“Bringing Good News of Something Better”
“How comely upon the mountains are the feet of the one . . . bringing good news of something better.”—ISAIAH 52:7.
1, 2. (a) What dreadful things are happening every day? (b) How do many people react to hearing bad news constantly?
TODAY people the world over feel that they are drowning in bad news. They turn on the radio and hear frightening reports about deadly diseases stalking the earth. They watch the news on television and see haunting images of starving children crying for help. They pick up a newspaper and read about bomb blasts that rip through buildings, killing scores of innocent people.
2 Yes, dreadful things are happening every day. The scene of this world is definitely changing—for the worse. (1 Corinthians 7:31) A newsmagazine in Western Europe noted that at times it seems as though the entire world were “about to go up in flames.” No wonder that a growing number of people are distressed! One person who was quoted in a survey about television news in the United States no doubt echoed the feelings of millions when he said: ‘After I watch the news, I’m thoroughly depressed. It’s all bad news. It’s overwhelming.’
News That Everyone Needs to Hear
3. (a) What good news does the Bible proclaim? (b) Why do you value the good news of the Kingdom?
3 In such a gloomy world, can better news be found? Indeed it can! It is comforting to know that the Bible proclaims good news. It is the news that sickness, hunger, crime, war, and all sorts of oppression will be brought to an end by God’s Kingdom. (Psalm 46:9; 72:12) Is that not news that everyone needs to hear? Jehovah’s Witnesses certainly think so. Therefore, they are known everywhere for their ongoing effort to share the good news of God’s Kingdom with people of all nations.—Matthew 24:14.
4. Which aspects of our ministry will we consider in this and the following article?
4 What, though, can we do in order to continue to have a satisfying and meaningful share in the preaching of this good news—even in less responsive territories? (Luke 8:15) A brief review of three important aspects of our preaching work will no doubt help. We can examine (1) our motives, or why we preach; (2) our message, or what we preach; and (3) our methods, or how we preach. By keeping our motives pure, our message clear, and our methods effective, we will give to a wide range of people the opportunity to hear the best of good news—the good news of God’s Kingdom. *
Why We Share in Preaching the Good News
5. (a) Above all, what motivates us to share in the ministry? (b) Why can it be said that our obedience to the Biblical command to preach is an expression of love for God?
5 Let us consider the first aspect—our motives. Why do we preach the good news? For the same reason Jesus did. He said: “I love the Father.” (John 14:31; Psalm 40:8) Above all, we are motivated by our love for God. (Matthew 22:37, 38) The Bible makes a connection between love for God and the ministry, for it states: “This is what the love of God means, that we observe his commandments.” (1 John 5:3; John 14:21) Do God’s commandments include the one to ‘go and make disciples’? (Matthew 28:19) Yes. True, those words were spoken by Jesus, but ultimately they originated with Jehovah. How so? Jesus explained: “I do nothing of my own initiative; but just as the Father taught me I speak these things.” (John 8:28; Matthew 17:5) Hence, by observing the command to preach, we show Jehovah that we love him.
6. In what ways does love for God motivate us to preach?
6 In addition, love for Jehovah motivates us to preach because we want to counteract the lies that Satan is promoting against him. (2 Corinthians 4:4) Satan has brought into question the righteousness of God’s rule. (Genesis 3:1-5) As Jehovah’s Witnesses, we yearn to share in exposing Satan’s slanders and in sanctifying God’s name before mankind. (Isaiah 43:10-12) Moreover, we share in the ministry because we have come to know Jehovah’s qualities and ways. We feel close to him and feel a strong desire to tell others about our God. In fact, Jehovah’s goodness and his righteous ways bring us such joy that we cannot stop talking about him. (Psalm 145:7-12) We feel impelled to tell forth his praise and speak about his “excellencies” to those who will listen.—1 Peter 2:9; Isaiah 43:21.
7. Besides love for God, for what other important reason do we share in the preaching work?
7 There is another important reason for continuing to share in the ministry: We sincerely want to bring relief to individuals who are overwhelmed by the relentless onslaught of bad news and to those who suffer for one reason or another. In this, we strive to imitate Jesus. Look, for example, at what is described in Mark chapter 6.
8. What does the account in Mark chapter 6 show about Jesus’ feelings for people?
8 The apostles return from a preaching campaign and relate to Jesus all that they have done and taught. Jesus notices that the apostles are tired, and he tells them to come with him to “rest up a bit.” So they get into a boat and travel to a quiet place. People follow them, running along the shoreline, and soon catch up with them. What does Jesus do? “He saw a great crowd,” the record says, “but he was moved with pity for them, because they were as sheep without a shepherd. And he started to teach them many things.” (Mark 6:31-34) Pity moves Jesus to continue sharing the good news in spite of his tiredness. Clearly, Jesus’ heart goes out to these people. He feels compassion for them.
9. What do we learn from the account in Mark chapter 6 regarding the right motive for preaching?
9 What do we learn from this account? As Christians, we feel an obligation to preach the good news and to make disciples. We recognize our responsibility to declare the good news, since it is God’s will that “all sorts of men should be saved.” (1 Timothy 2:4) However, we perform our ministry not only out of a sense of duty but also out of compassion. If we feel deeply for people as Jesus did, our heart will move us to do all we can to continue sharing the good news with them. (Matthew 22:39) Having such fine motives for engaging in the ministry will move us to preach the good news without letup.
Our Message—The Good News of God’s Kingdom
10, 11. (a) How does Isaiah describe the message that we preach? (b) How did Jesus bring good news of something better, and how have God’s servants in modern times followed Jesus’ example?
10 What of the second aspect of our ministry—our message? What do we preach? The prophet Isaiah gave this beautiful description of the message we publish: “How comely upon the mountains are the feet of the one bringing good news, the one publishing peace, the one bringing good news of something better, the one publishing salvation, the one saying to Zion: ‘Your God has become king!’”—Isaiah 52:7.
11 The key expression in that scripture, “your God has become king,” reminds us of the message that we must proclaim, namely, the good news of God’s Kingdom. (Mark 13:10) Note, too, that this verse reveals the positive tenor of our message. Isaiah uses such terms as “salvation,” “good news,” “peace,” and “something better.” Centuries after Isaiah, in the first century C.E., Jesus Christ fulfilled this prophecy in an outstanding way by setting a zealous example in publishing news of something better—the coming Kingdom of God. (Luke 4:43) In modern times, especially since 1919, Jehovah’s Witnesses have followed Jesus’ example by zealously proclaiming the good news of God’s established Kingdom and the blessings it will bring.
12. What effect does the Kingdom good news have on those who accept it?
12 What effect does the Kingdom good news have on those who respond to it? Today as in Jesus’ day, the good news gives hope and comfort. (Romans 12:12; 15:4) It gives honesthearted ones hope because they learn that there are solid reasons for believing that better times are ahead. (Matthew 6:9, 10; 2 Peter 3:13) Such hope greatly helps God-fearing ones to maintain a positive outlook. The psalmist states that they “will not be afraid even of bad news.”—Psalm 112:1, 7.
A Message That Will “Bind Up the Brokenhearted”
13. How does the prophet Isaiah describe the immediate blessings that come to those who accept the good news?
13 In addition, the good news we preach brings immediate relief and blessings to those who listen to it. How? Some of the blessings were indicated by the prophet Isaiah when he foretold: “The spirit of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah is upon me, for the reason that Jehovah has anointed me to tell good news to the meek ones. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to those taken captive and the wide opening of the eyes even to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of goodwill on the part of Jehovah and the day of vengeance on the part of our God; to comfort all the mourning ones.”—Isaiah 61:1, 2; Luke 4:16-21.
14. (a) What does the expression “bind up the brokenhearted” indicate about the Kingdom message? (b) How do we reflect Jehovah’s concern for brokenhearted ones?
14 According to that prophecy, by preaching the good news, Jesus would “bind up the brokenhearted.” What a telling word picture Isaiah used! According to one Bible dictionary, the Hebrew word translated “bind up” “is often used of ‘binding’ on a bandage, and thus of medicating and healing the wounded.” A caring nurse may wrap a bandage or a compress around a victim’s injured body part to give it support. In the same way, when preaching the Kingdom message, caring publishers give support to all responsive ones who are suffering in some way. And by supporting those in need, they reflect Jehovah’s concern. (Ezekiel 34:15, 16) The psalmist states concerning God: “He is healing the brokenhearted ones, and is binding up their painful spots.”—Psalm 147:3.
How the Kingdom Message Makes a Difference
15, 16. What real-life examples illustrate how the Kingdom message gives support and strength to those in need?
15 Numerous real-life examples illustrate how the Kingdom message does indeed support and strengthen those who are brokenhearted. Consider Oreanna, an elderly woman in South America, who had given up on life. A Witness of Jehovah began visiting Oreanna and reading to her the Bible and the publication My Book of Bible Stories. * At first, the depressed woman listened to the reading while lying in bed with her eyes closed, from time to time heaving sighs. Before long, though, she began to make an effort to sit up in her bed during the reading. Some time later, she was sitting in a chair in the living room, waiting for her Bible teacher to come. Next, the woman began attending Christian meetings at the Kingdom Hall. Encouraged by what she learned at those gatherings, she began to offer Bible literature to anyone passing by her house. Then, at age 93, Oreanna was baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Kingdom message had renewed her desire to live.—Proverbs 15:30; 16:24.
16 The Kingdom message gives crucial support even to those who know that their life is about to be cut short by illness. Take as an example Maria from Western Europe. She was suffering from a terminal disease and had lost all hope. She was deeply depressed when she was contacted by Jehovah’s Witnesses. However, when she learned about God’s purposes, her life became meaningful again. She was baptized and became very active in the preaching work. During the final two years of her life, her eyes radiated hope and joy. Maria died with a firm hope in the resurrection.—Romans 8:38, 39.
17. (a) How is the Kingdom message making a difference in the lives of those who accept it? (b) In what ways have you personally experienced that Jehovah is “raising up all who are bowed down”?
17 Such reports testify to the difference the Kingdom message can make in the lives of ones who long for Bible truths. Individuals who mourn the death of a loved one gain new strength when they learn about the resurrection hope. (1 Thessalonians 4:13) People who live in poverty and struggle to feed their family find new dignity and courage when they learn that Jehovah will never forsake them if they are loyal to him. (Psalm 37:28) With Jehovah’s help, many who are overwhelmed by depression gradually develop the strength needed to cope and in some cases are even enabled to overcome that illness. (Psalm 40:1, 2) Indeed, by means of the power supplied through his Word, Jehovah is right now “raising up all who are bowed down.” (Psalm 145:14) By observing how the Kingdom good news brings comfort to brokenhearted ones in our territory and in the Christian congregation, we are time and again reminded that we have the best news available today!—Psalm 51:17.
“My Supplication to God for Them”
18. How was Paul affected by the Jews’ rejection of the good news, and why?
18 Although our message contains the best news, many reject it. How might this affect us? In the same way that it did the apostle Paul. He often preached to Jews, but most of them rejected the message of salvation. Their refusal affected Paul deeply. He admitted: “I have great grief and unceasing pain in my heart.” (Romans 9:2) Paul felt compassion for the Jews to whom he preached. It saddened him that they rejected the good news.
19. (a) Why is it understandable that we may feel discouraged at times? (b) What helped Paul to continue in his preaching work?
19 We too preach the good news out of compassion. Hence, it is understandable that we may feel discouraged when many people reject the Kingdom message. Such a reaction shows that we have genuine concern for the spiritual welfare of those to whom we preach. However, we do well to remember the example of the apostle Paul. What helped him to continue in his preaching work? Although the Jews’ refusal to accept the good news caused him grief and pain, Paul did not give up on all Jews, thinking that they were beyond help. His hope was that there were still some who would accept Christ. Hence, concerning his feelings toward individual Jews, Paul wrote: “The goodwill of my heart and my supplication to God for them are, indeed, for their salvation.”—Romans 10:1.
20, 21. (a) Regarding our ministry, how can we follow Paul’s example? (b) What aspect of our ministry will be considered in the following article?
20 Notice the two things that Paul highlighted. It was his heart’s desire that some individuals would find salvation, and he supplicated God to that end. Today, we follow Paul’s example. We maintain a heartfelt desire to locate any who might still be rightly disposed toward the good news. We keep on praying to Jehovah that we may find such individuals so that we may help them to follow the course that will lead to their salvation.—Proverbs 11:30; Ezekiel 33:11; John 6:44.
21 However, to reach as many individuals as possible with the Kingdom message, we need to pay attention not only to why and what we preach but also to how we preach. This subject will be considered in the following article.
^ par. 4 This article will consider the first two aspects. The second article will consider the third.
^ par. 15 Published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
What Have You Learned?
• For what reasons do we share in the ministry?
• What is the main message that we preach?
• What blessings are experienced by those who accept the Kingdom message?
• What will help us to continue in our ministry?
[Pictures on page 18]
The Kingdom message gives strength to the brokenhearted
[Pictures on page 20]
Prayer helps us to endure in our ministry