Friday, December 17, 2010

WT: Why Did They Reject the Messiah?

Once again, Russell dropped by and gave me another Watchtower magazine. He stressed that I read the article, "Why Did They Reject the Messiah?". So I did.

The article uses three major arguments for why men rejected Jesus. The first is "unfulfilled expectations", followed by "rejected by Religious leaders", and finally that there was "community prejudice and persecution". Now these reasons for the most part are basically true in and of themselves as why men reject Christ. What I find interesting is sin is never mentioned. Basically, the reasons offered are how men remain in their unbelief and sustain their unbelief, but they are not the deep seated reason that would be the true culprit, slavery to sin.

Another interesting observation I noticed in the supporting arguments for the "unfulfilled expectations" is the citations of passages of the disciples such as John the Baptist. This section refers to John's questioning of Jesus, "Are You the Coming One, or are we to expect a different one?"

Yet it is obvious John does not "reject" Jesus as the Messiah. He is never recorded as having done so. Yes, John was confused due to his own expectations and understanding of how the Kingdom of God comes to Earth. Yet this is more evidence that his prophecy is from God and not men since even he could not understand how his own prophecy would be fulfilled.

The Watchtower then cites to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus.
"We were hoping that this man was the one destined to deliver Israel."
Once again, as confused as they were, there is no evidence they "rejected" Jesus. They simply thought he was killed (which He was) and therefore was not the Messiah by simple logical deduction. Let's face it. Jesus was supposedly dead at this time! The article falls short in making the proper distinctions between rejection, belief in a natural sense and saving faith.

The conclusion of the article also includes some problems. It again assumes that man is a morally neutral creature that may be reasoned into the Kingdom by appealing to his objective justice. It even goes to far as to say:
Today, erroneous ideas about Jesus and His teachings can have a similar effect. For example, many have been taught that God's Kingdom is in their heart or will come about by human efforts.
Now I agree with the latter thought. God's consummation of the Kingdom does not come about by human effort. And yes, the consummated Kingdom is not merely in our hearts. Yet by not seeing that the Kingdom of God comes in two stages, the Watchtower misses the need for the work of the Spirit in this age. For instance, notice Jesus' words in Luke 17,
20 Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed,
21 nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or 'There!' for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you."
Men are blind by their sin and are unable to see the Kingdom of God. The solution is not more evidence, but a work of the Spirit as stated by Jesus in John's Gospel.
3:3 Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."
3:4 Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?"
3:5 Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
In conclusion, the Watchtower is only right in how men remain in their unbelief. It falls short of addressing the Biblical passages that deal with man's truly fallen nature and the remedy that the Triune God has provided in the redemption of His elect.

1 comment:

Cory said...

I always like the way John 12:42-43 says it...
[42] Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; [43] for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.