This year, Easter finds me pondering the matter of Jesus being a carpenter. Our choir is practicing a song titled “Son of a Carpenter” for this Easter. I guess that is what got me to thinking about it.
I always figured Jesus’ occupation was pretty much a coincidence. He simply was abiding by the cultural norm of the day—a son enters his father’s occupation. Jesus was following the footsteps of Joseph. He just as well could have turned out be a fisherman, leather tanner, tentmaker, stonemason, farmer, etc., had that been Joseph’s calling.
But as Easter 2015 approaches, I am rethinking it. What is the job of a carpenter? Essentially carpenters perform just two types of tasks—create new things and restore or repurpose broken things. Could there be a more fitting earthly occupation for my Savior than to come as one who creates and restores?
Creating a new covenant
Jesus came to create a new covenant between humanity and God. With his band of disciples gathered around him, he created the church, although it would be a few more years before that label became widely used for followers of Christ worshipping, fellowshipping, and organized for ministry.
Jesus came to restore fallen mankind to the original state of innocence before God that once was enjoyed in Eden. He came to restore lives, broken by sin and branded by the contemptuous judgment of society, into lives of peace and meaning. And depending on how you read the New Testament, Jesus’ restoration work also includes, ultimately, the complete restoration of all of creation to its original splendor.
Broken lives can be restored
Isn’t this a message that we, our neighbors, our world need in 2015? Broken lives can be restored. New life is possible.
Now that I think about it, maybe Jesus the carpenter was indeed following the footsteps of his father, his Heavenly Father. Indeed, Jesus had to be a carpenter, a creator and redeemer.
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This Easter, give full-throated joy and celebration for the new creation and restoration that was first evidenced in the new life of his resurrection, with ours sure to follow.
Marcus W. Norris is the city attorney in Amarillo, where he is a member of First Baptist Church.