Follow Jesus, But Not "at a Distance" (Luke 22:54)
Speaker opened with Matt 26:57-58 stressing "fear of man" which led Peter to follow at a distance after Jesus was arrested. The speaker compared this with Peter's earlier stated confidence in verses 33 & 35. Speaker then moved on to 1 Peter 2:21 as evidence that it is Jesus' exampLe which is to be followed. Cited Proverbs 29:25 - fear of man is likened to a snare.
The emphasis was then moved on to Joseph of Arimithea. Speaker cited John 19:38 - "Now after these things, Joseph of Ar·i·ma·theʹa, who was a disciple of Jesus but a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate if he could take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body away." (NWT - 2013). However the NIV puts it more accurately: "Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away."What the speaker said next left me aghast as he then alleged that Joseph of Arimithea was "ashamed of Jesus"! What a judgemental fellow! Nowhere in scripture is Joseph of Arimithea deprecated so! Nowhere! I don't know if this slander is solely on the part of the speaker or is it in the manuscript and thus attributable to the GB too! Regardless, such a statement is eggregious. Joseph of Arimithea was merely being cautious due to the arrogance of the Pharisees, just like many folks in this organisation today are similarly cautious with the 21st century pharisaical GB and their temple police (branches, and appointed men).
Matt 5:14-16 - light of the world
Matt 10:32-34 - duty of acknowledgement
John 5:17 - Jesus & his Father working continuously
The latter scripture was used to guilt trip individuals as the speaker stated that individuals were "following Jesus at a distance" if they were "not reaching out". He deepened the guilt trip by citing Matt 12:30 to infer that brothers not reaching out were therefore abstaining from the gathering work and thus actually scattering. Well, I have relinquished all my "privileges" as my conscience prevents me supporting this organisation practically or financially! This talk has confirmed my decision as entirely correct and confirmed that it will remain that way!