I’m certain that I am not the only one who has had the occasion to view bumperstickers on the vehicle ahead of me. Red light signals provide ample opportunity to “check out” messages that people feel warrant observation and reflection. These messages range across a wide spectrum of subject matter.
One bumpersticker message that always seemed provocative to me advised readers: My Boss Is A Jewish Carpenter. The reference appeared to be to “Jesus of Nazareth,” although this inference on my part may be in error.
Did this message make sense? Is it factual or an expression of poetic license by an adherent to some branch of Christianity?
According to the Holy Scriptures, the “father” of Jesus of Nazareth was Joseph, who was a carpenter by trade. As there was and is no hard evidence that Jesus of Nazareth was a carpenter by trade, the message on the bumpersticker becomes more curious.
The message on the bumper or rear-end of vehicles may be keyed to the notion that in the workaday culture of Judaea in the days of Joseph, Mary and Jesus of Nazareth, the son took up the trade of the father. Hence, if Joseph was a carpenter, then Jesus must have been an apprentice.
Was this the case? There is no scriptural evidence that Jesus of Nazareth was even an apprentice carpenter.
During the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth, he manifested amazing gifts as a teacher, healer and disciple of his Father. He advised his disciples that his doctrines were not his but, rather, that of his Father. Who was the “Father” that Jesus referenced? As revealed in scripture, did Jesus of Nazareth ever refer to Joseph as his father?
The conversations of people are typically colored by imagery that arises from things they know best. When Jesus of Nazareth spoke to the Israelites and others gathered nearby – usually in Galilee – about subjects that were important or dear to him, he nevered used the terminology of carpentry to illustrate his point. If he had been an apprentice carpenter to his “father” Joseph, surely he would have made points by reference to preparing for the construction of a house, window, barn, water trough, furniture or something at least generally associated with the trade of carpentry. Further, surely Jesus would have made points in his sermons, lectures and teachings that utilized the commonly understood tools of the carpentry trade. Yet, this did not occur. Why?
If one searches a King James Version Biblical application offered online for “carpenter,” then there will be found two Gospel references: Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3. Both reference Jesus’ “father” Joseph. If one searches “nail,” then there is one reference: John 20:25, concerning the doubtful Thomas upon hearing of Jesus’ resurrection. If one searches “saw,” then there is found no reference to “saw” as a tool. If one searches “hammer,” then there are no New Testament Gospel references, although there are quite a lot of such references in the Old Testament. If one searches “axe,” there are two references: Matthew 3:10 and Luke 3:9. These two references are about applying an axe to the root of a tree that bears no fruit and casting it into the fire. As worded, this passage cannot be well-argued as applying to the carpentry trade. If one searches “builders,” then one finds three NT Gospel references: Matthew 21:42, Mark 12:10 and Luke 20:17. All of these references deal with the “stone rejected by the builders,” and they cannot be reasonably assigned to the carpentry trade.
Therefore, for me the message on the bumpersticker alluded to above is a non sequitur at best.