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Why Woods And Nails?

Updated: Mar 9, 2021

It’s a question of purpose. That Jesus, the Messiah would be born into a family of carpentry: lived on woods and nails and then died on wood by nails could not have been a sheer coincidence. Here is an answer filing revelation, pieced together from happenings between His birth and death. And to what end? For us to lead a fulfilled life, our works has to be fashioned after our birth purpose.

Did you know Jesus chose the woods and nails on purpose? It made a sense that virgin Mary was chosen but why with Joseph the carpenter! That Jesus was a carpenter even had no chance of making it to the daily times of Jerusalem much less a preacher. It perhaps missed the begging chance when He might have hit the news as a missing 12 year old boy for three days before being found lost in the temple, engaging scriptural scholars. Not only were carpenters unpopular, his foster father’s Nazarene workshop was about 64 miles away from mainstream media.

Meager job, enshrouded location with demographics as Lowly Galilee, it was hard for anyone to conceive anything good could come out of Nazareth. Not it’s Pistachio trees or timbers, far less its furnitures. And definitely not a rouse rambling cross for nailing criminals and rebels - which had to be carved by the city carpenters.

If remembered at all by anyone, maybe the wise men who gifted him gold, silver and franchisee. But that too was in Bethlehem – a far cry from the noble craftsman's shop. Soaked in the mangroves of Galilee, given no chance to rival the finished products from Lebanon - the upper Galilee or the happening neighboring city of Sepphoris, there was no better way to lead an undocumented life that would make anyone doubt Jesus was still alive anywhere until that temple flash of life at 12 and the governor-of-the-feast arresting wine at the wedding in Galilee. Even, the glory of that miracle went to the groom.

Growing up as the son of man, Jesus must have seen more of trees than wood planks. As a toddler, just called from architectural laden woodcrafts of Egypt, He would have been exposed to basics of arithmetic - wood metrics though the exact age he returned to Nazareth wasn’t stated. This smart boy, growing up meeting with favor before God and man would have seen a lot of Israeli trees; olives, cypress, oak. From figs which he would use for a lot of parables to vines which he would drink from, from sycamore on which he would catch Zacchaeus to timber from which death crosses are often made.

How did we not mention the cedar in Lebanon to the flourishing palm trees? He would have seen varieties of trees and uncertainly the one Eve took the fruit from to know good or bad if it had its kind outside Eden. The boy Jesus would have seen himself as the root of David from the Nazarene branch shooting from His stump cut off from Solomon and aware of Himself as the Root and Offspring of David who called Him Lord. With the tree alive again at the scent of the living water, He would call himself the Tree of life and call us his branches. He would have seen Joseph replant some and know what it means for His father to be the husbandman, the very job given to Adam.

Despite the versatility of carpenters in the time of Jesus; from crafting roofing beams to building up entire wooden houses, from framing doors and windows to furnishing them out into metal houses, from constructing ploughs to threshing shreds and crafting farmers plows and yokes for oxen to making fishers and transporters boats which would be used for preaching, the lowlife of a carpenter would make any scholar doubt if Jesus really picked his foster father trade in a levitate order. His spiritual high skill couldn’t better contrast His lowlife with the berating response that greeted his announcement in Mark 6:3, “Is that not the son of a carpenter?” - very similar to that in Matthew 13:15.

The question of the hour then is, what would the son of a carpenter be doing? Turning the scriptures while his foster father saw the wood alone, with hope that help would arise from the next series of Mary’s pregnancy? Or was Jesus always lost in His father’s house business without minding the wooden frame from which the altar and the ark were horned from? Then, we would have had in Him, an irresponsible example of an youthful exorbitant that was too despiteful and inattentive to Joseph’s trade. But we have the answer in the thrid verse of Mark 6. ‘ “Is this not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” So they were offended at Him.’ Not only was Jesus an apprentice, He was became a carpenter: He lived on woods and nails.

What then would Israel have expected from a messiah if he all he had to show was a showroom of a carpenter? Build a titanic ship of salvation that would make a joke of Noah the carpenter? Restore the Bezalel’s lost genius of Holy Ghost carpentry crafting of acacia woods into an ark of covenant and altar that were irresistible to Solomon? Or reinvent the carpentry weapon of Odysseus Trojan horse and then greek-gift the Romans an ambush from the lurking bushes of Nazareth? No, this Messiah from Nazareth would rather die with the tool of his trade. What! That’s like letting the enemy drive in the last nail on ones coffin after a wasteful decades of learning so much from the hammer, wood and nail!

Sounds disappointing? Perhaps more than that, if I was alive back then. But no. Jesus was an unfolding mystery from the virgin womb of Mary, through her shawl to the empty sackcloth in the virgin tomb of Joseph the Arimathea. He knew He would ply His trade in plywood. He knew He was slain from the foundation of the world for our sins. Now in flesh in AD 30, He would have seen how repulsive it was to be cursed as one hanged on the tree. And would have asked Himself as He would later pray in Gethsemane if he was ready to drink the spilling cup of our sins become a curse for our iniquities. He had thought through such a death that was life-ending curse here to break the curse starting our afterlives. But for the joy that laid before Him, He endured the cross.

While we hope not to see the woods in the trees, here is dying on wood and nails. Jesus might have jarred a finger on a thorny spike of jujube trees and felt how piercing unease laid the head that wear the crown of glory. Little Jesus would have offered to bear the weight of a fresh partly barked lumber on a bare back to see when he would finally be able to bear it. Then imagine some ongoing lashes of Roman beatings: coupled with hunger, the headaches and bleeding under that crown weaved from thorns.

Then, when would tell His disciples to carry their cross and Follow Him, He knew what it meant both spiritually and literally for those who would also be martyred on the cross, but him first. He would have seen how hard it was for one person to. And thought if there would be any help at all like Simon of Cyerene who was commanded by Roman soldiers to help Him out. He would have seen how like a tree, the vertical plank of the cross is forcefully planted like a tree to hang off it in excruciating pain, and then the slow death, thirst and birds feeding on the body alive. I would personally have reconsidered this salvage mode of death if I had been to school of carpentry, but He chose it!

Instead carpentry kept him focused on his purpose on earth. So that when a disciple like Peter would be so handy to obstruct the cause of the cross and ready to lay down his life for Him, Jesus would be ready to say, I already laid my life down, no one took it from me. That He had thought through how trees are furnished into furniture, under the tutelage of Joseph; how a tree is sawed into a table, how with mallet and adze, planks are filed, sprayed and furnished for good works in the great house, He sure had a taste for a very furnished inn for a last supper with His disciples.

With the craft of chisel and saw, He had shaped logs and barks into chairs and recliners and doors so that when he says I am the way and thieves comes by the windows, He speaks as an authority. He would have built ladders and roofs, so He knew what it would take to lower down a lane man later and the bed he that was carrying him. As He grew away from boyhood, I bet Joseph would have entrusted him with sharps and hammers. Jesus would have driven a thousand if not millions of nails across wood joints. Perhaps He had mistakenly pierced himself in the hand at one time or the other for a foretaste of what the nail on the cross would mean, how about the feet? I can’t dare a pin.

Oh my God! The agony of being sustained on a hammer-driving hand-piercing nails through one’s palm – all that no bone is broken for the scripture to not be broken. No! The cross, the Persian invention and Roman perfection was the Israeli humiliation in our messiah. Who wouldn’t have wondered the torture attached to this public maximum penal code of deterrent! He would have seen crosses hewed, sold and perhaps reused from far and near where rampaging thieves, rebels and traitors were shamed. I doubt if Joseph would have ventured into allowing them to build something close as evil as a cross in their shop.

But why all this? It was to school His skills for His purpose on earth – to die for our sins. The ultimate death by penal code of the cross was Jesus’ weaponry into hell and our eternal liberation. No one knew the notoriety of the cross would popularize him, more so the death shaming emptied tomb. That He is alive shows He is the victory over death and grave. That’s why if only the prince of this world had known, he wouldn’t have crucified the Lord of Glory. Oh you see why the wiping off of His death and resurrection from history are events some religious zealots like to see to. The strategic mystery of carpentry was the stage to upstage the subtlety of the serpent by the tree.

Finding out your purpose ahead of time keeps you focus. Have you? Schooling your talents by skills to achieve your purpose is living. There’s usually an unannounced season of your life when hardly anyone would know you exist. It is a time to align a found purpose on earth into fulfillment. It’s simply what you do best with unparalleled ease. His yoke is easy, if it still feels heavily laden, we might have not yet exchanged it for His yoke. No one is without gifts to achieve their purpose but a gift is only tool to achieve a purpose. That purpose becomes a living dream when you aren’t sleeping but at work on your gifts. While a dream is what you want to achieve through God, your vision is what God need to achieve through you. Fame is the least. If it wasn’t true that Jesus did so many miracles that wouldn’t have contained the world if left with printing press was left frenzy, Mary wouldn’t have asked them at the Galilee wedding to do whatever He said. She had seen wonders untold! It’s in this seemingly silent phase of our life, that our gifts are pruned through skills into our dreams.

Like Jesus was helped from the womb though the cross carrying to the tomb, you can’t do it all alone. We were created because God doesn’t want to do it all alone. Jesus would find that mentorship in Joseph and Mary. He might have told Mary a few things and Joseph many in the carpentry shop concerning the cross, we don’t know. He would lead you to your gift mentor. And never say you are empty. There’s something unique in you. You aren’t born to populate the world so that you would be a figure during census. God would use the rod in Moses’ hand because He was a shepherd, He could lead his father-in-law herd, from the turning into snakes to diving the red sea, God would give Moses to write the Pentateuch because He knew he had been schooled in letters in Egypt.

He would use Bezalleel in crafty works of the ark because he had managed a delft skill in it. He would anoint David to reign having schooled him in the backyard wilderness with sheep. His mouth was as the pen of a ready writer because he would play skillfully on the harp and he men with him who had been so trained that they could sling catapult and not miss by hair-breath. In fact, one would have his arm stuck to the sword in battle. We pursue a dream in God, God fulfills a vision through us. When it came to Peter, He would ask him to fish men because he knew he was first a fisherman, and wouldn’t send Matthew the accountant to fish a coin from a first fish. If anyone doubt the gift of doctor Luke, check his rendition of verses of healed illness.

For Paul, God knew he was a lawyer and could face the Levite zealots and philosophical gods and contrast between the law of the Spirit and the law of Sin and death. It doesn’t mean He can’t put round pegs in square holes, but we must be ready to be shaped out like a wood furnished for every good work in the carpenters shop. Please, do not despise that gift and let Him take it away from you as an unprofitable servant. Paul the mentor of Philips gift notice it was dying away like an ember, and told him to fanned into flame by the Holy Spirit. God will often use your skill for you, because He gifted you with it. If you have found that ease, there no better time to put it to use and align your skill in it than now. He lived on wood and nails to die on wood by nails.

- Olusola Olusanya, bicqmag Topic writer.

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