jesus-whip

When Jesus Creates

An Artisan

I’ve long been fascintated by the Greek word tekton (literally artisan or craftsperson) which is translated “carpenter” in the gospels (Matthew 13:55, Mark 6:3) to describe the kind of work Joseph did, because it means as a little boy Jesus would have watched his earthly father creating which is theologically awesome since we believe all things were made through Son (John 1:3; Hebrews 1:2) with the Father and that we are his “workmanship” (Eph 2:10).

But as far as I could remember, the gospel writers don’t actually record many events where Jesus makes something (except perhaps breakfast: John 21:9). But I was reading the gospel of John to my son yesterday, and I noticed a detail that in clearing the temple Jesus took time to make his own whip:

So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. (John 2:15)

For Artisans

So in honor of this passage I made a little Internet Meme to Jesus as a reminder to all of us that make stuff, all of us who are tektons, artisans, craftspersons, and makers of some sort:

What you are doing is what the Son has been doing and continues to do.

And though the universe is vast and incomprehensible, his greatest workmanship is you.

And though you like the temple are full of sin, he wants to cleanse you, redeem you, break you down and bring you back to life so that he can work in and through you.


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Published by

John Dyer

In my day job, I work at Dallas Theological Seminary. I also write and speak on issues around technology and Christian faith. You can find out more about what I'm up to at http://j.hn/.

4 thoughts on “When Jesus Creates”

  1. Jesus, as God, is the only human who can truly create (as in, ex nihilo). We, His creatures, are really just re-combining already created stuff into new and interesting or useful combinations and configurations.

    Just so, His righteousness is native to Him; by faith in His blood, we receive His righteousness as a donation; we “create” (really, work out) our salvation by working with what He has accomplished and supplied.

    And yet, in the tekton background that His humanity had, we are not told that He spoke a whip into being, but fashioned one from materials at hand.

    Just so, we can take heart from the fact that He chooses to work through us, unworthy though we are, rather than create a perfect church out of nothing.

  2. I’ve always been uncomfortable with this passage… whipping people while destroying their property. Why is sociopathic behavior OK when Jesus does it? Just asking.

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