Many who heard Jesus were astounded. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands!” Mark 6:2
In chapter 6 of Mark, Jesus and his disciples are at the synagogue in Nazareth (Jesus’ hometown). While there, Jesus begins to teach the crowd and perform a few miracles. The people who are present can’t seem to reconcile that this is the carpenter who they all are familiar with, who they watched grow up. How could Jesus, Mary’s son, be teaching and performing miracles?
The Greek word used to describe Jesus ability as a carpenter is “tekton,” A good definition for that would be a woodworking handyman. His skill would make him just as comfortable making plows and yokes for farming as he would be making furniture or building a home.
Jesus grew up learning this trade at a time when the batteries for cordless drills were terrible and he had to do much of this carpentry by hand. Think about the number of hours Jesus would have worked by hand learning this craft. The number of times he’d swung a hammer, sawed through wood, carved small details, lifted and carried heavy beams, raised the wall of a home.
While there was generally high regard for manual labor and craftmanship at this time, many felt there was a big difference between a tradesman who worked with his hands and a scribe who spent his life studying God’s Law. So, unsurprisingly, when people witnessed Jesus’ calloused hands performing miracles and heard him teaching with authority as if he’d devoted his life to study rather than trade, they struggled with making sense of it. So in one breath they speak the verse above naming that Jesus is doing amazing and impressive things, and in the next, shift their focus to explain why Jesus can’t be more than a carpenter (see Luke 6:3).
We see that time and time again in the Old and New Testament God upends the expectations of those who encounter Him, and if you’ve been following Jesus for a while, I’m sure you’ve experienced that in your own life. Recognizing this, I invite you to pray the prayer below and throughout your day today. Look with expectation for the place (or places) God might be challenging your understanding of who God is and what God is asking of you.
I confess, Father, that I look without seeing, listen without hearing, and consider your wonders without comprehending. Open my blind eyes and awaken my sleeping heart to respond to the glories that surround me on every side. Help me learn from Jesus how to love you and all you have created. Amen.