Friday, April 29, 2022

The Vision (4.29.22): Is not this the carpenter's son?


Image: Azaleas, North Garden, Virginia, April 2022

Note: Devotion based on last Sunday's sermon on Matthew 13:53-58.

Matthew 1:55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? And his brethren James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?

Matthew 13:53-58 describes Christ’s return to “his own country” after he finished teaching a series of seven parables (vv. 53-54). A parallel account is recorded in Luke 4:16-32 of Christ’s visit to the synagogue in Nazareth.

Matthew records a series of six questions posed that day (see vv. 54-56). The second of those was, “Is not this the carpenter’s son?” (v. 55a). The Greek word for carpenter is tektōn, which could mean builder or contractor. This is similar to the question recorded by Luke: “Is not this Joseph’s son?” (Luke 4:22). It shows their ignorance of his Christ’s origins (See Matthew 1:18-25).

Sometimes the greatest obstacle to evangelism is not that people do not know anything Jesus, but that they think they know him, though they know him amiss.

Spurgeon notes that they flavor their questions with “impertinent unbelief.” In addition to their ignorance of the virgin birth, “They hinted that he could not have learned much wisdom in a carpenter’s shop; and as he had not been among the rabbis to obtain a superior education, he could not really know much… He was a mere nobody… They could not listen to the talk of a mere carpenter’s son” (Matthew, 187).

Here is the way the apostle John summed up Christ’s ministry, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not” (John 1:11). Even in Matthew 13 the shadow of the cross is already starting to fall over the narrative.

Christ came as a prophet without honour (Matthew 13:57). It was not just that he was rejected by the people of Nazareth, but that he was rejected also by us. We too have mixed our questions about Christ with impertinent unbelief. As John put it, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).

But here is the good news, God has overcome and overwhelmed our rejection of Christ through his love for his enemies poured out on the cross.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

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