When we look into God's word, we see that there are many different phrases used to describe Jesus. For example:
We could examine Jesus' life from any of these aspects, but in this lesson I'd like us to look at Jesus as a carpenter. Mark 6:1-4 reads:
"Then He went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him. And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, 'Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands! Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?' So they were offended at Him."
We're not going to spend much time in this passage, but a few comments are in order. When Jesus came to Nazareth he taught and worked a few miracles and the people were amazed. Why? Because they knew Jesus' background. They knew that His father was a carpenter (cf. Matt. 13:55), and they couldn't figure out where He got His wisdom or ability to speak publicly. They knew Jesus' family, and they were aware of the fact that He, like His foster-father, was a carpenter. Joseph, in keeping with the traditions of the Jewish culture, believed that those who did not teach their sons a trade taught them to steal. Joseph taught his eldest boy to use a hammer and a saw, and that is how the citizens of Nazareth thought of Jesus. First, they thought of him as "the carpenter's boy" and later they came to think of him as "the carpenter."
But, they weren't willing to consider Him in any other light. They didn't want to believe that He was anything more than just a carpenter. These people didn't believe in Jesus as the Son of God, just a son of a carpenter. I hope you believe that Jesus is the Son of God, but that will not be our focus in this lesson. I want us to explore the notion of Jesus as a carpenter.
1. JESUS THE CARPENTER MADE THE WORLD.
The apostle John begins his account of the gospel by mentioning this very fact. John 1:1-3 states - "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made." The context makes it clear that the Word is Jesus Christ (cf. John 1:14). Thus, verse 3 could be paraphrased as follows: All things were made through Jesus, and without Jesus nothing was made.
That's not hard to understand, is it? Everything that was ever created was created by Jesus. Ephesians 3:8,9 reveals this same thought, when Paul said - "To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ."
So, Jesus made the world; He created it. Did He do a good job? You better believe He did! Jesus is a master "carpenter," so to speak! The things He builds are not only suitable for fulfilling their purpose, they are also beautiful to behold.
Just think about planet Earth. It's easy to see the perfect design of this magnificent world. The earth is just the right distance from the sun so we don't freeze to death or burn up. The earth is rotating and moving at just the right velocity to keep any of the seasons from becoming too long and negatively affecting the cycle of growing crops. The earth has just the right amount of water to keep the planet's temperature fairly constant; the earth has just the right environment for plants and animals to survive. The earth is just the right distance from the moon to ensure tides that are not too high or too low. We're just scratching the surface here with these examples, but the point I'm trying to make should be obvious--the complexity and beauty of the world proves that is was no accident! Whether you examine the largest of earth's creatures or the smallest seed, you will be amazed at the skill and design manifested. As the Psalmist correctly wrote, "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork" (Psa. 19:1). The universe, our world, and everything therein was designed and crafted by a true genius. Jesus the carpenter made the world!
2. JESUS THE CARPENTER BUILT THE CHURCH.
Not only did Jesus make the world, He also built His church. In Matthew 16:16, Peter confessed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus responded by blessing Peter and promising to build His church upon the truth of Peter's confession.
We know that Jesus established His church on the first Pentecost following His resurrection (cf. Acts 2). It isn't hard to see the perfect construction of the church. It is built on a foundation that will never crumble (cf. I Cor. 3:11). Its walls are made of living stones that are perfectly arranged around the chief cornerstone (cf. I Pet. 2:4-6). These stones are cemented together with the mortar of love (cf. John 15:12). Jesus' church is adorned by a solid door that can only be opened by the owner (cf. John 10:7,9; Rev. 3:7). The church has a window that fills the house with light (cf. II Tim. 3:16,17; Psa. 119:105).
Obviously, I'm describing the church in a figurative sense, but this imagery of the church is found in the Scriptures I've cited. Literally, we know that the church is made up of people, God's saved people, in particular. God adds to the church those who are being saved daily (cf. Acts 2:47). They're called Christians (cf. Acts 11:26). Christians are like stones that are being built upon the solid foundation of Jesus Christ; we are held together and united by our love--our love for the truth, our love for the Lord, and our love for each other! The door that marks the entrance into Jesus' church is clearly marked--to become a member of His church one must obey the gospel (cf. II Thess. 1:7-9); that is, he must believe that Jesus is the Christ (cf. John 8:24), he must repent of his sins (cf. Luke 13:3), he must confess his faith in Jesus (cf. Rom. 10:9,10), and he must be immersed in water for the forgiveness of his sins (cf. Acts 2:38). Additionally, once one is added to the church he must continue to be guided by God's light, the inspired, infallible, word of God!
Isn't the church that Christ built wonderful? Indeed it is! Christians, remember that you are a part of the church that Jesus built. Do your part to keep the church pure and strong by encouraging others, growing in the truth, doing good works, and bringing new souls into His kingdom. Jesus the carpenter built the church, and it is marvelous!
3. JESUS THE CARPENTER IS BUILDING MANSIONS IN HEAVEN.
Not only did Jesus make the world and build His church, He is also building mansions in heaven for the faithful. Shortly before His departure from Earth, Jesus said - "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also" (John 14:1-3).
Don't you want to go to heaven someday to have your own dwelling place built by Jesus Himself? Surely nothing on Earth can even begin to compare with the wonder of heaven! No one will be dissatisfied with the mansion Christ has prepared for His bride. The climate in heaven is perfect; the sun doesn't beat down upon you. There is no such thing as hunger or thirst or pain or death in heaven (cf. Rev. 7:16; 21:4). The sparkling river of life is there as well as the beautiful tree of life (cf. Rev. 22:1,2). The street in heaven is pure gold like transparent glass (cf. Rev. 21:21). The gates of heaven never have to be shut (cf. Rev. 21:25) and the neighbors you'll have in heaven are the best imaginable (cf. Rev. 21:27). It all boils down to this: Heaven is perfect in every way, and Jesus the carpenter is preparing it for the faithful. A more beautiful place has never been prepared by any other carpenter!
Now, we've considered three fundamental ways in which Jesus is a carpenter. However, do you know who else is a carpenter? Satan! Although the Scriptures don't explicitly state that the devil is a carpenter, I think we can deduce such. Of course, the things he constructs are not beautiful and useful like Jesus' carpentry work. Satan is only good at building lies and false hopes.
For example, we know for a fact that Jesus created the world, yet Satan has constructed the theory of evolution. He built the theory to draw people away from God as their Creator. Once he could get people to think that life developed by chance over eons of time, then he could draw them away from the moral standard of God's word. He could get them to believe that there is no God and that each person should just live his life as he pleases. Yes, evolution is the handiwork of the devil, but it is a lie and will only lead to destruction!
We also know for a fact that Jesus built His church, yet Satan has constructed many other false churches. Satan built these other churches to draw people away from the only true church. Once he could get people to think that one church is as good as another, then he could draw them away from the doctrine of the New Testament regarding the work and worship of the church. He could get them to believe that God is pleased with whatever man offers Him in worship. He could get them to believe that it doesn't matter what a person believes or practices in religion as long as he is sincere. Satan has built hundreds of false churches in an effort to get people to think they're right with God when they're really not. Most people don't realize that there is only one true church and that the rest are fakes and will be uprooted at the Judgment (cf. Matt. 15:13), and Satan wants to keep them in their ignorance. Yes, the chaos of the religious world is Satan's handiwork, but only the church that Jesus established and paid for with His own blood (cf. Acts 20:28) can offer genuine hope.
We need to realize and tell others that the church that Jesus built is the church that obeys Him and does His will. If we're not living by the New Testament, then we're not a part of Jesus' church! It's as simple as that! The church that Jesus built is the one that was founded in Jerusalem on the Pentecost after Jesus' resurrection. It is the one that goes by a Scriptural name. It is the one that is Scriptural in the way it is organized. It has no creed book or church manual. It is guided by the word of God alone as its standard of authority. It is not a denomination and is unwilling to compromise with error. I am proud to be a member of the church of Christ, the church that belongs to Christ. I don't have any intention of ever leaving Jesus' church and joining a church that Satan has built!
Finally, we also know for a fact that Jesus is preparing a heavenly home for us, yet Satan has constructed some of the most beautiful earthly mansions. Satan has been successful, especially in this country, in getting people to put their trust in earthly wealth and possessions. Once he gets people to think that this life is all there is, then he offers to build them fancy homes, big bank accounts, luxury cars, etc. Basically, he promises to build them a life of pleasure if they will only give him their soul to pay for it! Don't be deceived, Satan is an expert at building dreams of materialism! But you should be warned that none of Satan's constructions come with fire extinguishers! And it is only a matter of time before the things he builds for you will all go up in smoke (cf. II Pet. 3:10). Don't give your soul away for the promises of earthly bliss that Satan will offer to build for you. Your soul is worth more than anything he can offer you for it. As Jesus said - "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Matt. 16:26).
Dear friends, Jesus the carpenter built the greatest things ever made. Satan's carpentry work is built on lies, deception, and fraud. The work of Satan might like good on the surface, but a closer examination will reveal its shortcomings. Jesus is the master carpenter and Satan is not. Followers of Christ, when we consider the world, the church, and the eternal home that Jesus is preparing for us, we must thank God that Jesus is a carpenter as well as a savior!
Thank you for listening, and may the Lord bless you as you strive to do His will.