“Go, . . . and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them . . . , teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.”—MATTHEW 28:19, 20.
1, 2. What questions arise because of Jesus’ words found at Matthew 24:14?
JESUS foretold that in the last days, the good news of the Kingdom would be preached to all people. (Matthew 24:14) As Jehovah’s Witnesses, we are known worldwide for our preaching work. Some people like the message we preach, while others do not. But even some of those who do not like our message respect us for our work. We claim that we are the ones doing the work that Jesus foretold. Do we have the right to say that? How can we be sure that our preaching is the work that Jesus foretold?
2 Many religious groups claim that they are preaching Jesus’ message. But their preaching is limited to sermons at church, on television, or on the Internet, or they may simply tell others how they learned about Jesus. Others feel that helping people in need or doing charity work as doctors, nurses, or teachers is their way of preaching. But are these activities the preaching work that Jesus spoke about?
3. According to Matthew 28:19, 20, what four things must Jesus’ followers do?
3 Did Jesus want his disciples to wait for people to come to them? No! After his resurrection, Jesus told hundreds of his followers: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them . . . , teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19, 20) So as Jesus’ followers, we need to do four things. We must make disciples, baptize them, and teach them. But first, we must go to the people. One Bible scholar explains: “To ‘go’ is the task of each believer, whether across the street or across the ocean.”—Matthew 10:7; Luke 10:3.
4. What is involved in becoming “fishers of men”?
4 What did Jesus expect from his disciples? Did he want them to preach on their own, or did he want them to be organized as a group? Since it would be impossible for one person to preach to “all the nations,” his disciples would need to be organized as a group. That is what Jesus meant when he invited his disciples to become “fishers of men.” (Read Matthew 4:18-22.) Jesus was not referring to one fisherman using his own line and bait, waiting for fish to bite. Instead, the fishing Jesus referred to involves the use of fishing nets. That kind of fishing requires hard work, organization, and many people working together.—Luke 5:1-11.
5. What four questions need to be answered, and why?
5 To know who are preaching the good news today, we need to answer these four questions:
What message should Jesus’ followers preach?
What should their motive be?
What methods should they use?
What should be the scope of the work, and how long should it continue?
The answers to these questions will help us to identify who are doing this lifesaving work and will strengthen our desire to continue preaching.—1 Timothy 4:16.
WHAT SHOULD BE THE MESSAGE?
6. Why can you be confident that Jehovah’s Witnesses are preaching the right message?
6 Read Luke 4:43. Jesus preached “the good news of the Kingdom,” and he wants his disciples to do the same. Which group of people are preaching that message to all? Only Jehovah’s Witnesses! Even some who dislike us admit that. For example, notice what one missionary priest who had lived in many different countries told one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. In each country, the priest had asked Jehovah’s Witnesses what message they were preaching. The priest said, “They were all so stupid that they gave the same answer: ‘The good news of the Kingdom.’” The priest’s comment actually proves that we are not stupid but that we are united as true Christians. (1 Corinthians 1:10) God’s Kingdom is also the main message of The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. This magazine is available in 254 languages, and an average of nearly 59,000,000 copies of each issue are produced, which makes it the most widely circulated magazine in the world!
Jehovah’s Witnesses are the only ones preaching the good news of God’s Kingdom
7. How do we know that the clergy of Christendom are not preaching the right message?
7 The clergy of Christendom are not preaching about God’s Kingdom. If they do talk about the Kingdom, many of them say that it is a feeling in a person’s heart. (Luke 17:21) They do not teach people that the Kingdom is a heavenly government ruled by Jesus. Instead, they usually talk about Jesus at Christmas or Easter. They do not explain that the Kingdom will solve all mankind’s problems and that it will soon remove all wickedness from the earth. (Revelation 19:11-21) Clearly, Christendom’s leaders do not know what Jesus will do as King of God’s Kingdom. And because they do not understand Jesus’ message, they do not understand why they should preach.
WHAT SHOULD BE OUR MOTIVE FOR DOING THE WORK?
8. What is the wrong motive for doing the preaching work?
8 Jesus’ disciples should not preach to make money or to build impressive buildings. Jesus said: “You received free, give free.” (Matthew 10:8) So the preaching work should not be a business. (2 Corinthians 2:17, footnote) Jesus’ disciples should not ask to be paid for their preaching work. (Read Acts 20:33-35.) Even though Jesus’ instruction is very clear, most churches are distracted by collecting money in order to keep their churches and pay their clergy and other employees. As a result, many leaders of Christendom have become very rich.—Revelation 17:4, 5.
The preaching work should not be a business
9. How have Jehovah’s Witnesses shown that they engage in the preaching work with the right motive?
9 Do Jehovah’s Witnesses take collections at their Kingdom Halls or conventions? No! Their work is supported by voluntary donations. (2 Corinthians 9:7) Yet last year, Jehovah’s Witnesses spent almost two billion hours preaching the good news and conducted more than nine million Bible studies each month. They are not paid for their preaching but are happy to use their own money to do this work. One researcher said about the work of Jehovah’s Witnesses: “The main goal is preaching and teaching.” He also said that Jehovah’s Witnesses do not have a paid clergy. So if we do not preach for money, what is our motive? We willingly do this work because we love Jehovah and we love people. That attitude fulfills the prophecy at Psalm 110:3. (Read.)
WHAT METHODS SHOULD BE USED?
10. What methods did Jesus and his disciples use to preach?
10 What methods did Jesus and his disciples use to preach? They went wherever they could find people. For example, they preached in the streets and at markets. They also looked for people in private homes. (Matthew 10:11; Luke 8:1; Acts 5:42; 20:20) Preaching from house to house was an organized way to reach all kinds of people.
11, 12. When it comes to preaching the good news, how do the efforts of Christendom compare with those of Jehovah’s people?
11 Do churches of Christendom preach the good news as Jesus did? Usually, paid clergy give a sermon to their members. These leaders do not make new disciples but simply try to keep the church members they already have. At times, they have tried to encourage their members to preach. For example, in the year 2001, Pope John Paul II said in a letter that church members should preach the Gospel and have the same zeal as the apostle Paul, who said: “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel.” The pope then said that this preaching work should be done not only by a few trained people but by all church members. However, few have followed that encouragement.
12 What about Jehovah’s Witnesses? They are the only ones who preach that Jesus has been ruling as King since 1914. They obey Jesus and make the preaching work a priority in their life. (Mark 13:10) The book Pillars of Faith—American Congregations and Their Partners said that for Jehovah’s Witnesses, the preaching work is very important. It also said that when they find people who are hungry, lonely, and sick, they try to help, but they never forget that their main goal is to preach about the end of this world and to teach people about salvation. Jehovah’s Witnesses continue to preach that message and to imitate the preaching methods of Jesus and his disciples.
WHAT SHOULD BE THE SCOPE OF THE WORK, AND HOW LONG SHOULD IT CONTINUE?
13. What should be the scope of the preaching work?
13 Jesus said that his followers would preach and teach the good news “in all the inhabited earth.” They were commanded to make disciples of people of “all the nations.” (Matthew 24:14; 28:19, 20) This means that the good news would need to be preached worldwide.
14, 15. What proves that Jehovah’s Witnesses have fulfilled Jesus’ prophecy with regard to the scope of the work? (See opening pictures.)
14 Only Jehovah’s Witnesses have fulfilled Jesus’ prophecy that the good news would be preached worldwide. Why do we say that? In the United States, there are about 600,000 members of the clergy in Christendom, while there are some 1,200,000 of Jehovah’s Witnesses preaching the good news in that country. Worldwide, there are about 400,000 Catholic priests, but there are more than 8 million of Jehovah’s Witnesses preaching the good news in 240 lands. Clearly, Jehovah’s Witnesses are preaching the good news worldwide, which brings honor and praise to Jehovah!—Psalm 34:1; 51:15.
15 As Jehovah’s Witnesses, our goal is to preach the good news to as many people as possible before the end comes. To do this work, we have translated and published millions of books, magazines, tracts, and convention and Memorial invitations in more than 700 languages. We offer these to people free of charge. Just last year, we published about 4.5 billion pieces of Bible literature. We have also published more than 200 million copies of the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures in over 130 languages. On our official website, information is available in more than 750 languages. Only Jehovah’s Witnesses are doing such an amazing work.
16. How do we know that Jehovah’s Witnesses have God’s spirit?
16 How long would the preaching work continue? Jesus said that the good news would be preached until the end comes. As Jehovah’s Witnesses, we have been able to endure in the preaching work throughout the last days only because we have Jehovah’s holy spirit. (Acts 1:8; 1 Peter 4:14) Some religious people may say: “We have the holy spirit.” But are they able to do the work that Jehovah’s Witnesses are doing during these last days? Some groups have tried to preach the way we do, but they have failed. Others are willing to preach, but only for a limited time. Still others may preach from house to house, but they do not preach the good news of the Kingdom. So they cannot be doing the work that Jesus started.
WHO REALLY ARE PREACHING THE GOOD NEWS TODAY?
17, 18. (a) Why can we be certain that Jehovah’s Witnesses are the ones who are preaching the good news of the Kingdom today? (b) How is it possible for us to continue in this work?
17 So who are preaching the good news of the Kingdom today? Only Jehovah’s Witnesses! How do we know that? Because we are preaching the right message, the good news of the Kingdom. We are searching for people in our ministry, so we are using the right methods. We have the right motive for preaching, that is, we love Jehovah and we love people. Our preaching work has the greatest scope, because we preach to people of all nations and languages. And we will continue to preach the good news of the Kingdom until the end comes!
18 It is truly amazing to see the wonderful work that Jehovah’s people are doing to preach the good news during these last days. But how are we able to do all this work? The apostle Paul explains: “God is the one who for the sake of his good pleasure energizes you, giving you both the desire and the power to act.” (Philippians 2:13) May Jehovah continue to give us the needed strength so that we can do our best to keep preaching the good news!—2 Timothy 4:5.