Jesus' parents - was Jesus a poor carpenter?

This article wil probably be a bit long for which I apologize, but it's because I try to cover two subjects in the article. First I like to get into who the parents of Jesus were, and also to discuss if Jesus was actually a poor carpenter as later traditions claim.

Who were Jesus' parents

The gospels tell us that Jesus parents were Maria and Joseph, and even if Joseph, according to the gospels was not the physical father of Jesus, both Matthew and Luke bring genalogies that takes his lineage back via David to Abraham, Luke even back to Adam and thus to God. Unfortunately the genealogies are not identical. Luke begins with Jesus and goes back, while Matthew begins with Abraham and moves forward to Jesus.

Stained glass rose window in Basilca of St. Denis in a northern suburb of Paris, France, depicting Jesus' ancestors from Jesse, father of David.

According to Luke Jesus' most recent ancestors were:

He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph,
the son of Heli, the son of Matthat,
the son of Levi, the son of Melki,
the son of Jannai; the son of Joseph...

and so om (Luke 3.23-24). Mattew on the other hand has

 Azor the father of Zadok,
Zadok the father of Akim,
Akim the father of Elihud,
Elihus the father of Eleazar,
Eleazar the father of Matthan,
Matthan the father of Jacob
and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary , and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.

Matthew continues by telling that thus there are fourteen generations from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the Exile to Jesus. (Matt. 1.14-17).

It is obvious from these two short excerpts from the lists that they only agree on Joseph being father of Jesus, and maybe his great grandfather, Matthan (Matthew) and Matthat (Luke) is just a misspelling of the name, but besides from this, the two lists are completely different, at least after David. And if we take a look at the number of generations mentioned in Matthew, is correct that there are 14 generations between Abraham and David, David and the exile and the exile and Jesus, but that is only according to the list in Matthew, as to get this result he has omitted serveral generations. Among these are Ahaziah, Jehoash, Amaziah and Jehoiakim. Also Luke works in multipla of the number seven, as he has a total of 77 generations, which is most likely as fictive as Matthew's three times 14.

The genealogy in Luke follows the lineage of David's rather unknown son, Nathan, while Matthew takes the lineage through the most famous of David's sons, Solomon. All in all the genealogy in Luke is a more modest one, than the one in Matthew, that takes a royal line though the generations. Why the two evangelist go through all this trouble of making genealogies is not clear though, as they both agree that Joseph was not actually the father of Jesus, God was, and none of them brings a genealogy of Mary. Of course later scholars have discussed the paternity of Jesus, and though most actually conclude, that Joseph was the physical father other candidates have been brought into play. For many years some legends claimed that the true father of Jesus was a roman soldier by the name of Tiberius Julius Abdes Pantera. This claim goes all the way back to Origin of Alexandria, a Christian Greek scholar who lived in the late second and early third century AD. Origin wrote a work called "Against Celsus". Celsus was a Greek philosopher from the second century who had written a book called "The true word" in which he made the claim that Jesus was the son of Pantera, not the son of God - and Origin tried in his work to disprove Celsus. Unfortunately Celsus' work has been lost in time, and we only know it from the quotes by Origin. The suspicion that this Pantera, whose tombstone was found in Bingerbrück in Germany in 1859, was the one referred to by Celsus, was strenghtened by a reference in the Jewish Talmud to one  Yeshua ben Pantera. A. The inscription on the tombstone has:

Tiberius Julius Abdes Pantera
from Sidon, aged 62 years
served 40 years, former standard bearer
of the first cohort of archers 
lies here.

Origin continues to tell that Celsus claimes that Josepth had "turned out" Mary because of her infidelity. Also medieval Jewish writings made the same claim, but there is no proof for it anywhere. But it is true that Joseph soon disappears from the gospels. Some scholars of course have other suggestions. I have read in different sources that the father of Jesus was Joseph's brother Jacob, or even Joseph's son by the same name, and a very old text on a long lost scroll actually mentioned the name 'Yeshua ben Yakuub ben Genessareth', but nobody knows if it refers to Jesus, as Yeshua or Joshua was a rather common name at that time. Today most scholars, who don't believe in a divine descent, simply accept that the physical father of Jesus, was Joseph. And the idea of Mary being impregnated by God in the shape of The Holy Ghost, wasn't introduced until the apochryphical Gospel of James, also known as the Protoevangelium of James, and that gospel was not written until around 145 to 150 AD.

Even if some legends and some of the apochryphical gospels make Joseph a very old man, when he was betrothed to Mary, like the The History of Joseph the Carpenter written in Egypt sometime in the fourth century. In this much later story Jesus himself tells that his stepfather was 90 when he married Mary and died at 111, when Jesus was 21. No age is mentioned in the gospels, neither of Joseph nor Mary, but it would be reasonable to assume that they both were around the normal age of marriage at the time. The "normal" age of betrothal of girls were between 12 and 15 and for boys between 17 or 18 and then the couple would be married, when the girls was around 16 and the boy around 19. There is no reason to believe that Mary and Joseph (and their parents) should deviate from the normal practise. Some later sources claim that Joseph had been married before and was a widower when he married Mary, but there is no justifications for such a theory, and it is mostly maintained by people who believe that Jesus was the only child Mary ever had, and that she stayed a virgin for all her life, thus the "brothers and sisters" mentioned in the gospel were Joseph's children from an earlier marriage. I will return to this in a future arcticle about Jesus's other relatives.

To make it even more confusing, the hebrew word, that we normally translate into son actually can mean any male descendant like grandson, great grandson, step-son or some other relationships like uncle.

"Virgin Mary in Prayer" by Giovanni Battista Salvi da Sassoferrato, between 1640 og 1650, National Gallery, London

But what then about Mary, who we know for certain must have been Jesus' physical mother, no matter who his father was? Some scholars believe that the genealogy in The Gospel of Matthew describes Jesus' royal lineage from David, while the more mundane genealogy in The Gospel Luke describes the lineage of Mary, but this is just one explanation for the differences. Another is, that Matthew tried to trace the divine line from David, while Luke was describing Jesus' earthly line through Joseph. Others have it the other way around. The believers in the theory of Matthew describing the lineage of Joseph and Luke the lineage of Mary suggest that Luke meant to prove that Mary as well as Joseph were decendants of David, making Jesus twice the right heir to the throne of Israel, but they can't explain why and how the two lineages come together with Shealtiel and Zerubbabel and then split up again. A more believable (at least to me) explanation for the two different genealogies is, that neither Matthew or Luke knew who Jesus' ancestors was, so they created the lineage themselves. Matthew was writing for a Jewish audience, so his aim was to "prove" Jesus' royal descent from David, in order for the Jews to believe that he was the right heir to David's throne, The Messiah, while Luke was writing for a mainly Greek audience,  and his aim was to prove that Jesus, the Christ, was a human like themselves. But enough of this, back to Mary.

Actually, the gospels tell nothing about Mary's lineage at all, but the apocryphical Gospel of James, mentioned above, claims that her parents were called Joachim and Anna. According to the tradition Anna was born in Bethlehem, and married Joachim a wealthy and pious man, who was from Nazareth, which would be difficult, if the town didn't exist at that time (more in the Where was Jesus Born article). After the marriage they first lived in Galilee, but later they settled in Jerusalem. And several other theories about Mary's lineage have been brought up. In their book The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail from 1982, the authors, Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln suggested that Mary was a descendant of the House of Benjamin, and in his novel King Jesus from 1946, the author Robert Graves suggest that she descended from another royal line. According to the novel, the real Mary was called 'Mariamne bat Antigonus'. She was a daughter of Antigonus Mattathias, the last of the Hasmonean kings of Judaea. Mary is also the cousin of the Mariamne I, the second wife of Herod the Great. In the novel the father of Jesus was Antipater ben Herod, a son of Herod the Great. Antipater was heir to the throne after his father, but in 4 BC he was executed for the murder of his father, and his half brother Archelaus was made heir with his other brothers, Antipas and Philip as so-called tetrarchs. Thus Jesus was of royal blood from both his father and mother.

But no more about that. On to the next question.

Was Jesus poor and was he a carpenter?

He must have been. After all, the gospels agree on this, so what else could he have been? Unfortunately, the gospels aren't really clear on these points either. Let me start with the last part of the question first, and the return to the first part.

Was Jesus a carpenter?

Let me take a look at Jesus profession. Most people will probably agree that he was a carpenter, because he has always been called that, and that is how he is usually depicted in movies and books. I have recently enjoyed a reviewing of William Wyler's 1959 movie Ben Hur and in the movie, Jesus is shown as he is looking at a board in something that should probably represent his or his father's workshop. However, the gospels are not very enlightening on the subject. The Gospel of Mark, which actually never mentions the name of Jesus's father, has, "Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?”" (Mark 6.3). Beyond this singular place, Jesus is not mentioned anywhere in the gospels as a carpenter. In Matthew we find this passage: “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? 56 Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” (Matt. 13.55-56). This, in turn, is the only time it's indicated that his father should have been a carpenter. The two episodes both describe how the inhabitants of Jesus' (unnamed) hometown do not understand how he can speak and preach as he does. In Mark, the episode occurs in the hometown just after the episode where Jesus raises Jairus' daughter, while in Matthew it occurs after Jesus had been telling parables in an unspecified place near The Sea of Galilee. In either case, he returns to his hometown, so it's obviously the same episode both gospels refer to. Yet the two evangelists do not agree on whether it was Jesus or his father who was a carpenter. Sure enough, there was a tradition that a son followed his father when it came to profession, but if Jesus himself had been a carpenter, why didn't Matthew write that, instead of referring to Joseph? It is these two quoted passages that make most people believe that both Jesus and his father were carpenters.

"Jesus in the house of his parents" by John Everett Millais, 1849 - 1850. Musée d'Orsay, Paris

That there are only two places in the Gospels where Jesus or his father's profession is mentioned is perhaps not that strange. There are many other matters about Jesus that are mentioned only in one or two places in the New Testament, but one might wonder that even Luke, who is otherwise an exponent of Jesus' poor descent, does not mention that he was a carpenter. In the above mentioned, "The History of Joseph the Carpenter", it is taken for granted, that Joseph was a carpenter. The Gospel of James - like several other apocryphical writings - tells about Jesus' life between birth and his appearance in the temple as a 12-year-old, and this gospel indicates something else. In chapter 9, vers 12 Joseph says to Mary: "I am going out to build houses, but I will come back to you." and in chapter 13 vers 1, "In the sixth month of her pregnancy, Joseph came from his house-building and went into the house to find her swelling". This indicates that Joseph was more than a carpenter. In the Greek original text of the gospels of Marks and Matthew, the word "tecton" (τέκτων) is used for Joseph's profession, and it may very well be translated into "carpenter", but also to several other things. For example, Google Translate translates it into (in Danish) "murer", meaning "mason" and I have also seen it translated as gold or silversmith. Some modern scholars believe that the word in Jesus' time represented far more than just a carpenter, namely what we would today call a contractor, that is, a man who have a larger firm in the construction industry, with many employees in several crafts, which is exactly how the two quoted texts from The Gospel of James could be interpreted.

However, some scholars have another view, believing that the word should be translated to "traveling craftsman", thus emphasizing  Jesus' poverty in comparison to the resident craftsmen, who could become relatively wealthy. However, there are some indications that this is a post-rationalization, because Jesus was poor by definition. John D. Crossan, an Irish-American scholar and former Catholic priest, even thinks the word should simply be translated to "laborer," but in this he is a clear minority. Crossan, moreover, believes that Jesus was a "cynic" - a supporter of the Greek philosophy "cynicism". I may return to that in a later article on Jesus religion and philosophy. Crossan adds that Jesus' family were poor rural workers who did not own land or real estate. However, this does not harmonize well with the fact that they could afford to travel to Jerusalem every year at Easter, which can be read in Luke (Luke 2.41), a journey of over 60 miles, on which they would have to eat and seek accommodation along the way - and incidentally traveled with an entourage.

Another explanation for the many journeys that Jesus but apparently also his parents made, is given by Robert Eisler, an Austrian-Jewish Bible scholar. In 1931 he wrote in his "The Messiah Jesus and John the Baptist" that the family's disposition for travelling could be due to the fact that they belonged to a tribal group called Sleb (also known as Soluba). This group exists today mostly in Syria, and they claim to descend not just from the Essenes to whom Jesus apparently had a close connection, but trace their lineage all the way back to Cain! In those days, these Slebs were known to be trained as carpenters, coopers, masons and, in general, building craftsmen. Furthermore, they were known as healers. All attributes that are also attributed to Jesus. The Hungarian-Jewish-British scientist Dr. Geza Vermes, a specialist in Aramaic writings, in addition to Jesus' life and faith (as well as in the Dead Sea Scrolls), wrote in 1973 (in the book "Jesus, the Jew") that the Aramaic word for "carpenter", "naggar", used in The Talmud, is allegorically used to denote a very well-educated man, and by well-educated, Vermes refers to a man who was well-educated in the Torah, ie a "teacher of the law" or rabbi, a class that the Gospels otherwise rarely mention in a positive context. And if Jesus was actually a carpenter in the true sense of the word, one might wonder that not one of the parables he is recorded for telling anywhere in the New Testament is based on the experience he must have had from this profession. Three of them refer to buildings or builders, which may indicate the term "contractor", but three out of a total of 47 parables do not seem particularly significant.

Of course, it can be argued that if Jesus was learned and the son of a learned man, it would seem strange that the inhabitants of his hometown wondered from where he had his knowledge, but if they actually did, is not certain at all. It may well be a "post-rationalization" of evangelists, who probably did not know the allegorical Aramaic use of  the word "naggar" or carpenter. Several scholars, including Barbara Thiering and A. N. Wilson, believe that a translation to "learned man" or "scholar of the scripture" would make much more sense than a translation to "carpenter". This is also far better in line with the fact that Jesus, as a 12-year-old, was able to discuss with the teachers (the rabbis) in the Temple in Jerusalem (Luke 2.45-47). It also harmonizes very well with the disciples later calling Jesus "Master," because that was the traditional way in which a student (disciple) greeted a a learned teacher. I have to point out though, that in the days of Jesus, the term rabbi was not known. It was first used around 200 AD in Mishna, which is a written version of the Jews' oral law tradition, and which is therefore also known as "The Oral Torah". However, the term is used in the Greek versions of the gospels as a reference to  "the scribes and Pharisees", but the Greek versions of the gospels known today are also much younger than 200, so they may have been inspired by Mishna. In the later tradition, one would stand up when a treacher approached, unless the person himself was more well educated in the Torah than the teacher was. This could explain why Jesus is often referred to as being seated, regardless of who he was with.

That Jesus was well educated and possibly even a scholar of the scriptures I will return to below.  I just have to add that this did not mean that he did not work in any other way. At least in the later rabbinic tradition it was stated that "no one is allowed to make a kving from the law". So you could not make a living from interpreting the scripture, but had to earn your living in another way, and there is no reason to believe that this was not the case in Jesus' time. But in my opinion there is no reason to believe that Jesus was a carpenter in the traditional sense.

Was Jesus Poor?

Once again it is difficult to answer with 100% certainty if he was or was not. "Poor" is mentioned many times in the New Testament, for example, in the "Beatitude"s in Matthew 5. and later in the same gospel, "The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor." (Matt. 11.5). And with the same evangelist, chapter 26.9-11 has, "'This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.' Aware of this, Jesus said to them, 'Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.'"

Also Mark mentions the poor, like in among others chapter 10, verse 21, where Jesus says to a young man who wants eternal life: "Jesus looked at him and loved him. 'One thing you lack,' he said. 'Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.'" This episode is also known in Matthew and in both cases the young man gives up on the project because he was very wealthy. In Mark 14.6-7, the disciples say to the young woman who has anointed Jesus (in verse 3): "Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.”  This episode refers to the same one mentioned in Matthew, described above.

According to Luke, Jesus was sent with a purpose: "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, tt proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor." (Luke 4.18). Luke also knows the blessing of the poor (Luke 6:20) and he also knows that the gospel is now preached to the poor (Luke 7.22). In addition, he refers Jesus to say, "But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous." (Lk. 14.13-14) and in verse 21 of the same chapter: "The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’" Luke also knows the story from Mark and Matthew about the rich young man (Luke 18:22). In Luke chapter 19, Jesus visits the chief tax collector i Jericho, Zacchaeus, and it bother the crowd, because a taxcollector was considered to be a sinful man (as he collected taxes for the Romans and could keep some for himself). However, in verse 8, Zacchaeus says, "Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount." On the whole, Luke is the evangelist with the most mentions of the poor.

John knows the story about the money for the expensive oil used by the woman who anoint Jesus, and that the oil could sold and the money given to the poor (John 12.5) but otherwise John has only one mention of the poor, namely in 13.29, which states : "Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the festival, or to give something to the poor." Also several of Paul's letters refer to the poor, but only the Galatians has reference to Jesus and the poor, and even here it is very indirect. The statement comes in reference to a visit to Jerusalem where Paul discussed missionary work with the leaders of the Jerusalem congregation: "James, Cephas and John, those esteemed as pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcised. All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along." (Gal. 2.9-10)

An interesting fact in the above quotes is that none of them mention that Jesus himself was poor. On the contrary, "the poor" are referred to as a group for which something must be done, and Jesus would hardly have expressed himself like that if he had been part of the group . Take for example, the quote from Matthew 11.5. From this it appears that Jesus is now preaching the gospel to the poor, something that has apparently not happened before, and I read the quote clearly as if Jesus did not belong to the group of poor. The same in the next quote: "The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.” Here, in my opinion, Jesus clearly distinguishes himself from the poor.

"Jesus and Nicodemus" by Crijn Hendricksz Volmarijn, 1616 - 1645,

But are there other signs that Jesus (or his family) was poor? In fact, not many. Some emphasize that when Luke tells, that when Jesus was born he was put in a crib because there was no room for them in the inn (Luke 2.7), it was an indication that the family was poor so they could not afford to stay elsewhere. However, this is not a particularly good indication when taking a closer look. Back then, it was common for poor people who were traveling to stay with family - or if they didn't have a family where they had to spend the night, then to settle down at the roadside outside the towns and villages. So if Joseph and Mary came to Bethlehem from Nazareth as Luke tells and sought lodging at the inn, then it is not a sign of poverty, but of the family being able to afford to pay for lodging. That they did not get one was due to the circumstances, namely that the inn had no vacancies, not that they could not afford to stay there.

Later in the same chapter, in verses 22-24, Luke tells that  "When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord  (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord” and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.” The custom of making a sacrifice is established in Leviticus, chapter 12, verse 6, which states: "When the days of her purification for a son or daughter are over, she is to bring to the priest at the entrance to the tent of meeting a year-old lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or a dove for a sin offering."; and in verse 8: "But if she cannot afford a lamb, she is to bring two doves or two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. In this way the priest will make atonement for her, and she will be clean" Some scolars therefore interpret it as a sign of poverty that the family sacrificed pigeons and not a lamb. However, there are also modern scholars who believe that the practice of sacrificing a lamb had been abandoned at the time of Jesus', and that everyone was just sacrifiing two pigeons and nothing more. Had Luke thought the pigeons were a sign of poverty, he would probably had mentioned that they could not afford to sacrifice a lamb.

In a previous article (
Where Was Jesus Born?) I have argued that Luke was wrong when he believed that Joseph and his family had traveled to Bethlehem because of a census or for other reasons. If we turn to Matthew, who is the other evangelist who tells of the birth, he has a somewhat different story. In Matthew the magi arrive in Bethlehem led by a star. And in Matthew 2.11 it is stated, "On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh" So Jesus and his family lived in a house in Bethlehem, not in a stable. The magi had hardly arrived on the same day that Jesus was born, as they had visited Herod in Jerusalem before traveling to Bethlehem. Thus, we can assume that some time has passed since birth, which is also corresponding to the fact that when Herod heard that the magi have cheated on him, he orders all boychildren under 2 years killed. I have discussed The Massacre of the Innovcents in the same article mentioned above, so I will not discuss it here. Although we allow Herod a certain margin, I believe that it could have been maybe a year or later after the birth, that the magi arrived in Bethlehem, and the family still lived in a house in town. We must therefore assume that the house was their own. And it certainly wasn't the poor people who lived in their own house in the capital. Apparently Jesus received a very extensive religious education during his upbringing, which poor peoples children definitely didn't, and it can be taken as a proof that his parents belonged to at least the higher middle class and probably more than that. According to one historian, only the 5% richest could afford to let their children learn to read and write. We do not know for sure whether Jesus could write, but that he could read is beyond any doubt. Otherwise, he would not have access to the "scriptures" that he often quoted.

Later in life, he also had very good contacts within the upper class, such as Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus, Johanna, who was married to an official of Herod (according to tradition, but not the gospels, Herod's stable master), Susanna and many other women. (Luke. 8.3). These women had something in common, namely that they had so much money that they could provide for Jesus and his disciples (and there were quite a few more than the 12 we normally mention) out of their own pockets. Maybe even Mary Magdalene was a financial supporter of Jesus. I will get back to Magdalene in a future article. The wedding in Cana (John 2.1-10), where both Jesus, his mother and all the disciples were invited, was not an event among the poor either. The woman who anointed him could afford to use precious spikenard for the anointment. Therefore, a lot of things suggest that not only wasn't Jesus' family only poor but actually belonged to the upper class. Another argument that the family had some means is made by Pastor C. Thomas Anderson of Mesa, Arizona, when he mentions that the family arrived in Bethlehem with Mary on a donkey. In his opinion only the rich used their donkeys for transport, he writes. The poor ate theirs.

An arguments that is often put forward as proof of Jesus being poor is that after his death he was put in a tomb that was not his own - implying that the family could not afford to give him a tomb . However, this argument is not valid. The family most likely lived in Nazareth (or elsewhere in Galilee) at the time of the execution, and had hardly any reason to own a grave in Jerusalem, and there was not time enough after the crucifixion, to carve a new grave, as the time that elapsed from his arrest until he was crucified was very short. Even if the family had always lived in Bethlehem, they probably would have had a grave there in their hometown, and not in Jerusalem. Finally, John only mentions that "At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there." (John 19.41-42). Therefore, because of the coming Sabbath, there was no time to transfer Jesus to a tomb that the family might have owned in either Bethlehem or Nazareth. So maybe the family has actually been so wealthy that they could afford to buy a grave that was already made for someone else in a garden near the execution site. Or maybe borrowed it from Joseph of Arimathea as some legends will know, knowing full well that it would soon be empty again .

Finally, I want to mention that if Jesus based his parables on his own experiences, he must have been part of the upper class, as many parables are about rich vineyard owners, farmers with their own land, rich men who harvested so much that they had no room for the whole thing and so on. I  will therefore conclude that although many religious authorities would like to claim that Jesus was poor, this was not the case, and he was hardly a carpenter. The fact that Jesus was poor is a tradition especially loved by Luke, who had a purpose for it. His congregation was exactly the poor, and so he emphasized Jesus' sympathy with the poor several times in his gospel, but even he did not refer to Jesus as being poor himself.