Take a moment, and in your mind’s eye, picture Jesus.
What do you see? Most likely the beard, the hair, the robes, likely the eyes, as well.
But did you notice his arms? Maybe his hands? His feet?
If you had met him 2,000 years ago, those features would have definitely stood out.
Why? The Bible tells us a number of things about Jesus, and among them is this detail: He was considered “the son of a carpenter.” A woodworker. One who works with his hands.
And, of course, up until a few decades ago, with the advent of power tools, this was a craft accomplished almost entirely through the strength of one’s arms, hands, legs and back. Imagine chopping down trees, milling the lumber into boards, then cutting the wood to the proper dimensions with hand saws, chiseling it, hammering it together, and sanding it smooth, all without the use of a single modern tool. Yet that is what Jesus’ earthly stepfather, Joseph – and, by extension, Jesus and his brothers – likely did every day of their young lives.
Now, imagine what his arms would look like. How calloused and rough his hands and feet would be from years in the woods and in the shop.
And don’t stop there: Picture Jesus doing business. He would have. Taking orders from customers. Securing tools and other materials. Haggling over cost. Crunching numbers. Sweating as he sought to deliver the finished order on time, and under budget. Perhaps mollifying an unsatisfied or irate customer or two. Hiring help. Perhaps firing bad or lazy workers, or dealing with employees who may steal. As any businessman knows, this all comes with the territory.
Now, return to those eyes. Full of wisdom. Keen. Cutting. Quick to laugh. Yet, undoubtedly tinged with the same sadness, just behind the surface, that each person will know at some point in their life. How? Think again about Joseph. Where was he at the moment Jesus was crucified? Why was Mary alone at the foot of The Cross? While it is not stated, it is quite clear that Joseph had died at some point during the life of Jesus. And Jesus would have felt the same pain as anyone else who has ever had to bury a loved one, perhaps “before their time,” as it were.
And we haven’t begun to imagine how He suffered upon The Cross, feeling the sting of betrayal and mockery, the agony of the lashes and the crushing blows of the hammers, driving the nails into His hands and feet – and the torment of separation from God the Father, burdened with the sins of all humanity.
In the book of Isaiah, we are presented with one of the most beloved prophecies about the coming Messiah, about the coming of grace from the Throne of God. Among other descriptive terms, we are told that the Coming One will be known as the “Wonderful Counselor.”
And as we ponder the life of Jesus, we know how this can be true. While fully God, Jesus was undoubtedly also fully human. And that means He knows what it means to be human. He walked the streets. He worked until exhausted, collapsing in His bed at the end of a long day, perhaps disappointed and frustrated by a project or deal gone wrong. He dealt with the same kind of people, in the same kind of relationships, as has any other.
And he suffered pain – physical, emotional, spiritual pain.
So why, as Pastor Bryan asked, do we not trust Him to understand us, and what we are going through? Why is Jesus the last person we often think to share our problems with?
Rest assured: No matter what you may bring to Him, His response will most assuredly begin with: “I know.”
And Scripture assures us it will be followed at some point by: “I love you.”
For it is in the person of Jesus we know that, for us, A Child is Born, and to us, A Son is Given, that in Him, we will know that, to all who believe, Grace Came.