A Rough, Common Workmam

In the Old Testament, God selected prophets, judges, and when pushed, kings. He was represented as a vengeful God, who was an expert on smiting those who offended Him, often including their family, friends, village or nation in His righteous retribution. People didn’t get His message. God decided that to get through to us he’d have to try something totally different, so he sent his Son.

Jesus, to the dismay of many, was not there to take names and kick sinners to the ground. He was no king like Saul, David, or Solomon. He was probably not even a craftsman in a well stocked workshop. It is more likely that He was a tekton–a day laborer who performed hard construction work outside in the sun, wherever work could be found. If so, he was probably muscular with rough, callused hands and sun-weathered skin.

The people with whom He worked were not sophisticated. No doubt, they all smelled of sweat, including Jesus. They likely used language that was crude, as those close to the earth do. His coworkers would not fit in polite society. When Jesus chose fishermen to be his followers, it was probably a social step up–after all, they were in business for themselves and had property, such as boats, nets, and tackle.

This rough, common workman, took us in a different direction. Instead of focusing on vengeance, He focused on its opposite–forgiveness and encouraged us to do the same. His forgiveness was complete even for those who were responsible for his death.

When his disciples asked Him how to pray, He taught them a prayer that includes the most difficult demand.

“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

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