Monday, December 17, 2018

Jesus was born into a carpenter family.  Like most boys in his day, he began early to learn his father’s trade.  Can you imagine Jesus making anything that wasn’t exceptional?  He would have been the perfect craftsman and employee.  Each item he built, finished, and sold would produce a happy owner.  He would be the first to go to work and the last to leave.  Imagine the millions of dollars a chair or table would sell for today if its maker was Jesus?  “Joseph and Sons Carpenter Shop” would have been world renown due to his craftsmanship.  But he left and took up work that was much more important.  Family doesn’t always see things alike and this distraction caused bad family feelings.

Do you think Joseph, James, Joseph, Jr., Simon, and Judas were overjoyed when Jesus changed his profession (Matthew 13:55)?  Rather than praises, there would have been complaints due to his absence.  His family was not his biggest supporters in his new profession.  On one occasion when Jesus returned to the area, Mary and the brothers came to where Jesus was teaching, wanting to take him home!  Weren’t they impressed by his healing of folks who were giving their testimony?  Apparently not.  They thought he was “beside himself” (Mark 3:21 KJV.  “Out of his head” NKJV.  “Lost his senses” NASB.  “Out of his mind” NIV, ESV.  “He’s crazy” IEB).   Jesus was an embarrassment to the family.  They wanted to “seize,” “take custody,” “take charge of him,” “lay hold on him,” or “take him home.”  One doesn’t allow a crazy person to exhibit his lunacy before the public.  A loving family takes him home by force and hides him from public view.

Perhaps the family had been influenced by the teachers of the law who had traveled from distant Jerusalem to charge Jesus.  They didn’t deny Jesus’ miracles, they attributed them to the power of Satan.  If you can’t answer the truth, you make a demon out of your foe.  Jesus was charged with having “an unclean spirit” (Mark 3:30).  What sane person would want to listen to or allow that “spirit” to rub off on him?  It was the old ruse of “Guilt by Association.”  He was a renown carpenter who had sunk into Satan’s abyss and brought embarrassment to his family and their livelihood!  They were there, for his benefit, to get him off the street and save him from public ridicule.

Seminary professors, lawyers, priests, synagogue leaders, the high priests, the politically correct, and those more worldly than wise were fed and repeated lies that made Jesus look worse than Barabbas (Matthew 27:16).  Jesus’ brothers, sisters, and mother must have thought, “If he had only stayed home, none of this would have happened.”  The brothers were not big fans of Jesus ministry.  They probably thought Jesus had kept their mother confused ever since he was born (Luke 2:19, 51).

When Jesus was a young boy, he must have been priceless in many ways.  Luke tells us,

And so, the little boy was growing up and becoming stronger and smarter.  God’s gracious love was upon him . . . Jesus grew taller and continued to learn more and more.  People liked him, and he pleased God” (Luke 2: 40, 52, Emphasis mine, RH).

When he was twelve, while in Jerusalem, he went to the Temple courtyard and visited the teachers, “listening to them and asking them questions.  Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and wise answers” (Luke 2:47).

It is amazing how Jesus neighbors liked him when he was growing up but wanted to throw him off a cliff when he was an adult (Luke 4:28-29).  Tell people what they want to hear and you’re a hero.  Tell them what they don’t want to hear and you’re a heretic!   Feed people until they cannot hold another bite and you are appreciated.  Feed them truth and you’re an apostate.

Apparently, it took Jesus’ resurrection to change his brothers into believers.  Once he began his earthly ministry, he no longer picked up a saw, chisel, plumb line, or other tools.  The carpenter business was a family obligation but his mission in life wasn’t making and selling furniture.  Even if family considered him crazy and he needed to be kept off the streets, Jesus did not allow the negative to defeat his purpose.  His calling was higher.  His mission was to make the world great again.  He was rewarded with horrible beatings to head and body.  His hands and feet felt large nails tearing holes in them, securing him to a Roman punishment.  He wore the shame, pain, rejection, hate, spit, ignorance, lies, desertion, loneliness, and death so WE could spend eternity with God!  He died, shouldering the burden of our sins and in exchange bestowed upon us his righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).  He gave us what we could not earn.  He succeeded where we failed.  He was victorious where our weaknesses surrendered.  He turned our worthlessness into a heavenly blessing by paying it all!

He calls us to follow him (Matthew 11:28-30).  God adds those believers to the sinless body of Jesus.  God loves you (John 3:16).  He wants to bestow His grace upon you.  The command is “come.”  About three thousand responded on Pentecost (Acts 2:41, 47).  You too can be part of that growing number!