance, our actions should reflect that choice. When we want Jesus as our guiding force, we must orient our life in that direction, which means living a life in accordance with the Word of God. Jesus’ life is an example of how to live. Examining Jesus’ life as a carpenter shows the importance of hard work, dedication, and focus. Are those important in your life? How do you show them? How does your work, professionally and personally, show that?
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