Shaped Like a Man

(this is my response to Emma’s writing prompt for today)

He came

shaped like a man

shaped like an outsider

like all us outsiders

outside the Garden

outside the curtain

outside the vineyard

outside the camp

outside the gate

He walked outside

with all us outsiders

hugging and blessing

and healing

and calling

He came

shaped like a man

shaped like an outsider

to bring all us outsiders


He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life. Genesis 3:24 (ESV)

outside the curtain that shields the ark of the covenant law, Aaron and his sons are to keep the lamps burning … Exodus 27:21 (I am the light of the world – John 9:5)

Moses placed the table in the Tent of Meeting on the north side of the tabernacle, outside the veil. He arranged the bread on it … Exodus 40:22-23 (I am the bread of life – John 6:48)

“But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. Matthew 21:38-39

Although the high priest brings the blood of animals into the Holy Place as a sacrifice for sin, the bodies are burned outside the camp. And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate, to sanctify the people by His own blood. Therefore let us go to Him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace He bore. Hebrews 13:11-13

They replied, “You were born in utter sin, and you are instructing us?” And they threw him out. When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, He found the man … John 9:34-35 (Berean Study Bible)

Photo, Outside Looking In #1, by Stephen Kelly

Isn’t This the Carpenter?

All they could see were the calloused hands and the things he had made with his father in that little, backwater town.

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, that he even does miracles! Isn’t this the carpenter (worker in wood, craftsman, builder)? 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 offence at him. Mark 6:2-3 (NIV)

Isn’t this the carpenter? This is one of those breathtakingly ironic questions, from our point of view now, aimed at Jesus in the Bible. Like Pontius Pilate asking Jesus, “What is truth?” or Nathaniel musing, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” So, in his own hometown, the people who thought they knew Jesus the best were offended at him and scoffed, “Isn’t this the carpenter?”

Isn’t this the carpenter? Yes, more than they could realize, he was, and is, the Carpenter! The Craftsman, the Builder. Jesus, the prophesied Messiah.

When He [God] prepared the heavens, I was there … when He marked out the foundations of the earth, then I was beside Him as a master craftsman (architect, master workman, skilled workman). Proverbs 8:27, 29-30 (NKJV)

When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house (dwelling, habitation, temple) for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son. 2 Samuel 7:12-14 (NIV)[i]

For He [Jesus] has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house. For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God. Hebrews 3:3-4 (NASB)

Jesus was this Carpenter, this Master Craftsman, this Architect. But all they could see were the calloused hands and the things he had made with his father in that little, backwater town. Can anything good come from Nazareth?

Jesus brought the Majesty and the Glory, the Redemption and Salvation, and the Authority and Kingdom of heaven down to us; made it our size. Something people could see with their eyes, but sometimes not understand, because they were looking for power and greatness and deliverance as the world sees it. They overlooked the Creator of the universe who had come as a simple carpenter, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords wearing a crown of thorns, the very Son of God as the ordinary son of Joseph and Mary, modeling obedience and honor to his parents, the loving Father come as an itinerant rabbi.

Isn’t this the carpenter? Yes, this is the Carpenter who came to build God’s house, God’s family of sons and daughters, God’s temple in us. Jesus may your calloused hands build your house in me.

For more about the Carpenter see The Craftsman


[i] “The earliest reference to a prophetic son of David is found in 2 Samuel, approximately 1000 BC. During David’s reign, his court prophet Nathan declared to him, ‘When your days are done and you lie with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you . . . and I will establish his kingship. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish his royal throne forever’ (2 Samuel 7:13-14, JPS).” Jews for Jesus


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