“Comfort All the Mourning Ones”
“Jehovah has anointed me . . . to comfort all the mourning ones.”—ISA. 61:1, 2.
1. What did Jesus do for mourning ones, and 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) In carrying out his God-given assignment, Jesus reflected his Father’s magnificent qualities. Among these is Jehovah’s great love for people. (1 John 4:7-10) The apostle Paul noted one manifestation of that love when he described Jehovah as “the God of all comfort.” (2 Cor. 1:3) Jesus demonstrated such love when he did what was foretold in Isaiah’s prophecy. (Read Isaiah 61:1, 2.) Jesus read from that prophecy in the synagogue at Nazareth and applied its words to himself. (Luke 4:16-21) During his entire ministry, Jesus lovingly comforted mourning ones, bringing them encouragement and peace of mind.
2, 3. Why do Christ’s followers need to imitate him in giving comfort?
2 All followers of Jesus need to imitate him by comforting those who mourn. (1 Cor. 11:1) Paul said: “Keep comforting one another and building one another up.” (1 Thess. 5: 11) Especially do we need to comfort others, since mankind now faces “critical times hard to deal with.” (2 Tim. 3:1) More and more, honesthearted people throughout the world are being confronted by some whose words and actions cause grief, heartache, and sadness.
3 As Bible prophecy foretold, 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.” Such attitudes are now worse than ever, for ‘wicked men and impostors have advanced from bad to worse.’—2 Tim. 3:2-4, 13.
4. What has happened to world conditions in our time?
4 All of this should not surprise us, since God’s Word makes it clear that “the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.” (1 John 5:19) “The whole world” includes political, religious, and commercial elements, as well as propaganda channels. Without question, Satan the Devil is properly called “the ruler of the world” and “the god of this system of things.” (John 14:30; 2 Cor. 4:4) Conditions throughout the earth continue to deteriorate because Satan now has great anger, knowing he has only a short period of time left before Jehovah takes him out of the way. (Rev. 12:12) How comforting it is to know that God’s toleration of Satan and his evil system will soon end, and the issue Satan raised regarding Jehovah’s sovereignty will be settled!—Gen., chap. 3; Job, chap. 2.
The Good News Is Being Preached Earth Wide
5. How is the prophecy about the preaching work being fulfilled in these last days?
5 During this difficult period of human history, what Jesus foretold is being fulfilled. He said: “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.” (Matt. 24:14) This earth-wide witness work regarding God’s Kingdom is being done on an ever-increasing scale. Today, over 7,500,000 Witnesses of Jehovah, associated with more than 107,000 congregations throughout the earth, are preaching about God’s Kingdom, even as Jesus made it the theme of his preaching and teaching. (Matt. 4:17) As a result of our present-day preaching work, great comfort is being given to mourning ones. Why, in two recent years, a total of 570,601 individuals were baptized as Jehovah’s Witnesses!
6. What do you think about the scope of our preaching activity?
6 The great scope of this preaching work can best be appreciated by noting that Jehovah’s Witnesses now translate and distribute Bible literature in over 500 languages. Nothing like this has ever been seen in all human history! The existence, work, and growth of the earthly part of Jehovah’s organization are truly extraordinary. Without the direction and help of God’s powerful holy spirit, it would be impossible for such a thing to take place in this world that is under Satan’s control. Because the good news is being preached throughout the inhabited earth, comfort from the Scriptures is now being enjoyed not only by our fellow believers but also by mourning ones who accept the Kingdom message.
Comforting Fellow Worshippers
7. (a) Why can we not expect Jehovah to remove all distressing situations now? (b) How do we know that it is possible for us to endure persecution and tribulation?
7 In this world full of wickedness and suffering, we are sure to encounter some situations that cause distress. We cannot expect God to remove all sources of unhappiness or grief until he destroys this system of things. Meanwhile, as we face foretold persecution, our integrity to Jehovah is at stake as supporters of his universal sovereignty. (2 Tim. 3:12) Helped and comforted by our heavenly Father, however, we can be like anointed Christians of ancient Thessalonica, who bore persecutions and tribulations with endurance and faith.—Read 2 Thessalonians 1:3-5.
8. What Scriptural evidence is there that Jehovah comforts his servants?
8 There is no doubt that Jehovah provides needed comfort for his servants. For instance, when the prophet Elijah’s life was threatened by wicked Queen Jezebel, that prophet lost courage and fled, even saying that he wanted to die. But instead of rebuking Elijah, Jehovah comforted him and gave him the courage to carry out his work as a prophet. (1 Ki. 19:1-21) That Jehovah comforts his people can also be seen in the experience of the first-century Christian congregation. For instance, we read of a period when “the congregation throughout the whole of Judea and Galilee and Samaria entered into a period of peace, being built up.” Moreover, “as it walked in the fear of Jehovah and in the comfort of the holy spirit it kept on multiplying.” (Acts 9:31) How grateful we are that we too have “the comfort of the holy spirit”!
9. Why can learning about Jesus be comforting to us?
9 As Christians, we have been comforted by learning about Jesus Christ and by walking in his footsteps. 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.” (Matt. 11:28-30) Learning about Jesus’ upbuilding way of treating people and then following his positive example is in itself a great help in relieving the stress that we may experience.
10, 11. In the congregation, who may be able to give comfort?
10 We can also be comforted by fellow Christians. For example, consider how the elders in the congregation help those facing distressing situations. The disciple James wrote: “Is there anyone [spiritually] sick among you? Let him call the older men of the congregation to him, and let them pray over him.” With what result? “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.” (Jas. 5:14, 15) Other members of the congregation can provide comfort as well.
11 Women often find it easier to talk to other women about various problems. Especially can older, more experienced sisters give much fine advice to younger sisters. These older, mature Christian women may already have gone through similar situations in their lives. Their sympathy and feminine qualities can be of much help. (Read Titus 2:3-5.) Of course, elders and others can and should “speak consolingly to the depressed souls” among us. (1 Thess. 5:14, 15) And it is good to bear in mind that God “comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those in any sort of tribulation.”—2 Cor. 1:4.
12. Why is it vital that we attend Christian meetings?
12 A very important means of being comforted is to be present at Christian meetings, where Bible discussions encourage 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 upbuilding conversation between members of the congregation. So even if we are suffering because of some distressing situation, let us not isolate ourselves, for doing so will not improve matters. (Prov. 18:1) Instead, we do well to follow the apostle Paul’s inspired counsel: “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.”—Heb. 10:24, 25.
Draw Comfort From God’s Word
13, 14. Show how the Scriptures can comfort us.
13 Whether we are baptized Christians or are individuals just beginning to learn about God and his purposes, we can find great comfort in the written Word of God. 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.” (Rom. 15:4) The Holy Scriptures can comfort us and make us “fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim. 3:16, 17) Knowing the truth about God’s purposes and having a genuine hope for the future will certainly provide great comfort. Let us, therefore, make full use of God’s Word and Bible-based publications that can comfort us and benefit us in many ways.
14 Jesus set us a fine example by using the Scriptures to instruct and comfort others. During one of his postresurrection appearances, for instance, he ‘fully opened up the Scriptures’ to two of his disciples. As he spoke to them, their hearts were deeply touched. (Luke 24:32) In keeping with Jesus’ excellent example, the apostle Paul ‘reasoned from the Scriptures.’ In Beroea, his listeners “received the word with the greatest eagerness of mind, carefully examining the Scriptures daily.” (Acts 17:2, 10, 11) How appropriate it is that we read the Bible daily, benefiting from it and from Christian publications designed to bring us comfort and hope in these troublesome times!
Additional Ways to Comfort Others
15, 16. What are some things we can do to help and comfort fellow Christians?
15 We can help and thus comfort fellow Christians in various practical ways. For instance, we might do some grocery shopping for elderly or sick fellow believers. We might help others with their chores, thus showing personal interest in them. (Phil. 2:4) Perhaps we can compliment fellow worshippers on their good qualities, such as their love, resourcefulness, courage, and faith.
16 In an effort to comfort the elderly, we can visit them and listen carefully to what they tell us about their past experiences and obvious blessings in Jehovah’s service. Why, this may actually encourage and comfort us! We might read the Bible or our Bible-based publications with those we visit. Perhaps we could consider the current article for the weekly Watchtower Study or the material that will be covered during the Congregation Bible Study for the week. We might join them in watching a DVD on a Scriptural theme. Then, too, we might read or relate some encouraging experiences found in our publications.
17, 18. As Jehovah’s loyal servants, why can we be sure that he will support and comfort us?
17 If we notice that a fellow worshipper of Jehovah is in need of comfort, we can mention him or her in our private prayers. (Rom. 15:30; Col. 4:12) As we personally cope with life’s problems and diligently seek to comfort others, we can have the same faith and conviction as did the psalmist who sang: “Throw your burden upon Jehovah himself, and he himself will sustain you. Never will he allow the righteous one to totter.” (Ps. 55:22) Indeed, Jehovah will always be there to comfort and support us as his loyal servants.
18 God told his worshippers of ancient times: “I—I myself am the One that is comforting you people.” (Isa. 51:12) Jehovah will do the same for us and will bless our good deeds and words as we comfort mourning ones. Whether our hope is heavenly or earthly, each of us can be comforted by Paul’s words to his spirit-anointed fellow Christians: “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 Thess. 2:16, 17.
Do You Recall?
• How widespread is our work of comforting mourning ones?
• What are some things we can do to comfort others?
• What Scriptural proof is there that Jehovah comforts his people?
[Picture on page 28]
Do you share in comforting mourning ones?
[Picture on page 30]
Both young and old can be encouraging