What Was Jesus Really Like?
Mark 6:3 - Is not this the carpenter? Just what was it like to be a carpenter in Jesus' day? Carpentry was a rough, tough job that demanded a great deal of physical strength and endurance as well as great skill. There were two aspects to the carpenter's work: firstly building and secondly the making of smaller objects that included furniture. Until the Romans invented the arched roof, roofs were constructed by laying timber beams from wall to wall and filling in the gaps with matting that was plastered down with mud. The carpenter had to cut down trees and square up the logs so that they could be used as beams. This was done either with a hand adz (axe-like tool used primarily for shaping wood) or by sawing the length with a primitive saw. Either way, it was hard, physical work. Axe heads were made of bronze (later of iron) and were lashed to a shaft. The bluntness of the edge and relatively insecure fastening ensured that the head fairly regularly came off the shaft. This happening was given as an example of manslaughter in Deuteronomy 19:5 . If the head was lost it was a disaster because of the cost of replacement ( 2 Kings 6:5 ). Saw blades were initially made from ribbon flints set in a wooden frame, and it took two men working either side to saw through a tree trunk. Later, metal blades were used, and the teeth arranged so that they cut on the "pull" stroke. The saw is mentioned in Isaiah 41:15 alongside the axe. The carpenter also undertook many smaller jobs, working on the ground outside his dwelling; benches were not used until Roman times. Doors, door frames, window lattices, and locks were made for buildings, and stools, low tables, and chests for inside the home. Agricultural implements such as Yokes, plough, and shovels were also part of the carpenter's work. The fact that tools were relatively crude meant that a good finish was an extremely skilled task. The hammer spoken
Imagine Joseph and Jesus working together. In the sunny climate they would make quite a picture. Bronzed and muscular due to the sun and their hard work is the picture that is brought to my mind as I think of how difficult it was to be a carpenter in those days.
The primitive tools used to cut everything including trees to be molded and shaped had to make the work more difficult. Jesus, therefore, had to be a strong, hard-working man, respected for his craft, not the wimpy figure in many pictures over the years and in the writings of those who would shape him to their opinion but without studying who he was and how he grew up.
We must now ask, was Jesus always loving and kind and giving everyone whatever they might ask of him? Never! While "The Son of Man came not to be ministered to but to minister and give his life a ransom for many." Mark 10:45, his ministry also denied some of those who came to him seeking things which he could not or would not give. The most prominent one in my mind was when two of the disciples came to him asking for special position next to him in his kingdom. They wanted positions of prominence and their request made their fellow disciples angry with them, but Jesus told them the positions they asked for were not within his power to give. The Father had already determined who was getting those positions and they weren't available to anyone else. The Pharisees asked Jesus for a sign but he told them that no sign would be given to that generation except the sign of Jonah the prophet. It wasn't what they wanted to hear. But when it came to healing the sick, casting out devils, feeding the 5000 and then the 4000, and meeting other "needs" Jesus was generous and didn't refuse them. His love could not refuse any real need!
What about the soft spoken, sweet and loving Jesus men love to talk about who would never speak a harsh word against anyone and certainly would not ever think of any violent acts. What about that Jesus? I think Matthew Chapter 23 will dispel any doubt as to whether or not he would ever speak anything offensive to anyone. The Pharisees and scribes were gathered together near Jesus (Matthew 22:41) and Jesus spoke to his disciples and the multitude about the Pharisees and Scribes and his words were scorching. He used terms to describe the Pharisees and Scribes such as whited sepulchres full of dead mens bones, hypocrites, blind guides, fools and blind, snakes and children of Hell. Read Matthew 23:13-36, and that should dispel any thoughts about a pacifist Christ who never offended anyone by his words. As a matter of fact, Jesus spoke of Hell more than anyone in the Bible, and he warned people about how they live in this life could send them there and what to do about it. Would a kind, sweet, soft-spoken man speak of Hell?
Now travel with me to the temple in John 2:13-16 to see if Jesus ever physically assaulted anyone. See him come to the temple and observe the money changers buying and selling in the temple and then read how he fashioned a whip of cords and drove them out kicking over their tables and telling them not to make his Father's house a house of merchandise. Here is righteous wrath and indignation coming from God incarnate to the sons of men who had long forgotten what God had done for their forefathers and chose to disregard the sacredness of the house of God.
Is there no similarity to be found in this generation. Would Jesus come with wrath to the the televangelists who make their meetings merchandising events and rob the people of God while promising what they cannot deliver. Their prosperity gospel is a lie, they live in luxury on the backs of their supporters and think nothing of it, and somehow their supporters applaud them and say they deserve the luxury while scripture states; "the son of man had nowhere to lay his head." Certainly the laborer is worthy of his hire as the scripture says, but $10 million dollar mansions, $20 million and more planes, Rolex watches and expensive suits, $10,000 a night motels and hotels, and other wasteful spending was never intended by this verse of scripture. If these charlatans were men and women of God they would do all they could to use the money sparingly on themselves and give most of it to minister the gospel to the millions who are lost and without hope. They would feel ashamed to take money from those people who are struggling in their own life but give sacrificially to see the work of God go forth.
They have their reward on earth, and if they don't repent of their wickedness in making merchandise of the people of God they will reap the reward they deserve for their deceitful use of God's people to satisfy their desires. Does anyone think that Jesus will be speaking calm, loving words to these unrepentant pseudo-ministers on the day of judgment?
Jesus as God, is certainly a God of love and compassion who believes that mercy rejoices against judgment, but he also is righteous and will judge the wicked. All who refuse to obey the commandments of God and repent of their sin and trust Christ as their Savior will meet him as their judge. The Bible makes it clear that every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. One of the final acts of Jesus is found in Revelation 19:11-21 and in particular verse 20 when the anti-Christ and the false prophet that wrought miracles are both cast alive into a lake of fire that is burning with brimstone. Revelation 20:10 tells how the devil joins them to be tormented day and night forever and ever. The final judgment follows in Revelation 20:11-15 ending in the lost of all ages being cast into the lake of fire.
People like to believe all kinds of things about Jesus that make them comfortable and leave them feeling good. Multitudes in and out of the churches have become content with an artificial Jesus that has no resemblance to the Jesus of the Bible, and their terror and horror will be incomprehensible on the day when they stand before him as he really is, filled with holiness and power and righteous indignation. In Revelation 1:10-18 a righteous and holy man had a vision of the resurrected Jesus and it caused him to "fall at his feet as one dead." If that holy man reacted like that in the presence of our Lord, what will be the reaction of all those who are lost and without hope on the day of judgment? It is time that we regard Jesus as he really is and begin to get our eyes fixed on eternal things because we will take nothing in this life with us other than a soul won to Christ. Will you who have been deceived continue to follow the deception of false teachers. Will you who have followed your own opinion continue on in self-deception? I pray that God will help you get past all that would keep you from seeing Christ as he really is and that he would help you to humble yourselves in his presence and repent and be fully delivered before the day of your death. It is crucial beyond any of our wildest imaginations that we yield and receive Jesus as he really is!