Did Jesus Have A Job?

Jesus of Nazareth is one of the most important figures in all of human history, and certainly in the history of Western culture. The teacher and prophet of Christianity is credited with various teachings, miracles, and other acts, documented in the New Testament, that formed the foundation of the religion now practiced by 2.3 billion people (per Pew Research Center) around the world.

One of the key aspects of Jesus' life that informs Christian doctrine is the belief that he was at once fully human and fully divine, as The King Institute notes. Indeed, the New Testament records Jesus experiencing regular sensations like hunger and enduring pain, as well as maintaining friendships and managing money.

Also, like regular humans, Jesus had a job — at least, he certainly did before he began his ministry. Considering that Christendom holds that he was about 30 years old before he began ministering, Jesus likely spent the better part of two decades practicing a trade, likely one that he learned from his own (human) father.

Jesus was a carpenter for at least a decade

As Marcus Nodder explains via The Good Book, Jesus is believed to have been about 30 years old when he began his ministry, meaning that he had to have some means of supporting himself (and possibly his family) before embarking on his mission. And as it turns out, the Bible is pretty clear about what that trade was: He was a carpenter. Indeed, as Mark 6 records, at one point Jesus amazed and upset onlookers with his teachings, and they asked themselves how a regular guy like him could know so much. "What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? Isn't this the carpenter? Isn't this Mary's son?" they asked each other.

Once he began his ministry, however, it seems that carpentry took a back seat. As CNN reports, the New Testament mentions that Jesus and his disciples relied at least partially on donations to get by, and a couple of wealthy patrons are noted as having contributed to the disciples' collective purse. Further, the men lived cheaply, often eating what they could forage or catch, and sleeping either outside or practicing the first-century Palestinian version of couch-surfing. Whether or not he continued to practice carpentry during those years is not mentioned in the text.