Jehovah’s Apostates

I was reading John chapter 9 this morning and it describes in detail the process that a Jehovah’s Witness goes through when they finally “see” what has been done to them. When Jesus truly opens their eyes that is when the trouble with their elders and the Watchtower leadership begins:

John 9

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

blindman“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

His neighbors and those who had formerly seen him begging asked, “Isn’t this the same man who used to sit and beg?” Some claimed that he was.

Others said, “No, he only looks like him.”

But he himself insisted, “I am the man.”

“How then were your eyes opened?” they asked.

He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.”

“Where is this man?” they asked him.

“I don’t know,” he said.

They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath. Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. “He put mud on my eyes,” the man replied, “and I washed, and now I see.”

sanhedrinSome of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.”

But others asked, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” So they were divided.

Then they turned again to the blind man, “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.”

The man replied, “He is a prophet.”

They still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man’s parents. “Is this your son?” they asked. “Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?”

“We know he is our son,” the parents answered, “and we know he was born blind. But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.” His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. That was why his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.

A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God by telling the truth,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.”

He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”

Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”

He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?”

Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.”

The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.

To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.

Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

“Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.”

Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.”

Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.

Jesus said,[a] “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”

Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”

Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.

Jesus was always controversial. Instead of waiting until after the sabbath to do His work He performed miracles on the sabbath day to goad the Pharisees and Jewish religious leaders into a reaction.

He knew their hearts. He knew what reaction they would bring and He knew that what He was doing would be written about for us to read.

When faced with a potential loss of their own power and irrefutable proof that their way of interpreting the bible was incorrect they became enraged. Since they didn’t have Jesus there to revile and perhaps stone to death they instead chose to shoot the proverbial messenger in the blind man, having him removed from the synagogue. This is the very same thing as disfellowshipping in the Jehovah’s Witnesses today.

Notice the that the blind man’s parents were scared to death to testify because they were afraid of being removed or disfellowshipped themselves! They instead told the Jews to ask their son about the incident out of fear of reprisal from their leaders.

There is simply no clearer depiction of what happens to a Jehovah’s Witness when he or she comes to terms with the real truth about Jesus Christ. They were blind and now they see! There is no clearer description of the reaction of the leaders in the Jehovah’s Witnesses to challenges to their beliefs or authority to interpret the scriptures than the very same reaction to the work of Jesus Christ displayed by the Jewish leaders in this account.

Notice their self righteous, holier than thou attitude when they stated in verse 34:

“You were born entirely in sins, and are you teaching us?” So they put him out.”

This attitude on the part of religious leaders that the masses have no license to interpret scripture for themselves, no right to determine their own path to God, no inkling as to the true nature of God has been emulated by many “Christian” churches including Catholicism and more recently Jehovah’s Witnesses. The problem is that by allowing individuals to interpret scripture for themselves and to choose their own path of service to God, the leaders begin to lose their power over the people. In the Jehovah’s Witnesses this is a truly absolute power over the actions,  lives, choices, and the affiliations of their followers.

The reprisal for having the unmitigated gall to attempt to “teach” the Watchtower anything either by word or deed is swift and immediate expulsion from the organization, loss of family and friends and a trashed reputation as a follower of Satan!

I love what Jesus said about this:

John 15:18-25

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.

Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.

They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me.

If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin.

He who hates me hates my Father as well.

If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father.

But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’

The questions we have to ask ourselves is this: “Are we going to be like the blind man’s parents and bow to the power of our religious leaders and give in to the fear of separation from the only religion and family we’ve ever known?”

Or will we, like the blind man, speak courageously, openly and honestly to our family, our friends and our religious leaders about what we have learned regarding Jesus Christ regardless of the consequences?

Yours in Christ,

Doug Shields