In the Bible, we read that Jesus’ earthly father, Joseph, was a carpenter. Growing up, he could have helped Joseph and learned of his trade. Hence, he was known as the Carpenter’s son among his countrymen in Galilee.
Johnny Cash, however, had more to say on Jesus’ first profession. One more reason to appreciate Cash (besides his using his platform to speak and to sing of his faith), was his thoughtful presentation and picking of songs. Listen to his rendition of Jesus was a Carpenter, a song written by his friend, Christopher Wren.
Kudos to both the writer and the singer, the profound analogy, and obvious imagery were hard to ignore. Among the many jobs Jesus could have inherited, why would he choose a carpenter to be his earthly father? Why not a landowner or a city official? These thoughts never crossed my mind before until I came across with this song of Cash.
In the song, Jesus’ carpentry skills were more on the spiritual building. His intent was not to merely build us mansions over heaven’s hilltop but to turn us into an established dwelling for His presence. And instead of choosing the rich and those considered society’s cream of the top as pillars of his house, he chose the lowly people like the fishermen, the sickly, and the vagrant as mentioned in the song. That was what John meant in “And He built His house from people just like these.”
Two more poignant points to not miss were on stanzas three and four. The third stanza is a rebuke to us all for those times we made Jesus important only on Sundays but not for the rest of the week. The last line also echoes social justice. The fourth stanza was on how we live in much vanity over temporal things. What we need is a change of perspective from Jesus that we may see what are truly valuable in life.
Jesus was a carpenter and He worked with a saw and a hammer
And His hands could form a table true enough to stand forever
As for repeating these two lines in the arrangement, we could subjectively interpret that Jesus would have built us a long table. May no one be excluded from the Lord’s Table.