With Christmas just a few weeks away, workshops like this one are busy making toys and gifts. The countdown has begun; are you anticipating the arrival of the Messiah?
Our Christmas theme this year is Carpenter’s Workshop. There’s something special about a workshop isn’t there? When we see a master carpenter at work, we’re amazed at the transformation that takes place from some rough pieces of wood to a beautiful masterpiece. Just think of the wonderful creations that will be made in preparation for Christmas?
I come from a family of carpenters. My grandfather was a carpenter. My dad has the skills of a carpenter, just not the title. Before my fourth grade year, we moved to Afton on about 8 acres of land. That summer we lived in a pop-up camper, all seven of us. Dad would work at 3M as a physicist during the day and come home to work on the house until dark. It was a dream summer for me: lots of woods to explore and a big hole in the ground where our house would stand. It was a good house, still standing strong today because of the good work of my Father.
And now today, our house is full of dad’s handiwork: bookshelves, desks, bunk beds, cabinets. A few of those items I helped build in an effort to pick up a little bit of know how.
Jesus was also born into a family of carpenters. His earthly father was a carpenter. We know this from Matthew 13:55 when Jesus taught in his hometown…
[Matthew 13:55] Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas?
In ancient Israel, it was customary for every Jew to be taught some trade by his parents. It’s evident that Joseph taught carpentry to Jesus because listen to Mark 6:3 when the crowds spoke about Jesus…
[Mark 6:3] Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us? And they took offense at him.
Jesus was called a carpenter, a trade he learned from his father. I assure you, no one has called me carpenter, which is no fault of my dad’s. Come to think of it, no one has called me physicist either!
But like Jesus, I grew up with the smell of freshly cut wood around the house. The sounds of sawing and sanding were as familiar to me as they would have been to Jesus. No doubt, Jesus had to sweep up wood shavings or gather up scrap wood, just like I had to do.
Yeah, there’s something special about a workshop. Wonderful creations come out of a workshop. Over the next several weeks, we’ll talk about Jesus, the Master Carpenter and the creation He is working on, or should I say recreation.
Like many other workshops at this time of year, the Master Carpenter is also working on a gift. It’s not a gift made of wood, but the principles of carpentry still apply: have the finished product in mind, follow the plans, use the right tools for the job, take your time to get it right, enjoy your new creation.
We can have confidence in the Master Carpenter. Check out some of his finest work:
The Master Carpenter
The heavens and earth (Genesis 1-2)
[Colossians 1:15-17] He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
The new heavens and the new earth (Revelation 21-22)
[John 14:1-4] Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.
[Hebrews 11:10] For Abraham was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
[Hebrews 11:16] They were longing for a better country – a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
And how about His designs for the ark, the tabernacle, the temple? How about the work He did transforming a group of misfits - called disciples – into men and women who transformed the world!
The Master Carpenter has a proven track record of excellent designs and superior craftsmanship. Isn’t that what separates a Master Carpenter from the rest – excellent designs and superior craftsmanship?
What amazes me about my dad’s workshop is his abundance of tools. He has gathered enough tools over the years to fully stock his workshop. If he needs a clamp, he takes a particular one off the wall. If he needs a bit, he opens a drawer and finds just the right one. A good carpenter needs the right tools and so does the Master Carpenter. What tools does Jesus use in His workshop? Throughout this series, we’ll talk about the variety tools the Master Carpenter uses on His projects, but there is one tool I must highlight today. It’s the tool of truth.
[John 17:17] Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.
[Ephesians 6:17] Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
[Hebrews 4:12-13] For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Truth is not the Master Carpenter’s only tool, but it is his primary tool, a tool used in EVERY project. And a tool in the hands of a Master Carpenter is a sight to behold. We see this in 2 Timothy 3…
[2 Timothy 3:16-17] All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
But a tool in the hands of the untrained can do serious damage to a project. My dad gave me his old router. I’ve got the tool, but I’m not that skilled at using it. I need more practice, more training. The tool is effective, but it needs to be used correctly. If I mess up, it’s not the router’s fault. It’s the one handling the router. All this to say, you not only need the right tools, you need the skill to use them.
Just read through the gospels and you’ll see how skilled Jesus is in using truth. He calls us to be skilled in using truth as well.
[2 Timothy 2:15] Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
The Master Carpenter is at work, and His work is in us, His Church.
[Ephesians 5:25-27] Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
The finished project, the gift that the Master Carpenter is making is the Church, the Bride of Christ. Followers of Jesus Christ who are mature, faithful, obedient, holy, pure. This project is going to take some work – some sawing and cutting and planing and sanding. Throughout this Christmas season, we’ll talk about what is needed for this gift to be finished.
But what ‘til you see her when she’s done. It’ll take your breath away and this gift will bring eternal pleasure to the Master Carpenter.
All the workshops in the world are getting gifts ready to celebrate Jesus’ first coming. In the Carpenter’s Workshop, Jesus is working to get his gift ready for His second coming.
The countdown has already begun. The work has already started. And we have confidence that He who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)
So come join us the next several weeks as we take a peek into the Carpenter’s Workshop to see what work is being done on His magnificent creation. But let’s never forget: the magnificence of the creation does not come from the creation itself, but from the One who is making her magnificent! We don’t praise a block of wood when it becomes a bookshelf or a train or a mountain lion. And we won’t praise the Bride when she appears in all her splendor.
We will forever praise the only master craftsman skilled enough to accomplish such a work!