“And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making
everything new!” Revelation 21:5 (NLT)
I used to think of the earthly Jesus as being a super-human kind of guy. He always knew what to say to make people feel better (or not better, as in the case of the Pharisees). He was kind to children, thoughtful to women, healed the sick, etc. Seriously, the guy was good at everything! As a flawed human being, I had a hard time relating to Him, until I realized that there was something Jesus was probably very bad at.
Jesus, I believe, was a lousy carpenter.
Carpenters fix things. They take a stool with a broken leg and attach
a straight one. They rip out door frames and put in sturdy ones. They spackle up holes in walls, make floors level, replace rotted wood siding. In short, carpenters take existing broken and battered things and make them usable again. Don’t get me wrong—we need carpenters. But this is not what God does.
God doesn’t fix things. He creates.
Jesus doesn’t just patch up old things—as the Son of the Creator, he makes them into new things. “New wineskins” (Matthew 9:17). “New Commandment” (John 13:34). “Making all things new” (Revelation 21:5). And in the Old Testament, there’s “A new song” (Psalm 40:3) and “A new heart” (Ezekiel 36:26). And if you still want proof, check out Genesis 1:1: “In the Beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”. From “no universe” to “universe”. Our Lord’s name isn’t “The Fixer”. It’s “The Creator”.
Too often I believe we bring our troubles to God and ask Him to ‘fix them” or to “fix us”. Fixing is much safer than Creating. But Our Lord doesn’t want to just spackle over our feelings for our cheating spouse, or our fear of terminal cancer, or the emptiness left by the loss of a child. He is incapable of such deception. Instead, He seeks to create in us a new heart, a new commandment or, as it was in the beginning, a whole new universe inside us. He wants us to trust Him to know what He’s doing. Even if we aren’t sure exactly what that ‘new universe’ is going to look like.
I imagine a customer bringing a battered box into Joseph’s carpenter shop, with instructions to “fix the hinges so it closes properly”. When the customer returns, he finds that Joseph’s son has changed the box into a beautiful table with six lovely chairs. The customer is furious because he asked for a box, not a table and chairs.
“It’s too big for my house”, he cries. “I’ll have to throw out half me possessions to make it fit!” The fact that his possessions are ugly and the table is gorgeous means nothing. Nor does the fact that the table will finally force the man to clean his house and so he can invite over friends. All the customer sees is that he didn’t get exactly what he wanted. He storms out of Joseph’s shop without paying, angry that he didn’t get what he expected. And Jesus is handed a broom and is relegated to sweeping out the storeroom.
Like I said, Jesus was a lousy carpenter. And I thank God for it!