Planning and building the new capital of Tiberias was the masterpiece of the government of Jesus.
For this brilliant feat Jesus got the honorary title tekton (tektwn). This Greek word is usually translated as “carpenter”, but here it means “architect”. Those building a new city or a new capital would like make many things better than before: they would like to leave old things and ways behind.
The inspiration behind this was the idea of the New Jerusalem. In the Jewish capital Jerusalem the great Temple, the house of God, had been under construction for more than forty years.
Herod Antipas and Jesus wanted to build a city for the people without forgetting to worship the divine powers. The new capital was built in record time, if not in three days as in John 2, 19.
From the year 20 CE there are the first coins of Herod Antipas with the inscription Tiberias and the reed, which was a symbol of the city by the Sea of Galilee. The coins celebrated the new capital.
Since Antipas was often out of the country and in Rome, Jesus himself had the role and duties of a local ruler
such as dispensing justice and attending to the economic and social problems of the land and its people, so that during his time as governor he was already seen by the people as the father of the country.
Jesus was responsible for founding and building the city of Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee. Tiberias was a model city where Jesus could realise his concept of an ideal society in practical politics.
The statement in Matt. 13:55 that Jesus was son of a “tekton” should be translated as Jesus is also
one of the tektons, as in the parallel verse Mark 6:3. In Semite culture the word “son” was used to indicated belonging. The Greek word tekton can mean a building worker; it can also mean an architect, a master builder or house builder.
Jesus is described as a tekton, an architect and master builder, because he was commissioned by Prince Antipas to build the city of Tiberias, Galilee’s new capital city.
The idea that the craftsman’s son Jesus could have acquired all his wisdom through divine inspiration rather than by hard study contradicts the principle of Occam’s Razor, whereby the simplest solution is the correct one.
Equal civil rights for all new citizens of Tiberias
are attested both by Josephus and in Jesus’ parables in the New Testament: Ant. 18, 2, 3; Matt. 20:1-16; 22:1-14 par.
Jesus’ model for a ruler in Galilee envisaged a strong monarch and was supra-national in conception; it granted the same civil rights to Jews and Greeks, and to the upper and lower classes of society.