God. Are you REALLY sure your Son should HAVE beEN a carpenter?



          “And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying,’ Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him?  How are such mighty works done by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?’  And they took offense at him.”  Mark 6:2-3 (ESV)


          An associate of mine, also a long-time retiree, remarked to me, “Did you ever notice that common laborers and others who had jobs that our society considers menial never retire?”  I was puzzled by his observation and asked him what he meant.  He replied, “The best way to determine what I mean is to ask some retirees what their jobs were before they retired.”  I started doing so and I was surprised to discover that almost everyone either formerly held managerial positions or were high-level technicians!  Even one person who I knew had only a third grade education claimed he had been a stationary engineer (which upon further questioning turned out to consist of tending a boiler)!


          Although my survey in no way could be considered scientific, it did reinforce the belief that retirees do tend to upgrade their backgrounds to appear more prestigious than they probably actually were.  Why does this self-promotion occur?  I believe it is mainly, because our society, in spite of claiming equality of worth, does assign greater status to some walks in life than others.


          Unfortunately, this seems not to have changed since Jesus’ times!!  The Scripture (Mark 6:2-3) supplied above indicates that people in His hometown rejected His teaching because He was just a carpenter!  We are left to wonder if He had studied at a rabbinical school, would his audience have accepted His teachings.  Maybe, at least they would have treated Him with greater respect!


          Even today there are some scholars, who assert that Jesus wasn’t a “mere carpenter”.  Some cite Matthew 13:55 which only describes Him as “son of the carpenter” not as being a carpenter.  One scholar even highlights the Aramaic use of the term “carpenter/craftsman” (naggan) to metaphorically describe a “scholar” or “learned man”.


          Perhaps, as some suggest, the only Jesus many people want to identify with is the mythical one.  They do not want to accept the real Jesus.  They want one they can worship who is idealized.  Consider the portrayals of Him in our Western world, as being white, blond, blue-eyed, and having movie star’s good looks.  Quite a contrast to the typical Jew of His era who was usually dark-skinned, short in stature (usually about 5” 4”), having a small physical frame and dark hair!    Such an image quite obviously does not fit the image that “our” Jesus should look like!


          Did God make a mistake?  Shouldn’t His Son have graduated from the best rabbinical schools or at least studied under a famous Rabbi?  Surely, He should have authored some scholarly books and have held a prestigious position in society!  What about His choice of disciples?  Wouldn’t those with some formal education have been better able to reach a more refined and influential audience!


          Unfortunately, I guess we are stuck with a historical Jesus, whose occupation and background do not seem to meet our present-day standards; one who really didn’t seem to strive for worldly prestige; and whose ability to communicate seemed to be confined to common folk.  In spite of all these “limitations” His work and teaching resulted in a spiritual revolution that has endured for 2,000 years.  Maybe God wasn’t wrong after all!