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