“Is this not the Carpenter?” (Mark 6:3).
We know that Jesus grew up in Nazareth, and worked in Joseph’s carpentry shop. Thus, by trade, He was a carpenter. But what puzzles us is that He learned things as He was growing up. In one place the Scripture says, “though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered” (Heb 5:8).
See the enigma here?
How can One who is All-knowing learn anything? The mystery is solved once we realize that Jesus, when He became a Man, gave up the claim to all things that made Him Divine. He laid aside His omnipotence, His omnipresence, and His omniscience. As a Man, He was not all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-present.
He was a Carpenter.
G.H.Morrison wrote, “Every man learns certain lessons from the trade in which he is engaged.” (Highways of the Heart, pg.40). Thus, Jesus learned things by working as a carpenter. The shop in which He worked was not simply filled with planks of wood and piles of saw-dust and wood chips – for Him it was full of parables and lessons. What are some things Jesus may have learned in that little Nazarene shop?
Here are three lessons suggested by Morrison years ago.
First, Jesus would have learned how much may be hidden in a common thing. Be there on that day when a shipment of trees arrived at the shop. After they were unloaded, the process would start by lopping off branches, stripping the bark, and cutting the timber into a variety of sizes and lengths.
Soon, after the skilled hands of the Workman applied His talents, that gnarled wood that once stood as but a tree in the forest was now turned into a plough, a bowl, a desk, a bed. If these are the things that can be seen in a piece of wood – what else can be seen if we but look around us?
Morrison observes, “Jesus saw the Kingdom in a mustard seed. He saw the citizen of heaven in a child. He saw, as no one else has ever seen, how much lays hidden in the human heart, and in the lives and characters of common men.”
What do you suppose it is that Jesus sees in you?
We see in the words of G.H.Morrison, that “Every man learns certain lessons from the trade in which he is engaged.” And the question we posed was what are some of the things Jesus may have learned while working in the carpenter shop of Nazareth.
The first thing we considered was that Jesus would have learned how much may be hidden in a common thing. A simple piece of wood, handled with the right craft and care, may become any number of other things – remarkable to behold.
Perhaps the second lesson Jesus would have learned is the great pains it takes to transform a thing from what it is, to what it can be.
If transforming a trunk of a tree into any number of useful implements for household and store require studied effort and patient skill – how much more so the reshaping of men’s character and lives.
Think of the fiery sons of thunder, James and John; what long hours must’ve been required of the Lord to slowly turn them into pastors who brought a message of love to the early church! And Simon Peter — a rock that must be hewn repeatedly before any good thing could rise from the rubble of his selfish soul.
Or which tool was needed to change a doubting Thomas into a man of faith and hope? A selfish Matthew into a generous healer of the sick? A pensive Andrew into an unstoppable evangelist?
And what pains does the Lord now take with you, as He brings forth out of your timber a work of grace that will dazzle the world?
Hang in there, my friend; it may not yet be clear to you what the Lord is doing, but once He is done you will be blessed beyond words!
Previously we saw, in the words of G.H.Morrison, that “Every man learns certain lessons from the trade in which he is engaged.” And the question we posed was what are some of the things Jesus may have learned while working in the carpenter shop of Nazareth.
The first thing we considered was that Jesus would have learned how much may be hidden in a common thing. A simple piece of wood, handled with the right craft and care, may become any number of other things – remarkable to behold. The second lesson Jesus would have learned is the great pains it takes to transform a thing from what it is, to what it can be.
And now, to conclude; the third lesson we may consider as credible is that Jesus would’ve learned that the finest things are made of the hardest wood.
Very politely turn and tap someone near you on their head with the knuckle of your index finger. The harder the head, the more likely that person will be used for great things in the Kingdom!
Now, tap yourself on the head while you’re at it. Hopefully yours will not feel like a seed bag filled with mush! Soft heads don’t go far in any world.
Think of how hard a man Paul was before the Lord laid His hands upon him, transforming him into an Apostle. And now behold the wondrous power of the Lord’s craft seen in the many books written by that one man, and the great reach of his influence down through the ages.
Don’t be too quick to dismiss what may seem to you to be a hopeless case – especially if you feel that way about yourself. The Lord often makes His finest things out of that which was deemed completely useless. Hard hearts are no challenge for Nail-scarred Hands.
He is working on you, and will take great pains to make the finest of things with what’s left of your life. And you will bear witness that yes, this is the Carpenter – Jesus of Nazareth who alone does wondrous works with otherwise worthless things!