“Is this not the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon?
It is interesting that the Son of God would be a carpenter. Many theologians have remarked that Jesus was a carpenter because he had to identify with the average man. What better blue collar job to identify with than a carpenter? Justin the Martyr alluded to this in his work entitled, Dialogue with Trypho, chapter 88:
“And when Jesus came to Jordan, he was considered to be the son of Joseph the Carpenter; and he appeared without comeliness, as the Scriptures declared; and he was deemed a carpenter (for he was in the habit of working as a carpenter among men, making ploughs and yokes; by which he taught the symbols of righteousness and an active life).”
Thus by identifying with the average man, Jesus could, as Mr. Martyr alludes to, use something ordinary to teach something ethical and extraordinary such as righteousness by his work.
But is there a deeper meaning to being a carpenter that lies hidden beneath the literal story? Maybe something the casual reading of Jesus being a carpenter would not reveal? The answer is yes. Jesus, as the symbol of salvation, would be a carpenter since no other symbol would fulfill his destiny quite so good. Let’s investigate.
H.W. Wallis, in his work, Cosmology of the Rig-Veda, informs us that Tvashtar (the first-born creator God in Vedic religion), was the “clever-handed carpenter God” who adorns heaven and earth with forms. Note that Tvashtar was a first-born creator just as Jesus is known to us through scripture, who also created all things.
John 1:3 states,
“All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made.”
And Colossians 1:15 states:
“He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born over all creation.”
My point is that both are noted as first-born Gods who created all things. And they are both referenced as carpenters.
Gaskell informs us that a carpenter is a symbol of the Divine Artificer, the One Life which constructs all things. He further instructs us that Spirit (heaven) and matter (earth) are the “artificers pair” from which all things are produced. More importantly, “from [them] aspiration for growth arises.”
Let’s focus on the nomenclature aspiration for a moment.
Spiritually speaking, aspiration is an important term. It signifies the yearning in the soul for something beyond physical life. Something beyond the momentous lifestyle we often lead. Wake up early, go to work, come home and then get ready to do it all over again tomorrow. Caught up in the lower ego, we can find this process to be depressing. Often we have many other responsibilities that can weigh us down. In the wrong frame of mind, these daily duties become a struggle. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We need to have a renewed mind where our everyday lives become a stream of spontaneous moments where we learn and grow spiritually. This process becomes activated when we learn to change our perspective and engage in the process of becoming through present moment awareness and learning about the true self. The Christ, which is the latent potential always there waiting to be activated, is a present reality that all of us on the spiritual path aspire to tap into. This is the spiritual road some of us choose to undertake with this one present life we have.
The Christ, or higher self, is the divine life that manifest from the Father, or primordial consciousness, that is the power to create. According to scripture, the Christ is to be born within us. To put it in layman terms, this is the process whereby higher consciousness is raised from the lower mind to the higher. This process commences through the death of the lower ego. Our aspirations are the source for this process to begin, and, if you are reading this article, you are most likely on the path, as I have been for many years.
Getting Back to Christ as the Carpenter
I had a conversation with Paul Young earlier about Christ as the carpenter, and he had an excellent point to interject. He stated that Christ as the carpenter is also the builder of the temple. The temple as you well know is us. The Apostle Paul states that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit, which is also the temple of God, or God within us. Christ, as the master builder, is also responsible for sending the Holy Spirit, and is the builder of it all.
How befitting for a spiritual carpenter!
Thus we see that the carpenter is the only logical choice for the first-born God that is to LIVE through us. In other words, it is the only logical spiritual choice. The question some of us may be asking right now is whether or not Jesus of the scriptures, as the carpenter, was meant to be literal. I leave you with an important scripture:
“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14).
What should we take away from this knowledge?
Whether you regard Jesus as a literal person for which we are look to salvation, or as symbolic figure of Scripture for the process in which man finds salvation, Jesus, as the CARPENTER, is the artificer of a great spiritual work in our life.
Even if you view Jesus as a historical person, we are still commanded to go into our own prayer closet (in meditation, reflection, and prayer) to find Him. Personally, I view this process as the unveiling of the inner Christ. This is still a process that we have to commence in ourselves, with a decision to commit. Belief is simply not enough. We must commit to the process of salvation which is beyond and above a human belief system (separated only be religion), to press onto the goal of salvation. Remember that the next time you are taught the Lord’s Prayer in order to be saved!