They Are Imitating Jesus Christ
WHEN teaching his apostles a lesson in humility, Jesus Christ said: “I set the pattern for you, that, just as I did to you, you should do also.” (John 13:15) Jesus’ true disciples should therefore imitate him. Others should be able to see that they are following the pattern of their Master, Christ. Is this true of the members of Christendom’s churches? And what of Jehovah’s Christian witnesses? Do they follow the Master’s pattern? Consider some examples:
NO PART OF THE WORLD
Jesus Christ maintained strict neutrality toward the affairs of the world. Regarding himself and his followers he could say: “They are no part of the world, just as I am no part of the world.” (John 17:16) Can this be said of those belonging to the churches of Christendom? Does not past and present history prove that church members have been actively involved in violent political and religious wars? Are not, for example, Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland resorting to violence bordering on civil war? But what about Jehovah’s witnesses there? Are they maintaining neutrality?
Though not a baptized Witness at the time, one woman reports:
“One evening I was visited by my sister who is a Catholic. As she talked about the religious and political hatred sweeping the country, I explained how we as Jehovah’s witnesses view the situation and how we always stand for Christian neutrality and advocate the kingdom of God. I could see that she doubted whether this was true. Then we were interrupted by a knock at the door.
“I was confronted by two men who said they were officials from the local peace-keeping committee and wanted details about my husband—his name, age, and so forth. They said he would be needed for guarding our district against terrorist activities. They also said they would call weekly to collect subscriptions to provide for barricades, bandages, torches and similar equipment. Without hesitation, I explained that we would not share in any movement not based on God’s Word. I also showed why we were neutral and how God’s kingdom will solve mankind’s problems. One of the men nodded understandingly, as if he had heard this before. With that they both left.
“And my Catholic sister? She overheard the entire conversation and was no longer confused about what I had been saying, but was amazed to see our principles in action.”
A man who is studying the Bible with Jehovah’s witnesses in the same troubled country tells his experience with Protestant vigilantes:
“I was approached by a neighbor who asked me to attend a neighborhood meeting to work out a rota for [Protestant] vigilante patrols. When I told him I could not conscientiously engage in such duties, he replied that I would have to come along and explain my reasons. At the meeting there were about a dozen men who questioned me closely about the reasons for my refusal. They told me I could only be on one side or the other, no in-between, ‘either Catholic or Protestant.’ I explained that since studying the Bible with Jehovah’s witnesses, my conscience would not permit me to violate Bible principles on Christian neutrality.”
One of the men took issue with a later statement by this Bible student that vigilante duty was political. But when the Bible student asked him whether he, a Protestant, would perform such duty on a Catholic street, the objector replied, “Certainly not.” Then the Bible student said: “So it does mean that I would be involved in taking sides in a political and religious issue.” He refused.
COMFORTING ONES WHO MOURN
In keeping with his commission, Jesus Christ comforted mourning ones. (Isa. 61:1-3; Luke 4:18, 19) His message was of particular comfort to those saddened about their spiritual state. (Matt. 5:4) Like Jesus Christ, Jehovah’s witnesses today seize opportunities to bring comfort to others from God’s Word.
This is what one of Jehovah’s witnesses did in West Berlin. While offering the Watchtower and Awake! magazines to people on the street, she noticed a woman talking to some acquaintances. This woman looked very sad. The longer she spoke, the sadder she became, until she finally burst out in tears. When the others left, she searched in vain for a handkerchief. Just when she was about to tear off a piece of wrapping paper from a package, the Witness approached her and offered her two paper tissues.
This small gesture provided the opportunity for a long discussion about the message of the Bible and the hope it holds forth for the dead. Since this woman’s husband had died a short time prior to this, the Witness was able to comfort her, although the woman had no faith. The possibility of seeing her husband again seemed too unreal to her.
Each market day the Witness and this woman would meet. The woman’s deep sorrow would leave when thoughts from God’s Word were discussed. Eventually she invited the Witness to come to her home and a regular home Bible study was started. What a privilege to imitate God’s Son in thus comforting mourning ones with Bible knowledge!
GIVING ATTENTION TO YOUTH
Jesus Christ was also willing to give attention to children. (Matt. 19:13, 14) Taking his example to heart, Jehovah’s witnesses try to help youths to come to an accurate knowledge of the Bible.
This is what happened in Sierra Leone a number of years ago:
While giving a Bible discourse, one of Jehovah’s witnesses observed a young boy edging his way closer to the platform. Facial expressions indicated that adults in the audience disapproved. Remembering Jesus’ attitude toward children, the speaker, however, stopped his talk and invited the boy to sit down and listen. This the boy did.
Upon returning to his home village after giving the talk, the speaker saw the young boy and an older boy coming along the bush path to his home. Apparently stimulated by what the younger boy told him, the older boy now raised many questions. The Witness arranged to study the Bible with both boys. Soon they were attending every meeting at the local Kingdom Hall. In a few months the older boy became a dedicated, baptized witness of Jehovah, and the younger one did so soon afterward.
HELPING THOSE LOOKED DOWN UPON
Jesus Christ gave spiritual assistance to those looked down upon. That is why some complained: ‘Look! A friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ (Matt. 11:19) Because of Jesus’ interest in them, persons having the reputation of being sinners repented and became his disciples. Like Jesus Christ, Jehovah’s witnesses today willingly assist people of ill repute to learn God’s way and conform to it.
A missionary in Panama began a Bible study with a woman (not a native Panamanian) who requested it at the branch office of the Watch Tower Society in that country. Though a mother of a seventeen-year-old boy, she was working on a contract basis as a “bar girl.” Despite her occupation, however, she took the study very seriously. She wanted to study twice a week and went to the Kingdom Hall for that purpose.
Soon this woman began telling some of the other sixteen girls working at the same place about her Bible study. Later she asked the missionary whether one of the other girls might share in the study. A short time thereafter both women began attending the congregational study of The Watchtower at the Kingdom Hall and would tell the other fifteen girls about what they were learning. As a result, two of those girls also wanted to study the Bible.
Week after week all four would come to the Kingdom Hall for their study as well as for the congregational Watchtower study. Many times their “boyfriends” would bring them. As they increased in Bible knowledge, they began to feel very much ashamed. They longed for the time when they could come to the Kingdom Hall with their heads up and be clean, just as they could see that those assembled were. By this time their contracts with the bar owner as well as their permits to be in the country were expiring. This brought them a certain measure of satisfaction and joy, as they contemplated getting out of the terrible way of life into which they had sunk. When the contracts expired, all four went back to their home countries.
The one who began studying first was asked by one of her “boyfriends” to marry him as soon as his divorce came through. But she explained to him that she could not marry him, as she was following the Bible and it did not allow the kind of divorce he was getting. In her home country this woman continued to make progress. Later she wrote to the missionary: “You just can’t imagine my joy as I write to tell you that my mother and I were both baptized at our circuit assembly last week. My son hopes to be baptized at the next. I am running a cafeteria that supports the family. Since I have changed from my old personality and put on the new, I am very happy and have found real peace and security.”
One of the other girls also wrote to the missionary, informing her that she, too, had gotten baptized as one of Jehovah’s Christian witnesses.
These varied experiences show that even today there are people who are imitating Jesus Christ. If you would like to associate with persons who sincerely endeavor to live according to those high standards, we encourage you to prove for yourself that Jehovah’s Christian witnesses are indeed doing that.