Friday, March 18
See, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
Jesus explained that he came, “not to be ministered to, but to minister and to give his life as a ransom in exchange for many.” The “many” who would benefit from Jesus’ ransom were not to be limited to repentant Jews. Rather, it is God’s will that “all sorts of people should be saved,” since the ransom “takes away the sin of the world!” Did those early disciples of Jesus have the needed courage to keep on witnessing about him? Indeed they did. Some 27 years after Pentecost 33 C.E., it could be said that “the message of truth of the good news” had reached Jews and Gentiles “in all creation under heaven.”
Jesus had a multi-faceted ministry over the course of the three and one half-years from the time he was anointed. He ministered to the sick and hungry and to those burdened down with sin. He even ministered to the dead by bringing them back to life, at least temporarily. And, of course, he ministered on a spiritual level as well. His spiritual ministry continues to this day, carried on by his disciples.
But there is another ministry that Jesus will perform in the future. Yes, you might be thinking of his service to mankind during the one thousand-years when he will serve as a king and priest, and you would be right. But there is another type of ministry that Jesus will perform before the end of this world. What is that? It is the ministry known as the parousia – the presence.
Presently Jehovah’s Witnesses are laboring under the delusion that the parousia of Christ began in 1914. However, according to Jesus his unexpected coming as a thief will be followed by his ministering to his chosen ones in a very special way. Jesus explained it in the 12th chapter of Luke, saying: “Be dressed and ready and have your lamps burning, and you should be like men waiting for their master to return from the marriage, so when he comes and knocks, they may at once open to him. Happy are those slaves whom the master on coming finds watching! Truly I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at the table and will come alongside and minister to them. And if he comes in the second watch, even if in the third, and finds them ready, happy are they! But know this, if the householder had known at what hour the thief would come, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also, keep ready, because at an hour that you do not think likely, the Son of man is coming.”
The Watchtower claims that the coming of the Son of man coincides with his coming on the clouds of heaven, which causes all the tribes of earth to beat themselves in grief. However, if that is true than how are we to understand what Jesus meant when he spoke of dressing himself for service and making his disciples recline at the table in order to minister to them? Is that something Jehovah’s Witnesses expect to happen in the future? No. In fact, the Watchtower attaches no importance whatsoever to Jesus’ words above. It is as if the passage doesn’t exist.
But clearly, Jesus is referring to his so-called parousia. We know that to be true because the word “parousia” literally means “being alongside.” And what did Jesus tell his disciples would happen if they are dressed and ready when he arrives? He said he “will come alongside and minister to them.”
And the whole point of Jesus’ illustration is to call to mind the occasion during the evening meal when Jesus washed the feet of his apostles. His parousia will be the end of the observance of the memorial, even as Paul noted when he commanded Christians to ‘keep doing this until he arrives.’
What this means is that Christ’s parousia has not occurred. The very fact Jehovah’s Witnesses believe it is a done deal insures that Christ’s coming will be at an hour “you do not think likely.”
Judging by the relentless push for global war it is apparent that the hour of his coming has drawn nigh.