“Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, returned to Galilee…When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:14-19).
Archeologists are exploring a recently discovered home in Nazareth that dates to the time of Jesus. This might not sound like that big a deal. There are countless ruins in Israel dating from the first century AD when Jesus lived. But, for the first time, we have available to us not only the very stones, but a house that Jesus would have seen and possibly even entered. In his day, Nazareth was only a village of some fifty homes. The chances of his knowing the family and being in the house, perhaps even working on the walls himself are considerable.
And there is more. Jesus did manual labor that was called, in Greek, tekton. This has been translated over the years as carpenter. In fact, the better translation, according to most scholars, is workman, mason, or one who builds and moves things. Prior to his ministry, Jesus may well have been someone who was in the business of working on and building houses. And, in those days, all the houses were built out of stone. Very few things were made of woodbecause it was expensive and didn’t last as long.
It is even possible those stones laying adjacent to the Church of Annunciation in Nazareth were put in place by Jesus himself. No one knows for sure; but just imagine if it were so…
In his musical, “Children of Eden,” Stephen Schwartz has the Storytellers, the chorus behind the main characters, remind the audience the evolving truth woven into and throughout:
Of all the gifts we have received,
One is most precious and most terrible.
The will in each of us is free.
It’s in our hands.
And if some day we hear a voice,
If he should speak to us again
Our silent father,
All he will tell us is the choice—is in our hands—
Our hands can choose to drop the knife.
Our hearts can stop the hating—
For every moment of our life
Is the beginning.
Choice, that great life option and existential necessity dangles us every moment of our lives between the beautiful and intimating, the agony and ecstasy, the “most precious and most terrible.” What do we make of the choices we have? How do we make the decisions we must?
Today, consider the stones Jesus must have worked and carved and fashioned as a young man. Imagine the planning and preparation necessary for each job he carried out. See in Nazareth a foundation made from the stones he fashioned, carefully fitting them, putting them in place, level and just so.
Now, imagine your own life as the structure on which Jesus focuses. Level, carefully planned, beautifully created, lovingly carved. Consider the choices that await you today. Choose rightly. Claim your potential. The foundation of your life has been put in place by the best.
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Lord, be with me through the journey of this new day. Inspire my vision with the eyes of faith. Just as Jesus carefully placed stones in the foundations of Galilee houses straight and true, may it also be so in me. May the foundation of my life be firm and strong. Allow this day and every day to follow be based on your hopes and dreams for my life. Amen.
“When you come to the fork in the road, take it.”
We get our word and concept for “tectonic” plates from this word in Greek.
Window sills, a few pieces of furniture, roof supports…