Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Jesus' Hidden Years, Part 3

Segment 1 of G. Campbell Morgan's The Hidden Years at Nazareth is here. Segment 2 is here. What follows is Segment 3.

For the greater part, then, of the life of Jesus, He worked with His own hands for His own living. That brings the Son of God, in living, pulsating life, close to every man who works.

There is a beautiful tradition, that Joseph,His reputed father, died while Jesus was yet a child, and so He worked not merely to earn His own living, but to keep the little home together in Nazareth, and Mary and the younger members of the family depended upon His toil. That is a beautiful tradition.* It may be true, but I do not press it. But I do press this upon you above everything else, that He worked for His living.

Oh that we could get all the strength and comfort which this fact is calculated to afford! Business men, you who have been at work all the week and have been harassed by daily labors and are weary and tired and seeking new inspiration, this Jesus, whose name has become a name of sweetness and love, was not a king upon a throne, He was not for the greater part of His life a teacher with the thrill and excitement of public life to buoy Him up. No; the long years ran on and He was doing what some of you speak of as "the daily round, the common task."

The man Jesus rose at daybreak, and, picking up His tools, made yokes and tables in order that He might have something to eat, and that, not for a brief period, but for eighteen years. He was an apprentice boy, a young man improving His craft, a master in His little shop with the shavings round Him and the tools about Him. That is the human picture. But the human picture becomes supremely precious to me as the light of the divine falls upon it. The eighteen years are over, the tools are laid aside, His feet will no more make music as He walks among the rustling shavings. God says, "I am pleased."

It may have meant that God was pleased with Jesus because n those years He lived in the realm of the spiritual rather than the material.I believe it did mean that, but I am not going to dwell upon it.  It may have meant that He was careful to think of, and pray for, and teach the younger members of His household, or that He was regular in His attendance upon the services of the synagogue. I think it did mean that, because I read, "He went to the synagogue, as was His custom, on the Sabbath day." But I want to know what God meant about the shop, and I am going to suggest to you two things.

In the first place, - and you will forgive this way of putting it, because I want the truth of it to abide upon your hearts, and if the phrasing be not elegant I want it to be forceful, - it meant that Jesus had never done in that carpenter's shop a piece of work such as we speak of in the closing years of the nineteenth century as being "shoddy work."

"I am pleased."  God could not have been pleased with carpentry that was scamped any more than with blasphemous praise.

"I am pleased," and every bit of work has on it the light of divine truth.

When Jesus sent out from that carpenter's chop yokes that the farmers would use, they were so fashioned and finished that they would gall no ox. "Take My yoke upon you" gathers force and strength as an illustration from the fidelity of the carpenter's shop. When Jesus said, "Take My yoke," it was because He knew that it would not gall, it would be finished and perfect.

To be continued...

* This is a false conception, however. Jesus was Mary's only child. The brothers and sisters mentioned in the Gospels are Jesus' half-siblings. Consistent with the marriage custom of Jesus' Horim, Joseph had two wives. Mary was his second wife and his cousin.

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