Jesus: Carpenter

We can trust the One who knows the tools of His trade.

by Tami Rudkin

“Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him, that he even does miracles! Isn’t this the carpenter?” (Mark 6:2, 3, NIV).

Jig saw, band saw, and table saw. Chisels, 1/4″, 1/2″, and 1″. Cordless screwdrivers, cordless nailers, and cordless drills. Tape measurers, levels, and engineer’s squares. Belt sander, planer, and jointer knives.

Any of these tools sound familiar? How about hammer, Phillip’s screwdriver, and pliers? Tools of the trade. Tools to work beauty, tools to bring purpose, tools to design an art. These are the tools of the carpenter.

As long as there have been wood and man, there have been carpenters and, I am sure, tools of some sort.

Carpenters don clothes dusty with wood shavings, nurse hands blistered and callused, and stretch their backs, weary from the long hours standing before their work. Good carpenters are perfectionists, measuring twice, cutting once. Skilled carpenters are problem solvers, knowing that anything can be fixed. Gifted carpenters are artists, understanding that their work can be both functional and pleasing to the eye.

 Learning the trade

Carpentry, one of the oldest professions on earth, is the act of building from nature’s materials or repairing something already used and broken. No wonder God wisely chose a carpenter’s home in which to place His most beloved Son, the builder and repairer of our lives. Jesus, the firstborn, would of course learn the trade of His earthly father. He too would stand over a piece of wood cutting, chiseling, hammering, and sanding. The hours were long, tedious at times, and exacted from Him creative energy.

Jesus learned that building and repairing on earth took great strength with gentleness, persistence with patience, an eye for quality with the appreciation for beauty. Jesus, bound by the laws of earth, found creating and repairing hard, dirty, but satisfying work.

 A larger workshop

As a young man, Jesus left His earthly father’s carpenter’s shop filled with broken furniture in need of repair, blocks of wood ready for the first cuts, and the scrap pieces thrown aside because of their uselessness. Out of one father’s shop He strode right into another. In the larger workshop of humanity, men and women would be His craft — those individuals broken by the despair of hatred, the loneliness of unforgiveness, and the emptiness of unfulfillment; those children and innocents ready and willing for the first work of righteousness in their hearts; and those persons thrown away by society because they were lepers, lame, and contiguously pitiful.

Jesus soon found that creating and repairing sinful mankind hard, dirty, but satisfying work.

He worked extensive hours at the carpenter’s bench cutting out the refuse of old teachings, chiseling at the ragged edges of disbelief, hammering at the laws of love, and sanding away the rough surface of self-uprightness. With a heart full of compassion, hands gentle but firm, and an eye for perfection, Jesus the carpenter worked at building and repairing — the family business, learned at the side of His Father.

 Fashioning a life

The Carpenter, creative and skilled, is still at work today.

Tirelessly, He works on me. Out of this world’s misery He took me and brought me to the worn workbench of His righteousness. Lovingly I had been created, but my time when exposed to outside forces had worn me down, broken my spirit, sucked up my usefulness. Approvingly, the Carpenter held me, examined me, and with the eyes of a creator, spoke to me of new life, new meaning.

And the repairs began. Gently, He took the tools of love, peace, and joy and created in me obedience, contentment, and a renewed mission. It certainly didn’t happen overnight; in fact, the process continues even now. At times I have cried out, not because I wanted Him to stop, but because I didn’t like feeling so vulnerable, so pliable in His hands. I still carry deep scars, but these too are being smoothed and sanded into something marvelous — my own distinguishing mark. The Craftsman knew my innate weaknesses and made me strong. He knew my blemishes and made me beautiful. He knew my strengths and made me purposeful.

Dusty, blistered, callused hands and an aching back — these are the hazards of the carpenter’s life.

Blood-soaked, pierced hands and feet, and a broken heart — these are the hazards of the Carpenter’s life. Neither sound so enticing to me, but the rewards are immense as the Creator looks upon us — His life’s passion, crafted with care.