Several years ago, I came across this reading by Max Lucado. It has become a tradition for me now, to read it on the Eve of Good Friday to remind myself that although Jesus was fully God, He was also fully man. He felt pain, betrayal, grief, doubt and all of the other emotions that we humans experience. I love how Max Lucado describes what Jesus might have been thinking as He left the Carpentry Shop at the age of 30 and began His journey to the cross. Here is a paraphrase from Lucado’s original excerpt.
“The heavy door creaked on its hinges as He pushed it open. Jesus looked around the carpentry shop. He stood for a moment in the refuge of the little room that housed so many memories. He balanced the hammer in His hand. He ran his fingers across the sharp teeth of the saw. He stroked the smoothly worn wood of the sawhorse. He had come to say good-bye.
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It was time for Him to leave. So He came one last time to smell the sawdust and lumber. On this dirt floor He had played as a toddler while His father worked. Here Joseph had taught Him how to grip a hammer. And on this workbench He had built His first chair.
I wonder what He thought as He took one last look around the room. I wonder if He hesitated. I wonder if His heart was torn. I wonder if He rolled a nail between His thumb and fingers, anticipating the pain. I wonder because I know He had already read the last chapter. He knew that the feet that stepped out of the safe shadow of the carpentry shop would not rest until they had been pierced and placed on a Roman cross.
You see, He didn’t have to go. He had a choice. He could have stayed. He could have ignored the call or at least postponed it. And had He chosen to stay, who would’ve known? Who would have blamed Him? He could have come back as a man in another era when society was not so volatile, when religion wasn’t so stale, when people would listen better. He could have come back when crosses were out of style, but His heart wouldn’t let Him.
You see, He heard the hopeless cries of the poor, the bitter accusations of the abandoned, the dangling despair of those who are trying to save themselves. And His divinity saw their faces. From the face of Adam to the face of the infant born somewhere in the world as you read these words, He saw them all.
Among the voices that found their way into that carpentry shop in Nazareth was your voice. Your silent prayers uttered on tear-stained pillows. Your deepest questions about death and eternity. And your need for a Savior. Not only did He hear you, He saw you. He left because of you. He laid his security down with His hammer. Since He could bear your sins more easily than He could bear the thought of your hopelessness, He chose to leave the carpentry shop. It wasn’t easy. He chose the nails for you.”
Will you take some time this Good Friday to let Jesus know how thankful you are that He chose to leave heaven to rescue you?