Was Jesus a carpenter?

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Question: "Was Jesus a carpenter?"

There is every evidence from Scripture that, before He began His ministry, Jesus was employed as a carpenter. His earthly father, Joseph, was also a carpenter, which means that Jesus was likely His father’s apprentice. It is bizarre to think that God Incarnate was taught to build things by a human man, but it seems that in this, as in all other aspects of His earthly life, Jesus submitted Himself to the humility of being fully human (Philippians 2:6–8).

People called Jesus a carpenter (Mark 6:3), and He was known as a carpenter’s son (Matthew 13:55). There is some evidence that the Greek word used for “carpenter” (tekton) could also be translated more broadly as “artisan,” “contractor,” or “handyman.” It is possible, therefore, that Jesus and Joseph were the sort of men you call when something needs to be fixed—be it made of wood, stone, or something else. It is also possible that they acted as civil engineers, even designing bridges or other structures that were needed by the people of the town. This throws an interesting light on Jesus’ later comments about the temple. As they were going past the temple, His disciples, perhaps knowing of His interests and past profession, pointed out the grandeur of the great buildings. Jesus told His disciples that those structures would all be thrown down (Mark 13:2). In addition to being a prophecy, Jesus’ words were perhaps a reminder of the importance of the spiritual over the physical.

Jesus made a prophecy that the Jews would destroy the temple and that He would raise it up again in three days. By this, He was referring to His resurrection (John 2:19–21). Looking back on that statement after His death and resurrection, the disciples believed in Him (verse 22). The night of His arrest, Jesus told His disciples of a future building project of His: “I go and prepare a place for you” (John 14:3). The Son of God and the Carpenter of Nazareth is right now building His church (Matthew 16:18) and preparing an eternal dwelling place for all who trust in Him.

Recommended Resource: More Than a Carpenter by John & Sean McDowell

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Was Jesus a carpenter?

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