Only a Carpenter
(Taken from Come Ye Apart by J. R. Miller)
“Is not this the carpenter?”
Certainly; yet that refutes nothing. It only helps to prove the claims of Jesus to be the Son of God. If he had been a learned rabbi or philosopher, it might have been said that he had received His wisdom from men; but as he was only a poor village carpenter, he must have been taught of God.
There are other thoughts which this question suggests. It tells us how wisely Jesus spent his youth and early manhood — not in idleness, but in useful toil, no doubt helping thus to provide for His mother and her family. The example has its inspiring lesson for every young man growing up in the home of his childhood. He should make the years bright with earnest work and the conscientious use of every moment of time.
There really are no pictures of the Christ; yet there are on the pages of the evangelists pictures of the Christ in certain attitudes, which have their deep meaning for us. Once we see Him with a whip in his hand driving the temple-profaners from their unlawful work. Another time we see Him with a basin and towel. Again we see Him on the cross dying. All these pictures are richly suggestive. Here we see Him as a carpenter, with the saw and the chisel in his hands, and this picture is rich in meaning.
It teaches us that there is no disgrace in working at the trade, since the Son of God wrought as a carpenter. No hands are so beautiful as working hands. Marks of toil are brighter insignia of honour than jeweled rings and delicate whiteness. The picture shows also the condescension of Christ. Though “he was rich, … he became poor,” and even toiled for His daily bread. It assures us, therefore, of His sympathy now with those who toil. It is a pleasant thought that the hands that now hold the sceptre once wielded the hammer and the saw.