Dutch humanist and Catholic priest Desiderius Erasmus once said, “By a Carpenter mankind was made, and only by that Carpenter can mankind be remade.” These words grabbed my attention. What does it mean to be made by a carpenter? Or, to ask what may seem like an obvious question, what does a carpenter do?
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a carpenter as “a worker who builds or repairs wooden structures or their structural parts.” One who “builds or repairs.” Think about that. In the description of the role of a carpenter lies the entire message of the Gospel:
- The Lord formed Man from the dust of the earth (Genesis 2:7). He built us.
- But then our sin drove us apart from God (Genesis 3). The perfect world that God had created decayed into the sickness of sin and death.
- So He sent His Son Jesus to sacrifice Himself for our sins, becoming the ransom for the sins of the world (1 John 2:2).
- And whoever puts faith in the Death and Resurrection of Christ will have eternal life with Him (John 3:16), becoming a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). A perfect creation once, we sinned, and Jesus wants to make us perfect again. He repairs us.
To modify Merriam-Webster, Jesus is a Carpenter who “builds and repairs.” What a priest so rightly said five hundred years ago rings true today: Only Jesus Christ can rescue us from our sins. Only Jesus Christ can cleanse us. And only Jesus Christ can bring us into eternal love and peace with God. That is the invitation of our Lord for all who seek Him.