The Carpenter’s Son
April 24th, 1966 @ 7:30 PM
THE CARPENTER’S SON
Dr. W. A. Criswell
4-24-66 7:30 p.m.
All of you who have been listening on the radio, as with us here in this great church, have been sharing the music of our glorious choir. I love this choir. I love to march in when the choir marches in. I would love to sing when the choir sings. I would love to stand up when the choir stands up and sometimes do. Ah, they are a glorious, glorious band; good-looking, beautiful, handsome, strong, fine, noble, glorious. No superlative adjective but applies to that marvelous choir. If they had an honest-to-goodness real conductor I don’t know what they might do. But Lee Roy, I tell you truly, I’m not the only one. Every preacher in the land says to me, "I have the best choir leader in this earth." That’s what they all say, and I’m the envy of all the pastors in this Baptist Zion. I just go around so proud of myself because he’s here. I live in his reflected glory. Now do you forgive me for ruining your song service?
Now in the Good Book, turn to the First Gospel, the Gospel of Matthew; Matthew chapter 13, Matthew chapter 13. And we shall begin at verse 51 and read to the end of the chapter. Matthew chapter 13, and beginning at verse 51.
And on the radio you are listening to the First Baptist Church in Dallas, believe it or not. And this is the pastor bringing the evening message entitled The Carpenter’s Son. And I humbly pray God will bless this message. It is a message turned to the heart of a man who might stumble at the Saviorhood, at the deity of Jesus. Now let’s begin reading at verse 51 in Matthew chapter 13:
Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto Him, Yea, Lord.
Then said He unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.
And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, He departed thence.
And when He was come into His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this Man this wisdom, and these mighty works?
Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brethren, James, and Joseph, and Simon, and Jude?
And His sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this Man all these things?
And they were offended in Him.
And Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, and in his own house.
And He did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.
And I am telling you truly, that when you stumble – and some of us do – and when you stumble at the deity of this carpenter of Nazareth, you are not by yourself. They did in the Bible. They did in this passage:
Is not this the carpenter’s son?
And is not His mother here, called Mary?
And do not His brethren live here with us? James, and Jude, and Joseph, and Simon, and His sisters, are they not standing over there?
And they were offended in Him.
The Greek word translated "offend"; we’d say a "stumbling block" and they stumble. And they stumbled over Him. Well, we are going to look at that tonight. And again, I wish we had about five hours to speak of it; The Carpenter’s Son. Well, what makes you think, what makes me think that Jesus, the carpenter’s Son, is Almighty God? Now tell us why.
All right, you just listen and I’ll preach until a little after that radio goes off. Now you just listen with all of your heart. First, first; there has never appeared on the horizon of human history one, one who – separate and uniquely apart [Hebrews 7:26] – stands as does Jesus of Nazareth, none, none, none! Before His day, every prophet, and every seer, and every saying said, "He is coming. He is coming. He is coming." And more than three hundred different prophecies they wrote that you can read, "He is coming. He is coming." And after He came [Mark 1:7] and had ascended into glory [Acts 1:9] now for two thousand years, the testimony of millions, and millions, and millions, and millions has been "He has come and He is coming again" [Acts 1:10-11]. We sing about it in our songs. We preach about it in our sermons. We paint it in our glorious and incomparable pictures, and we depict it in our poetry. He is coming again! Oh, what a unique, and separate, and apart Man is this One from Nazareth [Hebrews 7:26], and the things that are witnessed concerning are astonishing and amazing!
Now I want to illustrate that to you. There came up to one of our missionaries a brilliant student in one of the universities in Japan, and said to him, "Do you believe in the virgin birth, that this Man was born of a virgin? [Matthew 1:20-23]. Do you?"
And the missionary said, "I do."
"Well," said this brilliant student in one of those universities, "Then I want to ask you, I want to ask you, if an unwed girl were to come up to you and present you with a baby and say to her this baby has no human father, but the father of this baby is God, would you believe it? You ask me to believe it, would you believe it, would you?
And the missionary was given an answer from heaven itself. The missionary said to that brilliant Japanese university student, he said, "Young man, I would if, I would if, if the birth of that Child had been foretold since the creation of the world [Genesis 3:15]. I would if, when that Child was born, a star from heaven guided to the place of His nativity [Matthew 2:1-2, 9]. I would if wise men came from the East to bow down in homage before that holy Child [Matthew 2:11]. I would if when He became a man He could open the eyes of the blind [Matthew 9:27-30], He could unstop the ears of the deaf [Mark 7:32-35], he could cleanse the leper [Mark 1:40-42], and by the word of His mouth He could raise the dead [John 11:38-44]. I would if when that Man, that Child grown to a man, when He was crucified [Matthew 27:32-50], and buried [Matthew 27:57-60], and the third day He was raised from the dead [Matthew 28:1-7]. And I would if, after He had been raised from the dead for two thousand years, there were millions, and millions, and millions in this earth who looked upon Him as Savior and Lord. Yes," said the missionary, "I would believe in His virgin birth if these things characterized His life."
You can’t get around that and be honest with your heart. Why man, take just one thing in the life of our Lord, just one thing in the life of our Lord.
I can’t pronounce that Frenchman’s name or I’d tell you his name, but I just can’t pronounce it. It’s one of those long French names that I can’t say, but he was trying to establish a new religion, and he was failing ingloriously. And he stumbled into Napoleon Bonaparte, and he said to Napoleon Bonaparte, "You know I’m establishing a new religion but I can’t get any followers. I can’t find any disciples. I can’t find anybody to believe in me. What shall I do in order that I might find believers in me?"
And Napoleon said, "Why, my friend, be very simple, be very simple. Get yourself crucified and the third day rise from the dead."
Very simple, very plain, yeah, yeah just do that. Just do that. I am avowing to you that this Man is unique, and apart, and separate [Hebrews 7:26], and exalted [Philippians 2:9] beyond any other that ever appeared on the horizon of history. I’m just beginning. This has just been introduction. Come with me, stay with me a minute. Just think with me. That’s all I’m asking.
Look again. Think of the witness of the centuries. Oh, how glorious, how incomparable! Charles Darwin said – – by the way, Charles Darwin all the days of his life was a humble devout Christian and believer in Jesus, whatever we may think about the Darwinian hypotheses. Darwin said, you know he made that trip around the world in a boat, lost his health doing it because he was seasick all the time – – but Charles Darwin said, and he spoke out of experience, he said, "The prayer of any voyager would be, whose ship was about to be wrecked upon an unknown seacoast, that the missionary had preceded him to those cannibalistic islands, because," he said, "the message of the missionary is the enchanter’s wand."
And I thought of those things that Charles Darwin said when I talked to some of our American soldiers who had bailed out of airplanes over unknown islands in the Pacific, and in New Guinea, and who were washed ashore in those unknown and uncharted seas. I have talked to those soldiers who came back, who lived to tell the story. And you know here is a typical thing that some of them will say. The soldier would say, "I bailed out, and was in the sea, and was washed ashore. And with my fellow soldiers, my buddies, we were as filled with fear of what we would find in those terrible jungles as we were fearful of fear falling out of the sky"
But he said, "You know, we were making our way through the brush and the growth of the forest of that jungle, and we heard, in the nighttime, singing, singing, in the nighttime singing!" And he said, "I turned to my friend and said, ‘Why, I recognized that song. That’s the song they sing in the church back home.’" And they stood up and they ran out into the enclosure, he said, and into the thatched church. There was a minister of the gospel of the Son of God, a black native preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. And I talked to one of those soldiers who said he had been won to Jesus in one of those thatched church houses over there in one of those South Pacific islands. Think of it. Think of it. These are cannibals! These Fiji islanders, these Samoans, these Polynesians, they were cannibals! And now one of our American soldiers washed ashore and he hears them singing the songs of Zion. Why, there’s nothing like it in the earth; nothing like it.
I can testify in my own ministry. I went around this world one time, and wherever the gospel of the Son of God is preached, there you’ll find a hospital, and there you’ll find an orphan’s home, and there you’ll find a schoolhouse, and there you’ll find a little church with a spire pointing up toward glory. Why, there’s nothing like it in the earth, what Jesus has meant to the human heart.
Well, we have time for one more. I want to speak of the testimony of our finest inward conscience when a man’s at his best, the testimony of the real me, the real you on the inside of you. Well, you know there are a lot of things that can be said about the sensitivity of our consciences, lots of things. That is the only thing, the image of God in us [Genesis 1:27], the moral sensitivity in us, that’s the only thing that separates us from an animal, from a clod, from a beast. He has no conscience. He has no moral sensitivity. That animal is untouched by anything upward and elevated. He’s an animal.
But there is something inside of me. There is a "something other" and an "else" beside those five senses that the animal has. I have another sense. I have another life. I have another inbreathing in me. There is something else in me over, and above, and beside what that animal can enjoy in his five senses. Now that inner me which is the soul of me, which is the God image in me, that on the inside of me, when I am at my finest best will respond to everything in the life, and appeal, and purpose, and dream, and vision of the Lord Jesus. He will fit in my soul and in my heart as though I were made for Him and He were made for me, every part of me; every part of me.
And my brother, let me ask you a simple question. Shall I believe what I can learn in my sense of touch? And shall I believe what I learn in my sense of sight? And shall I believe what I’ve learned in my sense of hearing and tasting? Shall I believe the things that I can learn through my five senses? And then, shall I reject the witness of the noblest creative act of God, when He made me all I am? Why, a dog can hear, and a cat can taste, and every animal can feel, and touch, and smell all the five sense they possess. But my finest sense, my highest sense is the image [Genesis 1:27], and the breath of God in me [Genesis 2:7]. And when I am at my highest best, you will find Christ, the glory of that faith, and that commitment, and that life, and that devotion.
He will fit your soul, and conscience, and heart, and life. He just will. Try it and see. Bow down before Him, and call on His name, and see if it doesn’t seem right. Pray to Him. Ask Him for the riches and the blessings of heaven, and see if there is not from His gracious hands a benedictory remembrance. Teach your child the love, and nurture, and admonition of the Lord and see if the child is not infinitely blessed [Ephesians 6:4]. Why, take Him anywhere. Take Him into your business and see if you do not have a finer business. Take Him into any area of life and see if His presence is not a heavenly benediction. When you are at your finest best, Jesus will fit. The inward conscience will respond and bear witness to the glory, the Saviorhood, the deity of this carpenter’s Son. Oh, to be a disciple of Jesus is to reach the summum bonum of life, our finest, our best! And to die in that faith and commitment is the superlative victory and the consummating triumph of the faith; to live, to die in the Lord.
While we sing this hymn of appeal, you somebody you tonight, you give your heart to Jesus, come. A family you, a couple you, one somebody you, "Pastor, there’s no one else to whom to go. He has all of the answers. And if there’s any joy and any glory, if there’s any life and any blessings, it’s in His nail-pierced hands. And here I come, pastor. Here I am. I take Jesus as my Savior. And for all that shall mean, here I am and here I come. What it shall mean in my soul, what it shall mean in my life, what it shall mean when I die, and what it shall mean in the life that is yet to come, I do commit soul, life, love, devotion, faith, hope, vision, dream, all I commit to Jesus, and here I am."
In the balcony round, on this lower floor, into the aisle and down to the front, "Here we come, pastor." When we stand up now, stand up coming; while our people all stand and sing.