He learned the trade from his father who probably learned it from his father. The tools were simple. Wood. Nails. Hammer.
Wood shavings crunched on the floor, trod by leather sandals. The smell of lumber filled his nostrils. Banging. Scraping. Sawing. The workshop was continually busy. It was all in the life of a carpenter.
There was something satisfying about taking raw lumber and forming a piece of furniture, a shelf or a tool. But then there was the unspoken destiny. Driving a crude spike into the green flesh of the fallen tree reminded Him of the dark days to come.
We often think of Jesus in strictly Holy terms. The mental images are created by paintings or movies or pictures in the back of the Children’s Bible are clear. Walking among throngs with a lamb draped across his shoulder, or smiling at the man begging by the side of the road, or heaven opening up with a dove, a light shining down on His face. But a carpenter?
Rarely do we imagine The Holy One, the promised King, as a common laborer. I have never given thought to the sliver in his thumb. The shards of primitive iron scraping the skin. The calloused fingers. It’s all so menial.
But this is the Lamb of God, the Savior of the world, and he’s a common carpenter. He should have had an easier life. He could have been a farmer, a goat herder, or a fisherman. He could have made shoes or worked with fabric. He could have done a hundred other things – but Jesus chose the life of a carpenter.
And this fact was not lost on Jesus. He knew that one day, his human life would end with the very tools of his trade.
“If it be Your will, take this from me.” But it wasn’t. Every nail reminded him that the prophecies would be fulfilled. Every piece of lumber shaped would remind him that he would be draped across a timber one day. Every hammer swung would remind him of those who would take his life one day. Yet he went about his duties performing a job that would foretell his death.
How could he not think the wood, the nails and the hammer.?
And how could I ever I forget?