THE CARPENTER’S SON

Do you ever feel inadequate, in a world where everyone seems to be going to university and getting degrees, and in which people separate themselves from you because you aren’t intelligent or accomplished in their eyes?

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I once wrote a post titled, “Are Christians Ignorant?” The point was (I think) that people with the greatest level of education, yet reject the Son of God, have less wisdom than the person who has no education but has made the choice to follow Jesus Christ. Information imparts worldly wisdom, which can indeed be of great use, but the wisdom which desires to seek God and holiness is of far more value. Consider, as an example, Jesus Christ himself. He was, we are told, a carpenter’s son. Not only so, but during his earthly ministry, he was an unemployed carpenter. He never went to university. He didn’t carry a lap-top or a phone around with him. More significantly, he didn’t try to win arguments by attempting to show how much he knew about anything, except Scripture itself. Even then, he wasn’t trying to belittle anyone with his knowledge. Those who knew Jesus but who were not his disciples looked down their noses at him:

Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at him (Matthew 13:55-57).

Jesus was so looked down upon that he was rejected by the clever people of his day:

He was despised and rejected by mankind,
    a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
    he was despised, and we held him in low esteem
(Isaiah 53:3).

Jesus Christ humbled himself, living as a servant. He had no desire or need to show himself as the cleverest man around, even though, as the Son of God, he was. Because he humbled himself, God elevated him:

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth
(Philippians 2:9-10).

Similarly, the disciples (besides Paul) had no formal education whatsoever:

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13).

The disciples Jesus chose were mostly fishermen. They were not intelligent by this world’s standards. Why were they chosen? Perhaps it was at least partially for this reason:

Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies (1 Corinthians 8:1).

And Paul goes further in this direction of thought, explaining eloquently that God is not impressed by human knowledge which sets itself up without Him:

 …it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate”. Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:18-25).

Human wisdom imagines that our brains, bodies and intellect crawled from slime and is related to slugs and potatoes. How stupid is that! But we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16. This is a great chapter to read on the topic).

The foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom. Jesus was a carpenter. His disciples were fishermen. Our Father, who gives us his Spirit, has infinite intelligence: our Dad knows everything! Remember that, when someone tries to belittle you for your lack of education, or for your faith.

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