In her latest video, Betty Bowers, who calls herself “America’s Best Christian,” gives her take on history’s most famous Jewish carpenter. She’s pretty brutal about it, too… maybe a bit too brutal. Betty criticizes the Savior as a lazy slacker, who did little as a carpenter in life and has done even less since then. But, Betty, that might just be a case of misunderstanding on our part.
Let’s put this “slacker” into the proper perspective. Jesus wasn’t a “carpenter” or “woodworker” as we think of one today; he was a “tekton,” or “builder.” For the moment, we’ll set aside the fact that wood was scarce in Judea at the time, and mud, brick and stone were the primary building materials – which would technically make Jesus a “mason,” if anything. Read into that what you will.
No, the more relevant thing here is that contextually, “tekton” refers more to a general contractor, a person who “causes things to be built.” Today, we might call Jesus an “engineer,” or a “foreman.” that’s a pretty far cry from the humble “wood-worker” that we might envision pounding nails and sanding end tables.
As has been said about foremen from time immemorial: “Why doesn’t Jesus ever seem to lift a finger?” “He does it all the time… To point at stuff.”
h/t: Betty Bowers