Treasures from God’s Word and Digging for Spiritual Gems – Jesus offered Refreshment (Matthew 10-11)
Matthew 11:28 (loaded down) (nwtsty)
The study notes say: “Those whom Jesus beckons to come were ‘loaded down’ by anxiety and toil. Their worship of Jehovah had become burdensome because of the human traditions that had been added to the Law of Moses. Even the Sabbath, which was meant to be a source of refreshment, had become a burden.”
Are witnesses today ‘loaded down’? Most would answer, Yes, if they felt they could speak freely without repercussions.
How many feel they are on a treadmill and want to get off?
Working all week secularly, brothers (especially appointed men or those reaching out) are expected to be up early Saturday morning to get their whole family ready to go out preaching, in the main knocking on empty doors, and that is after they travel to the local Kingdom Hall or group centre for a service talk followed by the allocation of territory. A whole hour or more will have passed before even one door has been knocked on, but the time getting ready, travelling to the service group, meeting and then travelling to the territory cannot be counted. By the time they get back home and eat, at least half the day will have passed.
Repeat the same early start on Sunday for the Public Talk and Watchtower meeting. No time for a lay-in and rest. It will now be early afternoon, even if there is no participation in the ministry. So, is there even two afternoons to oneself? No, a good witness will need to have a bible study with his family (if a young family, the only practical time to have it). That is before meeting preparation, shepherding, Kingdom hall cleaning, Elders or Servants duties, etc. If they are fortunate enough they may be able to squeeze in household repairs and maintenance duties, and some relaxation time with the family.
- So answer honestly, is the worship of one of Jehovah Witnesses burdensome because of human traditions that have been added to the Law of Christ?
- Is the “day of rest” that was the Sabbath under Jewish law a source of refreshment or a burden?
- What time would a good Witness have to help his fellow brothers and sisters with all these burdens imposed unnecessarily upon him (or her) by the organization?
Jesus said “my yoke is kindly and my load is light”. (Matthew 11:30) How? Because Jesus just asks us to do our best. He does not prescribe how often, and in what particular ways we worship. It is up to our conscience.
Matthew 10:38 (torture stake) (nwtsty)
Torture stake or cross?
Forgive the pun, but the arguments for which implement Jesus was cruelly put to death on, are tortuous in themselves. So let’s look at the context, the origins and what history tells us.
According to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon stauros the Greek word translated “torture stake” in the NWT and “cross” in most other bibles, is primarily an ‘upright stake especially a pointed one’. This is due to its origin. As the NWT 2013 Glossary reminds us “The Assyrians, impaled captives atop pointed stakes”.
The Phoenicians starting using a cross like structure and the Greeks and Romans adopted this, to inflict a longer more agonizing death for the worst criminals. It is therefore highly probable that Jesus was put to death on a cross.
However does the exact method need to be a matter of controversy? No, because it does not matter what Jesus was put to death on. Rather, what is important, is what that death and the manner of that death represents for the Christian.
Would true Christians worship an instrument of torture, whether a single pole or a cross, just because Jesus died on one? Of course not. In modern parlance that would be like worshipping an image of Christ attached to an upright AK47 or two AK47’s made into a cross like structure. Such an idea would repulse most people.
So in summary, Christ may well have died on a cross, for that was the common method of capital punishment at that time. But as Christians would not worship it, it matters little, as Christians will focus on the fact that he suffered an agonizing death and gave his life that we all might have the opportunity of everlasting life. For that opportunity may we hope to be eternally grateful. Let us not engage in a “fight about words” (2 Timothy 2:14) unless it changes the meaning of our understanding of the truth of God’s word. Whether Jesus died on a stake or a cross does not change why he died, how he died, when he died, and for what he died; all of which are vital truths.
Jesus, The Way (jy Chapter 6) – The Child who was promised
Nothing of note.