Jesus the Builder

I like that Jesus was a builder. Aside from this being His occupation, it also fleshes out a picture we see in the text. The Greek word that describes His work is “techton,” simply meaning “builder.” People built with various things back then, but primarily building was done with stone. So Jesus was more likely a stonemason than a carpenter.

When the Bible was translated into English 400 years ago, the word builder was translated specifically as carpenter. Unfortunately, it stuck. There is nothing in the text that suggests He did or did not work with wood – it just says builder. We just have culture to guide us.

Why does it matter? Well, in some ways it doesn’t – it is not worth splitting hairs or dividing churches. But if we consider Jesus may have worked with stone, there are images that blossom within the Bible. If Jesus is a master stone worker, He knows just how to read a rock. With strategic blows, He cuts it so it is shaped exactly how He wants it without shattering the precious stone.

Isaiah says those of us who pursue righteousness have been quarried – we have been “dug out” and are being shaped. “Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness, you who seek the Lord: look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug” Isaiah 51:1. Our Master’s hand is at work.

The Builder has a plan. He shares a piece of His blueprint with Peter, His disciple or apprentice. "I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church” Matthew 16:18.

The Builder is building. He is building His church, a living temple. We, the church, are pictured as stones under the work of the Master builder. In Him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit” Ephesians 2:22. Jesus the builder, the stonemason, is building us into His temple. He can read the stone. He knows where the lines are to shape it properly and without crushing it.

I like that Jesus is a builder, even now. He is building and shaping me, putting me where I was created to belong as a stone in the temple. If I am like my Rabbi, I need to be in the business of building, too. It’s easy to tear down, but together, as His disciples, we can participate in the work of building up and strengthening the church and each other.

1 Response

  1. Elaine
    What a privilege to be one of the stones

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