Jesus grew up as the son of Joseph the carpenter, and was trained in that field of work. Mark recorded the derogatory comments of Jesus’ critics: “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him” (Mark 6:3, KJV).
The Greek term for carpenter (tekton) referred generally to “any craftsman, but especially a worker in wood” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words). It has been observed that the emphasis in this term is not on the specific tasks being performed or materials used, but on the use of His hands to perform the work – it was a blue collar job.
The Hastings Dictionary of the New Testament contains this insight into the significance of Jesus’ activity as a carpenter:
“By His toil at the bench He has dignified and consecrated manual labour. We may derive the practical lesson expressed in Faber’s hymn, ‘Labour is sweet, for Thou hast toiled.’ Even more to us than St. Paul the tent-maker is Jesus the carpenter. He was not an Essene, holding Himself aloof from temporal affairs, but a true Son of Man, taking His part in the business of life. Before He preached the good tidings of the kingdom, He preached the gospel of work. The work that His Father had given Him to do was not the exceptional duty of the teacher, but the ordinary industry of the artisan. His first pulpit was the carpenter’s bench, and His first sermons were the implements and utensils He made for the country folk of Galilee.”