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.
I knew JW’s met at the KH prior to the preaching ministry, but I had no idea they have to listen to a public talk? What a burden. Me and my wife don’t have kids yet, and I can’t imagine what it would be like to have every Saturday always booked up through lunch for the rest of our lives.
Not to mention all the prep time involved with it, also having to get new suits periodically, making sure you’re up to snuff, you wouldn’t want to knock on someone’s door that’s smarter than you, trying to get them to join the Org.
Just wanted to say how much I’ve enjoyed reading this article and particularly everyone’s supportive comments.
IfIOnlyHadABrain said” the teachings corrupt the mind and can turn nice people in to callous people , the majority don’t have their own natural personality anymore, it has been erased and replaced by something insidious” That is something I observed as well. First with my own personality. As I do not participate or attend anything, I noticed I am changing again. It is strange to observe but I cannot deny it. I have become far more peaceful and compassionate with others. My wife is still in and I believe her personality has changed a lot from when I met here… Read more »
I certainly agree with the above 2 comments. Something does happen, I’m in the same boat as Menrov and have made similar observations re the personality. It boggles me that some, simply seem to become colder with regard to others. There seems to be rigid self control happen and no spontaneity (I must look that word up..!). I no longer see an unbounded expression of joy or relaxed disposition. A kind of stiffness or rigidity where every aspect of daily life is kind of run through a JW filter. I think when that sort of self analysis is ingrained it… Read more »
Heartfelt thanks,Tadua. This reveals”the heart of the matter”,walking with our Master’in Spirit and Truth’ is yes also nourishing,lifegiving…&simple..we can live This. MarthaMartha..isn’t is amazing,when you use your Godgiven powers,it does take courage:moving past all the fears,past the blinding+crushing weights(purposefully)loaded upon us,when”in”.Our own personal connections to Jah+Christ indeed deepen and strengthen..I’m so very happy for you.The awakening is pronounced, profound;once- realized..& one sees why Meliti has the subheading on this Site,”Walking the Path to Christian Freedom”.Isn’t it also,dear friends,to also more fully experience’the Peace that excells’…and true Joy.
Thanks Tadua, Both of your points are excellent and I agree. Having recently given up attending any meetings I’m realising the truth of the burdens placed by men. My non attendance is taken by the ‘ faithful’ to mean I’m weak spiritually or have left Jehovah. Actually, now I don’t have to spend so much time getting ready for meetings, travelling and being bored to tears by the measly fare presented there, I have much more time to really meditate on scripture and spiritual things. I feel closer to the Father and our Lord than ever. I feel that the… Read more »
Just read your post. I guess congratulations are in order. My wife and I are only attending 2 or 3 meetings a month now and just this week attended the CLAM.
Instead of any encouraging words from the “friends”, they did the classic judgmental JW routine. It makes it even more difficult to attend ANY meetings at all. The only reason we go at all is to appease immediate family. We’re really close to shutting it all down despite the consequences.
Stay strong Martha,
Hi Warp, thank you! Tadua, warp, brain, Josephus and all of you who are still managing to attend and suffering the inevitable cold front, I feel for you and wish you courage and peace. I’m so happy to be where I am now, but it hasn’t been easy. It’s been 6 years of searching, prayer, study, help from all of you here, and then even when I knew I needed to leave… Wow! It’s a difficult thing to stop doing something you’ve done for 58 years. When I stopped reporting my field service back in the summer of 2016 my… Read more »
Hi Warp Speed, Martha
Your situation Warp Speed is almost identical to our own. Instead of trying to retain or bring back ‘weak ones’ they are driving us away. Maybe it’s for the better for us all, but it’s still unchristian and counter productive to their stated goals and aims.
Hang in there Tadua. It’s encouraging to us to have people here that completely understand what we are going through.
Good to hear from you. It really is a shame that the “us vs. them” mentality exist within the Org. I truly believe that there are a lot of good people that are still part of the Org due to years of indoctrination.
I try not to get too upset with the individuals. Like Ray Franz aptly brought out that they are “victims of victims”. Hopefully they will awaken and come to their senses.
Understand your sentiments, Brain. When I am there physically, the stuff coming from the platform seems very shallow and repetitive, a regurgitating of what is on the printed page, with rarely an interesting observation, while I feel I have little now in common with most of the brothers and sisters to talk about afterwards. Fortunately some are more friendly than others, but not many. Time will tell.
Good work once again Tadua. I have always thought it was the ransom and not the instrument was the important part. From a linguistic perspective it could be either cross or stake. Why the fuss? I am developing a theory on this. Up to 1925 the focus under Rutherford was “Millions now living will never die”, this was the one big talk and message from 1918 to 1925. Then the whole event like 1914 did not happen. This happens with the group writing in the Herald Magazine and the one by PSL Johnson often challenging the WT teachings. Rutherford was… Read more »
One excellent ramble, Eleasar. A potted summary of WTBS 1918 to 2018 plus what they need to do , all in 20 lines. Love it.
Tadua. Agree completely on all the load, especially when I look back to the days of being an elder when there were three meetings each week and more items to prepare. I used to come back after Saturday field service and crash. My wife still moans about that now, because I was too tired after also going on return visits etc. Family study suffered also. I never knew how those with longer working hours coped with everything. But perhaps they didn’t. Absolutely agree on the cross/stake question. Always seemed like an unnecessary attempt to make us different from everybody else,… Read more »
Meleti, you are quite right that it does not really matter as we are not going to worship it but for Jdubs it is akin to an article of faith. I remember that I was quite proud of the fact that I knew Jesus died on a torture stake and not on a cross as churches believed -a kinda oneupmanship. It set Jdubs apart from the churches- precisely what Rutherford intended
Actually, Tadua wrote this article, though I do agree that it matters little if at all whether our Lord died on a stake or a cross.
Oops! My apologies, Bros for mix-up; first time commenting here. Keep up the good work!
Thank you for this week’s review. My thoughts exactly when it comes to the cross/torture stake. I would never really get into debates with people about the cross or correct them because I felt just as you stated, its not what he died on but the reason and the benefits to us as humans.