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Sunday, March 25, 2012

JW tract: How do you view Jesus? As a Newborn Baby? A Dying Man? Or an Exalted King?

“Love the Lord with all your heart, and with all your soul,
         and with all your MIND”--Matt 22:37

A Jehovah's Witness (JW) left this tract at our door the other day.  It asks, provocatively, ""How do you view Jesus?  As a Newborn Baby?  A Dying Man? Or an Exalted King!" 

The Catholic answer is, of course, "Yes!" 

Again, as with most Catholic answers, the response is not either/or but both/and. 

Yes, we view Jesus as a newborn baby.  And as a dying man (we prefer to use the term "crucified savior").  And as an exalted king.

We might also add that we view Him as

fisher of men
advocate of women
lover of children
2nd person of the Trinity
the lamb of God
the word made flesh
the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist
suffering servant
son of Mary, the ark of the covenant
prince of peace
the Incarnation
and a multitude of other titles and adjectives that we all could add.

I find it interesting that the JWs are offering this tract as we approach the Easter Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday/Easter Vigil), which are Christianity's most holy days.

(Not to mention I find it slightly amusing that the tract says, in response to the question "How do you view Jesus?", to come "hear the answer" at their Kingdom Hall.  How is it that I will hear the answer to how I view Jesus at their presentation? )

Their presentation is being offered in response to a very common criticism leveled at Catholicism:  that it is morbidly obsessed with the death of Jesus.  And this obsession is at its  extreme during our Good Friday services (through our veneration of the Cross, Stations of the Cross, reading of the Passion narrative, etc).  The JW position is:  why?  He is now reigning as an exalted king!  Why commemorate a bloody and horrific event? Why keep images of Him, suffering and dying, in your churches?  If your loved one had died a horrible death would you keep pictures of that around your home and church?

My response is: yes, if my loved one died a horrific death, in ransom for me, because of my sins and failures, out of the greatest love for me, then I would most certainly keep that event ever present in my heart and mind!

And we Catholics remain focused on His Passion because that is the primary purpose for Jesus' Incarnation:  to be the Lamb of God who takes away our sins. 

He did not come, primarily, to heal the sick, or to preach the Golden Rule, or to teach a new morality.  While all of those ministries of Christ were important, and ought not be dismissed, Pope Benedict XVI's beautiful words here confirm that Jesus' mission was to be the true Sacrificial Lamb.

The mission for which Jesus came among us was accomplished in the Paschal Mystery. On the Cross from which he draws all people to himself, just before "giving up the Spirit," he utters the words: "it is finished" (Jn 19:30). In the mystery of Christ's obedience unto death, even death on a Cross, the new and eternal covenant was brought about. In his crucified flesh, God's freedom and our human freedom met definitively in an inviolable, eternally valid pact. Human sin was also redeemed once for all by God's Son. As I have said elsewhere, "Christ's death on the Cross is the culmination of that turning of God against himself in which he gives himself in order to raise man up and save him. This is love in its most radical form."
Love in its most radical form.  Gotta love our pope!  Who could disagree with that?  And who would object to venerating and adoring The Act of Love that purchased for us so great a salvation?

Not to mention, we focus on the atoning death of Christ (but are not, as some point out, "morbidly obsessed" with it) because Scripture commands that we do.  St. Paul writes, "
but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength" -1 Cor 1:23-25

and here he proclaims, "
When I came to you, brothers, proclaiming the mystery of God, I did not come with sublimity of words or of wisdom.  For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified" -1 Cor 2:1-2

So, yes, Christ is our exalted King, as the JWs correctly proclaim, and we rejoice in this every Sunday.  But we also rejoice in Him whose suffering and death was a radical act of love for you and me.  Isn't that the right thing to do, if someone suffered and died for your sake?

For more in-depth study visit these websites:
Distinctive Beliefs of the Jehovah's Witnesses

Catholics Come Home

"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect" - 1 Peter 3:15


  1. Appreciate your bold post.

    Jehovah's Witnesses say Jesus had his *invisible* second coming October 1914 it's the basis of all their *unique* doctrines.More have died from JW twisted half-baked ban on blood transfusion than Jonestown and heaven's gate combined.
    *Wolves in sheep's clothing*
    --Danny Haszard

  2. How are they going to tell me what I think? its either badly written or arrogant!

  3. Jesus is who he says he is......Jesus will come back as HE said. It is NOT JW Scripture. It is Jesus word and THE GOSPEL that is correct.
    Have a Happy New Year in Jesus 2014.

    1. Amen! What you profess above is quite Catholic, Rainbowpromises!