Lessons in the Carpenter's Shop
(Luke 2:52)

 Thank you Father for giving us a productive day, and please ease our aching muscles! Thank you for your strength and help in all we do Father God. Praise you Jesus for coming to earth and dying for our sins. We are so grateful for your grace!

satan we bind you and rebuke you and cast you out of this sacred assembly in Jesus Name! We come against and declare void your plans to disrupt the study and connections tonight in Jesus Name.

Holy Spirit we invite you to be our teacher. Strengthen us with might in the inward man, and open our hearts to receive the Word. In Jesus Name, AMEN and AMEN

OK, last time we talked about Jesus staying behind in the temple and his parents searching and searching for him. But when they found him, he went home with them and submitted to their authority.

Luke 2:51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.

Nevertheless; He went down with them and was [habitually] obedient to them, and stayed out of the limelight, so to speak, until He was about 30.

Luke 2:52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

For about 18 years in a small town in an insignificant country, the Son of God, Jesus, toiled in the carpenter's shop, probably being the sole support of His family after Joseph died, since He was the eldest Son. But He was content to wait on God's timing.

We also talked about Jesus humility, obedience and submission to his earthly parents. If HE learned obedience by submitting to godly authority, how much more should we? If Jesus had to learn submission and obedience in the everyday grind, what about you?

Hebrews 5:7-9 During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

Meanwhile, there are a lot of valuable lessons to be learned "in the Carpenter's Shop". Are any of you carpenters? I've often wondered, why a carpenter? God could have let Jesus be a shepherd like David or Moses. Or a fisherman like Peter and John. Or a levite like Zechariah. Why a carpenter?

Mom said it always made her proud that my family were carpenters. We knew what it was all about.

Amazing Grace - Maybe because he's building our lives new

My grandfather was a builder and built subdivisions all over my hometown. He would take us grandchildren with him to each job and we would see homes in all stages of construction, from excavating, pouring a concrete foundation, raising the walls, roofing, brickwork, and the final trim work and painting inside. We had more fun wandering around, collecting wooden scraps, and playing than most kids will ever have at an amusement park. And what an education! When I read in the Bible today about the Church being a building, I can really envision what that means.

So you might say that I had some "lessons in the carpenter's shop" too! Now, the carpentry of Jesus' day was more primitive than today, of course, but what were some of the lessons Jesus learned by being a carpenter?

Amazing Grace - How to take care of wood

First of all He learned Vision (long term goals). To build anything, you have to visualize it, or see it in your mind ahead of time. You have to know what it will be used for, roughly the shape and size, and set your mind on completing it. Did Jesus have vision? YES!

Hebrews 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Notice "the joy set before him" - Jesus had a vision of the joy of being our Savior - that was His vision - and it enabled Him to endure the cross.

John 13:3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; -This also shows this vision of who He was and what His mission was.

How about you? Do you have a vision of Who God is and what He's doing here on earth? Do you have a vision of what He's doing in YOUR life? Do you see how you fit in with God's will and what His purpose is for you? This is a toughie I know, discerning God's will, but the Bible says "for lack of vision my people perish".

Sometimes we don't see the whole picture, it's true, and have to take it step by step. BUT we can still have faith that we belong to Him and are cooperating with what He's doing in our lives. So Jesus learned vision, or long term planning in the carpenter's shop.

Alma and Max - I think God's will for me is to study his word and act upon it.

Right Alma and Max! That's how we get our vision - from the Word!

After the vision of the job or project, comes Planning (short term goals, blueprint). To create a piece of furniture, as a table, you have to know what the dimensions will be, how much wood to buy, how to cut the wood into the correct shape and size, how long it will take to build it - in other words you need a blueprint and to set short term goals to achieve the long term vision.

Z - I'm learning!!I know He's got big plans for me and I R a willing servant!!

As we study Luke, we will see how God's plan for Jesus to be our Savior was implemented - being born of a virgin, growing up in the carpenter's shop, being baptized, being tempted, selecting disciples, training them, being tried, crucified, being resurrected and ascending to Heaven. Then in Acts, we will see how He sent the Holy Spirit, birthed the Church and began the plan of worldwide evangelism. At each stage of the plan, Jesus carefully followed the order God had ordained, and was resolute, in spite of his family's and disciple's misunderstandings and rejections.

Now, as I said, we don't always see all the steps in God's plan for our lives, the most important thing is to do what the Lord is telling us to do today, and then He will reveal the next step. In other words, as we walk in the light He has given us, He will give us more light and we can take another step forward. And we can be sure that nothing takes God by surprise, He has a plan for us that WILL unfold as we walk in it. This is faith, to take a step as He directs, trusting that He will THEN show us what to do next.

Of course, if we DON'T walk in God's plan as revealed in the Bible, then we WON'T know what will happen next, and can easily stumble and fall.

Luke 9:51 As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.

Here we see Jesus walking out the plan His Father gave Him, and even though the disciples did not understand, Jesus was determined to do what the Father said. Salvation is free from Jesus, of course, but we have to "walk it out" in faith in our daily lives. To do it God's way, not our way. We need to give up control to God, which isn't easy to do.

After planning comes Discernment. Discernment is more than just knowledge, it's being able to look at things and reason out what the results of a set of events will be. When you build something out of wood, the first step is choosing the wood to use.

The wood must not be rotten and it can't have knots or warps in it. Certain kinds of wood are better for certain kinds of furniture or implements. It takes training to be able to tell which wood is worthy of work and which is worthless. A wood worker "works" wood to shape it into something useful. Some wood is worth spending time on, some isn't. Some of the most beautiful wood takes the longest time and effort to polish. But Jesus is patient with us and will keep on smoothing off the rough edges if we'll let Him.

Jesus knew what was in the hearts of man - and He could also discern the works of satan, even though they might appear in religious garb.

Luke 16:15 He said to them, "You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God's sight."

And today, Jesus still knows our hearts. One thing He desires to teach US is discernment.

Philippians 1:9-11And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to DISCERN what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ--to the glory and praise of God.

You know everything isn't always "written in black and white". Sometimes it's hard to distinguish better and best paths to walk on. But as we grow up in Jesus, read His Word and obey it, it becomes easier to discern what is best.

Hebrews 5:13-14 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish [DISCERN] good from evil.

Notice "by constant use". The mature in Christ keep on trying - you learn discernment by reading the word and applying it, reading the word and applying it, and on and on. It's a growing process.

"Righteousness" means to be in right standing in God. The only place where you can learn about it is the Bible - we receive right standing with God through the Lord Jesus Christ, but again we must "walk it out" in our daily lives.

Z - Praise God!! Thank you for being patient with me!!

Living on milk is for baby Christians, but growing up means that we get into "meat" - the depths of God's love, and the joy of obedience - doing it God's way. So if you don't feel you're doing very well as far as discernment goes, keep on practicing, keep on reading and obeying the Word.

Ready for the next lesson? So far we've talked about Vision, Planning and Discernment.

The next lesson that I believe Jesus learned in the carpenter's shop was Patience. You have to have patience to work WITH the wood. If you try to work "against the grain" you will damage your project. The "grain" of wood is the direction that it grows in. If you cut "against the grain", you will cause the wood to splinter and split. In those days, most carpenters cut down their own trees, had to "cure" the wood to dry it properly, so it was a long process until they were even ready to start the project.

I know today we have modular homes that go up in a day or two, but if you want your home to have quality products and be built to last for generations, you need a master builder who is willing to take the time "to do it right". Impatience in the carpentry shop will not only ruin projects, but could cause injury to yourself or to others, when a tool hits you or something breaks.

Now as a child, I tried a little bit of carpentry, LOL, and I can "drive a nail" if I have to, but I've hit my thumb and finger about as much as a nail! Patience comes at a price!

Hebrews 6:12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.

Patience is the virtue we probably have the least when we need it the most in today's society. We are so impatient. We want what we want and we want it NOW. We don't want to have to wait for a new house or new car or new clothes. So we go out and "charge it", spending money we haven't earned yet to buy something we really don't need and will be worn out before we can pay for it. It takes patience to wait for those "goodies" that everyone says we need, and hard work to save up and get them in due time.

Faith and patience work together. Faith is believing you will receive from God, and patience is waiting on God's timing. In the Kingdom of God, IMpatience is spiritual laziness. Instead of doing it God's way, we want to do it our way. I guess we all have problems with patience. Like "Lord give me patience, and give it to me NOW"

But Jesus is our example, He was patient for 30 years living in a backwater town in the middle of no where, learning the carpenter's trade and waiting on God's timing.

OK, let's look at the causes of IMpatience for a minute. I guess the primary cause is unrealistic expectations - we expect those we love (like husbands, LOL) to behave in certain ways. When they don't, we get frustrated and angry. The bad thing is that we usually don't tell THEM what these expectations are! So how can they do fulfill them?

Another cause of IMpatience is lack of training. For example, expecting our kids to automatically know how to clean their rooms. Believe me, it doesn't work that way! Another cause of IMpatience is selfishness, wanting our own way, and being upset when others don't follow along.

I also think that often we are IMpatient with God because we aren't perfect yet, but we sometimes don't realize what a long way we still have to go! And sometimes we are IMpatient with what God is doing in our lives is that we are trying to figure it all out with our limited capacity - when God sees the greater picture. Anyway, Jesus learned patience in the carpenter's shop, and we need to learn it also.

Jesus also leaned Perseverance. Sometimes a piece of wood shatters or splits and you have to start over again. In Jesus' day, wooden pieces were usually joined together instead of nailed, so you had to fit the pieces exactly. It takes concentration and perseverance to pursue a project from beginning to end. Often there are discouragements, even heartbreak along the way. But we need to keep on going in Jesus!

Hebrews 10:36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

Now if the Christian life were easy, anyone could make it! But we have to persevere, to keep on going through trials and tribulations, ignoring pain and hardship, and endure to the end. Sometimes believers are guilty of presenting Christianity as an "easy believe-ism". If you believe Jesus, you're saved and that's all it is to it. BUT we are engaged in a spiritual warfare and we need wisdom and perseverance to succeed.

Jesus also learned lessons from the things that He made. As we will see later in our study, He referred to plows and yokes, among other everyday items in His teachings. Again, as teachers we sometimes forget that we need to relate the scriptures to people's every day lives.

Carpentry is very hard work even today, but then it was even harder. There were no "power tools" and usually the carpenter had to go collect his own building materials. So the image of Jesus as a scrawny "wimp" is inaccurate.

So there are probably many more things that Jesus learned in the Carpenter's Shop, but we've looked at vision, planning, discernment, patience and perseverance. Lord teach us those lessons too!

Z - yes Lord! Grow us and teach us!!

Now we're gonna shift gears and go to Luke 3:1! Remember in Chapter 1 we studied about how Gabriel visited Zechariah in the temple and announced the birth of John. And Gabriel foretold that John would be the forerunner of the Messiah. The only early history we have of John is Luke 1:80:

And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the desert until he appeared publicly to Israel.

This is all the history of John the Baptist until he sprang upon the scene full-grown at the river Jordan. Since his parents, Zechariah and Elizabeth, were well advanced in years when he was born, they probably did not live very long. Where he lived and what he did is open to debate. He probably grew up in the desert of Judea, which lies between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea.

Remember John was a Nazarite, he was especially dedicated to the Lord, and would never drink alcoholic beverages or cut his hair, plus he was filled with the Holy Spirit from birth.

Z - doesn't the bible say that he lived in the desert and ate locusts and honey??

Amazing Grace - yummmmmm honey covered grasshoppers

Right Z, doesn't sound like an appealing diet!

Luke 3:1-2 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar--when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene-- during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the desert.

Luke ties his narrative to historical events that would have been familiar to his gentile readers. And today these facts help historians and archaeologists to confirm the Bible. Now we know that Tiberius Caesar was emperor in Rome, had absolute power and was worshipped as a god. Many Jews and Christians got into serious trouble with the Roman governors because they would not bow down to Caesar's statues. Pontius Pilate was a Roman governor, and we all remember him from Jesus trials.

John the Baptist and Jesus were not legendary figures who lived at some vague time in the dim past. They were historic persons whose lived could be dated by relating them to the Roman and Herodian rulers who were their contemporaries Most scholars agree that John's ministry began in A. D. 26. Jesus, who was born in 5 B. C. , was then about thirty years old.

Now there are three Herods mentioned in the New Testament. Herod the Great ruled when Jesus was born. He was cunning and ruthless, and even killed members of his family who he felt was in his way. It was he who met the wise men, and ordered that all male babies under 2 years of age be slaughtered. By the time that John the Baptist came on the scene, Herod the Great had died, and the kingdom had been split between his three sons, Archelaus, Philip, Herod Antipas, and also Lysanias, who was not related to Herod. They were called tetrarchs because there were four rulers.

Now Archelaus was so inept and corrupt, Rome deposed him, and Pontius Pilate took his place. This is all proven historical fact. If anyone tells you the Bible is not historical, tell them to read Luke! Officially Herod was a "tetrarch", the ruler of one-fourth of Palestine. Ordinary people in Galilee and Rome called him "king".

The third, Herod Agrippa, succeeded Herod Antipas, and ruled during Paul's missionary journeys. OK have we got our Herod's straight? Probably more than you ever wanted to know, right? LOL

Who can tell me what the high priest did? And how could there be two of them?

Mom says the high priest is over the other priests, first in command.

Amazing Grace - did they perform the rituals at the temple; aren't they the ones allowed in the holy of holies

The high priest was responsible to take the atoning sacrifice into the temple on the Day of Atonement. He and he alone could enter the Holy of Holys and meet with God. If God rejected the offering, the high priest would die. He had bells on the hem of his garment and could be heard, but not seen as he moved about. If the bells ceased to ring, then God would not accept the offering and the high priest died.

This offering was for the sins of the whole nation, so the high priest was very important to the people and very powerful. He ruled over the religious judicial body known as the Sanhedrin that also tried Jesus.

Normally there was only one high priest and his office was for a lifetime. Officially there was only one high priest at a time. However, the issue had been confused ever since Rome began to appoint high priests to assure their loyalty. Annas was high priest from 6 to 15 AD., when the emperor replaced him with his son Eleazar. Another son Caiaphas was appointed high priest from 18 to 37 AD However, "Jews regarded the high priesthood as a life-office" whatever Rome did, so they still considered Annas to be the real high priest Annas retained "considerable power behind the scenes" and Luke rightly regards Annas and Caiaphas as holding the office jointly. OK, enough history already! back to John the Baptist!

Luke 3:3 He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

Both John the Baptist and Jesus were about 30 when they began their public ministries. Remember they were relatives (probably cousins) and were born about 6 months apart. What did John the Baptist preach?

Mom says repentance!

Amazing Grace - Prepare ye the way of the Lord; remission of sin

John preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. What does baptism mean?

Amazing Grace - washing away sin?

Z - death of the old life, rebirth in the new

k - Baptism was also their altar call

The word Greek word bapto means "to dip" or "to dye" as used in the trade of a dyer of cloth. The word is used to refer to putting cloth into a pot of dye; the cloth then became the color of the dye - it changed its identity. When one is baptized, he is identified with a particular group, movement; or person. John used baptism as a means of identifying people with the coming Messiah.

John's baptism was a new application of a familiar practice. Jews baptized converts because they regarded all Gentiles as needing to be cleansed from sin. John shocked people by claiming that even Jews needed to be cleansed.

What does repentance mean?

Amazing Grace - change, turn from the old

Alma and Max - to admit to sin and forsake it

k - turn away from and try not to go back to

Right. The Greek word for repentance is Metanoia, which is more than just a mere "change of mind"; but a whole re-orientation of the personality, a conversion, "doing a 180". Repentance means turning from sin just as faith involves turning to God. Jesus' mission was to seek and save that which was lost, and to lead them to repentance.

What is the relationship of sorrow to repentance: is saying "I m sorry" enough?

Z - to be truly sorry, to turn away from what you had been doing

Alma and Max - No there must be change

2 Corinthians 7:9-10 yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.

Being sorry is not enough: you just may be sorry you "got caught". There must be a sincerity of heart, a turning away from sin, and a turning towards God for the kind of repentance that leads to salvation. This idea of John's was in strong contrast to the current attitude of the Pharisees that stressed outward observances rather than an inward "turning".

What would be an example of "worldly sorrow" which brings death" ? It could be neurotic guilt that doesn't accept God's forgiveness; excessive grief that causes a hate for God; or bitterness over a loss or handicap that also causes one to hate God.

Z - Amen OT!! God doesn't intend for us to live in guilt and condemnation, but to know the truth, and grow in Him!

k - We forget we all only the clay we are not the potter

At any rate, godly sorrow brings about repentance - the change from death to life! So John was preparing the way for Jesus by leading people to godly sorrow, repentance and baptism. Next time we'll talk more about John's "hellfire and damnation" sermons, and more about how he prepared the way for Jesus. It was great to have all of you join us and participate. Next time we will start at Luke 3:4.

Father God thank you for showing us life lessons from the carpenter's shop tonight. May we apply them to our lives. We also thank you for John the Baptist who prepared the way. And thank you for brother Luke who was such a great historian and beloved physician. Lord plant your Word deep into our spirits that we may bear fruit for you. In Jesus Name AMEN!

Remember, whenever God gives us a revelation, the devil tries to steal it from us. Guard your hearts and meditate on what you've learned!
And put it into practice!

Return to Luke Homepage


*Picture Sources:

Unger, Merrill F. The New Unger's Bible Handbook. Revised by Gary N Larson. Moody Press, Chicago, 1966: 1984.

The Family Encyclopedia of the Bible, ed. by Pat Alexander.  Chancelor Press, London, 1988.

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Original Lesson 7/27/98
Revised: May 02, 2001.