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  • Writer's pictureJill Jarrell Newsome

Jesus The Carpenter

My paternal grandfather owned a cabinet shop and made custom cabinets for people. He and my uncles were great carpenters. As a little girl I remember spending a lot of time in the "shop" in between the back yard and the pasture. My favorite part was the smell. I can still smell the sawdust. There was always a giant pile of saw dust that I liked to play in. I had not smelled that smell again until I was in a Christian store in the Holy Land where they made wooden figurines. I was overcome with memories the way a smell can bring you back.

I always heard Jesus was a carpenter and I associated it with using wood as I had known. But when I was in Nazareth I learned that Jesus was not just a "carpenter." Mark 6: 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?” Matthew 13: 55, “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? "And they took offense at him." The Greek translation for carpenter was builder or architect. There were no trees around to build but lots of rock as we saw in the Holy Land. Jesus was a stone mason.

Jesus' family, friends and neighbors watched Him grow up, making and fixing things. That was His father's trade and Jesus had worked with him for years. When Jesus started His ministry it was hard for them to get used to. We should not be surprised to think that Jesus' job as a carpenter was preparing Him for ministry. He would be "fixing" the "broken."

Jesus talked a lot about fisherman and farmers because that was the profession of most of His audience. Rarely did he talk about his own trade. Matthew 7: 3-5, "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye."

Jesus was not worried about the speck of sawdust in our brothers eye. He was worried about the plank in our own eye. Matthew 7: 1-2, "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." What did He do with those planks in our eyes? He was nailed up on the cross on them.

I Peter 2:5, " also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." We are living stones that the great Master craftsman is shaping, molding and building into His Spiritual temple. We are His holy priests. He can chisel our hard hearts into what He needs us to be.

Jesus was more than a wood carpenter. He was more than a stone carpenter. He built with whatever was available to build His church. Jesus is our Master Craftsman who created us to do good works. We are custom built by our Lord and Savior! Ephesians 2:10, "For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,which God prepared in advance for us to do."


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