Sunday, March 11, 2007

Jesus' Abode

It is funny what you notice when you read Scripture. One thing that caught my eye recently is the connection of two assumptions in Scripture. Firstly, that Jesus was a carpenter. This is based on the vocation of his stepfather Joseph who was a carpenter as we are told in Mk 6:3; Mt 13:55. The second strand is the saying, 'foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the son of man has nowhere to lay his head' (Mt 8:20; Lk 9:58). I suddenly thought today, 'hey; if Jesus was a carpenter, why didn't he make himself a home base'.

I then looked up carpentry and found this from The Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol 2, 2085): 'The carpenter worked in timber, setting up the framework of houses, the roofing, windows, and doors. Often small structures were erected by the householder, but temples and palaces required specialized artisans where carpenters worked alongside stonemasons (2 Kgs 12:11; 22:6; 1 Chr 14:1; 22:15; 2 Chr 24:12; 34:11; Ezr 3:7). Some of the delicate work for cedar linings, roofing, flooring, and the internal woodwork was undertaken by specialist carpenters (or joiners). Carpenters’ tools of ancient times have been discovered in excavations. Some are referred to in the Bible (Is 44:13). They included compass, pencil, plane, saw, hammer, ax, adze, chisel, plumb line (Am 7:7, 8), drill, file, and square. Carpentry is seldom referred to in the NT though it was the profession of Jesus and his father (Mt 13:55; Mk 6:3).'

This being the case, Jesus was eminently capable of providing a home base for himself. I looked a little bit more and found Mt 4:13 where it tells us that Jesus left Nazareth to live in Capernaum. Does this indicate that he built himself a home? Possibly.

The answer to this conundrum lies no doubt in Jesus' call. He said the foxes saying not to speak of whether he had a home or whether he could build one or not. Rather, he no doubt said this to indicate to the would-be follower who boldly stated that he would follow Jesus to challenge him with the radical nature of the call; it is a call to potential homelessness. Jesus had left kith and kin to carry out his ministry and saying yes to him may lead us to the same renouncement of community, vocation, home and more. The question for us all is, a we prepared to pay the cost?

Anyway, that is a bit of my musings; what do you fink?

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