“Comfort All the Mourning Ones”
“Jehovah has anointed me . . . to comfort all the mourning ones.”—ISAIAH 61:1, 2.
1. What did Jesus do for mourning ones? Why?
JESUS CHRIST said: “My food is for me to do the will of him that sent me and to finish his work.” (John 4:34) Jehovah gave Jesus a work to do. When Jesus did this work, he showed the same love for people that his Father showed. (1 John 4:7-10) The apostle Paul talked about one way that Jehovah shows love when he called Him “the God of all comfort.” (2 Corinthians 1:3) Jesus showed the same love in his ministry on the earth, as Isaiah had prophesied he would. (Read Isaiah 61:1, 2.) Jesus applied Isaiah’s prophecy to himself. (Luke 4:16-21) During his ministry, Jesus comforted mourning ones and gave them encouragement and peace.
2, 3. Why do followers of Jesus need to comfort others?
2 All followers of Jesus need to comfort those who mourn. (1 Corinthians 11:1) Paul said: “Keep comforting one another and building one another up.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11) People need comfort because we are living in “critical times hard to deal with.” (2 Timothy 3:1) More and more, good people throughout the world have to live among those who say and do things that cause suffering and sadness.
3 As Bible prophecy tells us, in these last days of this wicked system of things, many are “lovers of themselves, lovers of money, self-assuming, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, disloyal, having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness, betrayers, headstrong, puffed up with pride, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God.” And exactly as the Bible says, the way wicked people think and act is going “from bad to worse.”—2 Timothy 3:2-4, 13.
4. What has happened to conditions on earth in our time?
4 This does not surprise us, for God’s Word tells us that “the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.” (1 John 5:19) “The whole world” includes the political, religious, and commercial parts of this world, as well as the ways that Satan uses to spread his ideas. There is no doubt that Satan the Devil is “the ruler of the world” and “the god of this system of things.” (John 14:30; 2 Corinthians 4:4) Conditions on earth continue to get worse because Satan is now very angry. He knows that he has only a short time left. (Revelation 12:12) It is so comforting to know that God will not allow Satan and his wicked system to continue much longer and that the issue of Jehovah’s sovereignty will be resolved!—Genesis, chapter 3; Job, chapter 2.
THE GOOD NEWS IS BEING PREACHED IN ALL THE EARTH
5. How is the prophecy about the preaching work coming true in these last days?
5 Jesus prophesied: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14) Just as Jesus said, Jehovah’s people around the world are preaching the good news about God’s Kingdom. Today, more than 7,500,000 Witnesses of Jehovah in more than 107,000 congregations are doing this work. Jesus preached and taught about God’s Kingdom, and Jehovah’s Witnesses do the same. (Matthew 4:17) Through this work, they give comfort to many mourning ones. In just two recent years, 570,601 were baptized as Jehovah’s Witnesses!
6. What do you think about the growth of our preaching work?
6 Jehovah’s Witnesses now translate and distribute Bible literature in more than 500 languages. No one has ever done a work like this before! Even though they are in a world controlled by Satan, Jehovah’s people are active in His service and keep increasing. That would be impossible without the help and direction of God’s holy spirit. Because the good news is being preached throughout the earth, people who accept the Kingdom message can have the same comfort that Jehovah’s people have.
OTHERS IN THE CONGREGATION CAN COMFORT US
7. (a) Why can we not expect Jehovah to end all causes of unhappiness now? (b) How do we know that it is possible for us to endure persecution and tribulation?
7 Because we live in a world full of wickedness, we all will suffer in some way. We should not expect God to take away everything that makes us unhappy before he destroys this system of things. While we wait for that day, persecution will test whether we are faithful to Jehovah and support his sovereignty. (2 Timothy 3:12) But with the help and comfort from our heavenly Father, we can be like anointed Christians in ancient Thessalonica, who showed “endurance and faith” during persecutions and tribulations.—Read 2 Thessalonians 1:3-5.
8. How does the Bible show that Jehovah comforts his servants?
8 Jehovah certainly gives his servants the comfort that they need. For example, when wicked Queen Jezebel wanted to kill the prophet Elijah, he became afraid and fled. He even said that he wanted to die. But instead of criticizing Elijah, Jehovah comforted him and gave him the courage to continue his work as a prophet. (1 Kings, chapter 19) Another example of how Jehovah comforts his people is the help he gave to the congregation in the time of the apostles. The Bible says that the congregation throughout the whole of Judea and Galilee and Samaria entered into a period of peace, being built up. And “as it walked in the fear of Jehovah and in the comfort of the holy spirit it kept on multiplying.” (Acts 9:31) We too are very grateful to have the comfort of the holy spirit!
9. Why can learning about Jesus comfort us?
9 As Christians, we have been comforted by learning about Jesus Christ and by following his example. Jesus said: “Come to me, all you who are toiling and loaded down, and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am mild-tempered and lowly in heart, and you will find refreshment for your souls. For my yoke is kindly and my load is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) When we learn about the kind and loving way that Jesus treated people and then try to do as he did, we can get some relief from the stress that we may feel.
10, 11. Who in the congregation can give comfort?
10 We can also get comfort from others in the congregation. For example, think about how the elders can help those whose faith is getting weak. James wrote: “Is there anyone sick among you? Let him call the older men of the congregation to him, and let them pray over him.” And what is the result of their help? “The prayer of faith will make the indisposed one well, and Jehovah will raise him up. Also, if he has committed sins, it will be forgiven him.” (James 5:14, 15) But elders are not the only ones in the congregation who can give us comfort.
11 Women often find it easier to talk to other women about their problems. Older and more experienced sisters especially can give very good advice to younger sisters. These older Christian women may have experienced similar situations in their lives. By listening and caring, they can be a great help to the younger sisters. (Read Titus 2:3-5.) Of course, elders and others can and should “speak consolingly to the depressed souls” among us. (1 Thessalonians 5:14, 15) And it is good to remember that God “comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those in any sort of tribulation.”—2 Corinthians 1:4.
12. Why is it important to be at the meetings?
12 A very important way to get comfort is to be at Christian meetings. The information from the Bible that we hear at the meetings encourages us. We read that Judas and Silas “encouraged the brothers with many a discourse and strengthened them.” (Acts 15:32) Before and after our meetings, there is encouraging conversation among members of the congregation. So even if we are suffering because of a problem, it is better to spend time with fellow Christians. Staying by ourselves will only make things worse. (Proverbs 18:1) Instead, we should do what the apostle Paul said: “Let us consider one another to incite to love and fine works, not forsaking the gathering of ourselves together, as some have the custom, but encouraging one another, and all the more so as you behold the day drawing near.”—Hebrews 10:24, 25.
THE BIBLE GIVES US COMFORT
13, 14. In what ways can the Scriptures comfort us?
13 Whether we are baptized Christians or we are just beginning to learn about God and his purposes, we can get great comfort from the Bible. Paul wrote: “All the things that were written aforetime were written for our instruction, that through our endurance and through the comfort from the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4) The Bible can comfort us and make us “fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17) We can get knowledge of the truth about God’s purposes and a true hope for the future by reading and studying the Bible and our publications. If we do that, we can enjoy the comfort and other benefits that the hope from the Bible gives us.
14 Jesus was a fine example in the way he used the Scriptures to instruct and comfort others. After his resurrection, Jesus appeared to two of his disciples. Jesus fully opened up the Scriptures to them. No doubt this comforted them. (Luke 24:32) The apostle Paul followed Jesus’ excellent example and used the Scriptures to reason with people. In Beroea, those who listened to him “received the word with the greatest eagerness of mind, carefully examining the Scriptures daily.” (Acts 17:2, 10, 11) So it is very important that we read the Bible every day and that we allow it along with our publications to help us! They give us comfort and hope in these troubled times.
ADDITIONAL WAYS TO COMFORT OTHERS
15, 16. What are some things we can do to help and comfort our brothers?
15 There are many things we can do to help and comfort our brothers. For example, we may help older or sick ones do their grocery shopping. We may help others with things that they need to do around the house. This shows that we are interested in them. (Philippians 2:4) We can tell our brothers how much we admire their abilities and their good qualities, such as love, courage, and faith.
16 One thing we can do to comfort the elderly is to visit them and listen as they tell us about their past experiences and blessings in Jehovah’s service. As a result, they may encourage and comfort us! We might read the Bible or our publications with those we visit. Maybe we could study with them the article in The Watchtower or the information for the Congregation Bible Study for the meeting that week. We might watch one of our DVDs with them. And we might read or tell some encouraging experiences from our publications.
17, 18. Why can we be sure that Jehovah will help and comfort his loyal servants?
17 If we know that a brother or sister needs comfort, we pray for them. (Romans 15:30; Colossians 4:12) When we suffer because of difficult situations, and also when we try to comfort others, we can have the same faith as David: “Throw your burden upon Jehovah himself, and he himself will sustain you. Never will he allow the righteous one to totter.” (Psalm 55:22) Jehovah will always comfort and help us. He will never disappoint his loyal servants.
18 God told his worshippers of the past: “I—I myself am the One that is comforting you people.” (Isaiah 51:12) Jehovah will do the same for us and will bless our efforts to comfort others. Whatever our hope is, each of us can be comforted by Paul’s words to anointed Christians of his time: “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and gave everlasting comfort and good hope by means of undeserved kindness, comfort your hearts and make you firm in every good deed and word.”—2 Thessalonians 2:16, 17.
SOME WORDS EXPLAINED
▪ Mourning ones: Those who are sad or depressed or who are suffering
▪ The issue of Jehovah’s sovereignty: The question of whether Jehovah has the right to rule
▪ Sympathy: Feeling sorry for those who suffer
DO YOU REMEMBER?
▪ How widespread is our preaching work?
▪ What are some things we can do to comfort others?
▪ How does the Bible show that Jehovah comforts his people?
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All followers of Jesus need to comfort those who suffer
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Jehovah’s Witnesses comfort many through the preaching work
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We get comfort at Christian meetings
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If you know of someone who needs comfort, pray for him
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Do you comfort mourning ones?
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Both young and old can encourage others