Yeartext for 1984
“Speak the word of God fearlessly.”—Phil. 1:14.
The Bible gives many accounts of those who spoke the Word of God fearlessly and who were richly blessed in doing so. It must have required great courage for Enoch to proclaim Jehovah’s judgment in pre-Flood days, convicting ungodly sinners concerning the shocking things that they spoke against him. Noah had to be fearless in preaching righteousness in that doomed world of ungodly people. But such fearlessness in walking with God had its abundant reward.—Jude 15; 2 Pet. 2:5; Gen. 5:24; 6:9, 22; 7:1, 23.
In later times Jehovah strengthened his faithful prophets to speak out fearlessly in warning Jerusalem of its approaching doom. For example, he assured the youthful Jeremiah that he would make him like a fortified city against his adversaries. Likewise, God commissioned Ezekiel, saying: “The sons insolent of face and hard of heart—I am sending you to them, and you must say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said.’ And as for them, whether they will hear or will refrain—for they are a rebellious house—they will certainly know also that a prophet himself happened to be in the midst of them.” Those ancient prophets sounded the warning, fearlessly.—Ezek. 2:4, 5; Jer. 1:6, 18.
However, the greatest example of fearlessness in proclaiming an unpopular message is that of our Lord Jesus Christ. Even the officers sent to arrest him returned empty-handed, exclaiming: “Never has another man spoken like this.” Courageously, Jesus testified concerning God’s Kingdom until his lips were silenced in death.—John 7:46; 18:36, 37.
Jesus encouraged his disciples to show a like fearlessness in proclaiming the Word of God. In his service talk recorded at Matthew 10:5-42, he told them not to fear those who may kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather they should fear Jehovah God, in whom rests their hope for everlasting life. Like their Master, those disciples were outspoken in making known the truth. Thus, the rulers came to “recognize about them that they used to be with Jesus.”—Acts 4:13.
What of today? As Jehovah’s Witnesses, we are privileged to be the one organized body of Christians united worldwide in following the pattern set by the ancient prophets, by Jesus and by his early disciples. In Jehovah’s strength we press on fearlessly with our God-given work. (Zech. 4:6) Concentration camps, prisons, beatings, family opposition, reproaches heaped on us at our place of work or at school—none of these can deter or silence us as we boldly proclaim the Word of God. No doubt this year of 1984 will mark a further surge forward in our Kingdom work, as we meet the challenge of worsening world conditions by “showing all the more courage to speak the word of God fearlessly.”