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The Carpenter

March 21, 2012

Carpentry Tools, Photo by Wolfgang Sauber (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic, 1.0 Generic, GDFL 1.2 or later)

Before the Lord took up His public ministry, He worked for years in anonymity, as a simple Carpenter.

Anyone who works in wood will tell you that the task is, in fact, far from simple. Woods vary in quality and strength. It takes knowledge and patience to produce something of lasting usefulness and beauty.

Jesus would have learned His trade from Joseph or another male relation. The God who fashioned this extraordinary universe of ours would have learned to sand, stain, hammer, and saw. His strong and gentle hands would have grown blistered and calloused, in the process.

Who the carpenter was that made Jesus’ cross, we do not know. The cross is unlikely to have been more than rough-hewn. It was intended for use by a criminal, after all.

As He struggled toward Golgotha under the weight of that cross, did Jesus recall the quiet days in His workshop? Did He think back on some wooden bowl of particularly fine quality for His mother, some toy to delight a child? Or was it a special irony that His punishment should involve the substance He had always shaped with such care?

At times for us, too, our work becomes an overwhelming burden. Yet that burden — that cross — may be the very means God uses to mold us into His image. The Lord carried His cross out of love and obedience. We are invited to follow in His footsteps.

And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of the Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him…” (John 19:17-18).

Lord Jesus, we weep to think that You carried the cross for us.

We know it was the weight of sin You carried, our sorrow and shame. Why You would have loved us so much, we cannot fathom.

Help us to carry our own cross — our loss, anxiety, or pain; our unbearable workload or intractable problem. Carry us forward another day, that we may yet meet You in glory. We ask this in Your holy name.



One Comment
  1. Daniel Colbert permalink

    Beautiful sentiments, thank you for continuing to post these Anna. They always get me thinking…

    Often people in “full-time ministry” struggle with the burdens of their work. They find it difficult to reconcile the fact that their work is “good” with how it is taking away time from family or burdening the in other ways. I think the same thing happens in every field. As much as I love working within the legal system to help people solve problems, it is often tedious and can became burdensome quickly. The only solution is to make sure the work is rooted in God.

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