“Keep proclaiming the death of the Lord, until he comes.”—1 COR. 11:26.
SONG 18 Grateful for the Ransom
1-2. (a) What does Jehovah see when millions gather for the Lord’s Evening Meal? (See cover picture.) (b) What will we discuss in this article?
IMAGINE what Jehovah sees when millions around the world gather for the Lord’s Evening Meal. He looks at more than just the large number of people; he notices each individual who is present. For instance, he sees those who faithfully come every year. Among them may be individuals who come despite facing severe persecution. Others do not come regularly to other meetings, but they view attending the Memorial as a solemn duty. Jehovah also notices those who may be at the Memorial for the first time, perhaps out of curiosity.
2 Certainly, Jehovah is pleased to see that so many attend the Memorial. (Luke 22:19) However, Jehovah is not primarily concerned with the number of people who come. He is more interested in the reason for their coming; motive matters to Jehovah. In this article, we will discuss a question of vital importance: Why do we attend not only the annual observance of the Memorial but also the weekly meetings that Jehovah provides for those who love him?
HUMILITY MOVES US TO ATTEND
3-4. (a) Why do we attend meetings? (b) What does our attendance at meetings say about us? (c) In view of what 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 states, why should we not miss the Memorial?
3 We attend congregation meetings primarily because they are part of our worship. We also attend because we are taught by Jehovah at meetings. Proud people reject the idea that they need to be taught anything. (3 John 9) By contrast, we are eager to be instructed by Jehovah and the organization that he is using.—Isa. 30:20; John 6:45.
4 Our attendance at meetings says that we are humble—ready and willing to be taught. On the night of the Memorial of Jesus’ death, we attend this important event not merely because we feel it is a duty but also because we humbly obey Jesus’ command: “Keep doing this in remembrance of me.” (Read 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.) That meeting strengthens our hope for the future and reminds us of just how much Jehovah loves us. However, Jehovah knows that we need to be encouraged and reassured more than just once a year. So he provides us with meetings each week and urges us to attend them. Humility moves us to obey. We spend a number of hours every week preparing for and attending those meetings.
5. Why do humble people respond to Jehovah’s invitation?
5 Each year, many humble people accept Jehovah’s invitation to be taught by him. (Isa. 50:4) They enjoy attending the Memorial, and they start to attend the other meetings. (Zech. 8:20-23) Together, we are delighted to be instructed and guided by Jehovah, “[our] helper and [our] rescuer.” (Ps. 40:17) Really, what could be more enjoyable—or more important—than accepting an invitation to be taught by Jehovah and by Jesus, the Son he loves so deeply?—Matt. 17:5; 18:20; 28:20.
6. How did humility help one man to attend the Memorial?
6 Each year, we make an effort to invite as many as possible to attend the Memorial of Jesus’ death. Many humble people have benefited by accepting our invitation. Consider an example. Several years ago, a man received a printed invitation to the Memorial, but he told the brother who handed it to him that he could not attend. However, on the night of the Memorial, the brother was surprised to see that same man walk into the Kingdom Hall. The man was so impressed by the welcome he received that he began attending our weekly meetings. In fact, he missed only three meetings during the entire following year. What helped him to respond in such a positive way? He was meek enough to change his mind. The brother who invited him later said, “He is a very humble man.” Jehovah undoubtedly drew this man to worship Him, and he is now a baptized brother.—2 Sam. 22:28; John 6:44.
7. How can what we learn at meetings and read in the Bible help us to be humble?
7 What we learn at meetings and what we read in the Bible can help us to be humble. In the weeks leading up to the Memorial, our meetings often focus on the example of Jesus and the humility he showed in giving his life as a ransom. And during the days before the Memorial, we are urged to read Bible accounts about the events surrounding Jesus’ death and resurrection. What we learn at such meetings and what we read in those Bible accounts deepen our gratitude for the sacrifice Jesus made for us. We are moved to imitate his humble attitude and to do Jehovah’s will, even when it is difficult for us.—Luke 22:41, 42.
COURAGE HELPS US TO ATTEND
8. How did Jesus show courage?
8 We also try to imitate Jesus in showing courage. Think about the courage he showed on the days before his death. He was fully aware that his enemies would soon humiliate, beat, and execute him. (Matt. 20:17-19) Still, he willingly faced death. When the time came, he said to his faithful apostles, who were with him in Gethsemane: “Get up, let us go. Look! My betrayer has drawn near.” (Matt. 26:36, 46) And when the armed mob came to arrest him, he stepped forward, identified himself, and ordered the soldiers to let his apostles go. (John 18:3-8) What outstanding courage Jesus displayed! Today, anointed Christians and those of the other sheep strive to imitate Jesus in showing courage. How?
9. (a) Why might we need courage to attend meetings regularly? (b) How can our example affect our brothers who are imprisoned for their faith?
9 To attend meetings regularly, we may need to demonstrate courage in the face of difficult circumstances. Some of our brothers and sisters attend meetings despite being burdened by grief, discouragement, or health problems. Others courageously attend meetings despite strong opposition from family members or governmental authorities. Think for a moment about how our example affects our brothers who are imprisoned for their faith. (Heb. 13:3) When they hear that we keep serving Jehovah in spite of our trials, they are strengthened to maintain their faith, courage, and integrity. The apostle Paul had a similar experience. When he was in prison in Rome, he rejoiced whenever he heard that his brothers were serving God faithfully. (Phil. 1:3-5, 12-14) Shortly before or just after his release, Paul wrote his letter to the Hebrews. In that letter he urged those faithful Christians to let their “brotherly love continue” and never to forsake meeting together.—Heb. 10:24, 25; 13:1.
10-11. (a) Whom should we invite to the Memorial? (b) What reason does Ephesians 1:7 give for doing so?
10 We show courage when we invite relatives, workmates, and neighbors to the Memorial. Why do we invite such ones? We are so grateful for what Jehovah and Jesus have done for us that we cannot hold back from inviting others to attend the Memorial. We want them to learn how they too can benefit from Jehovah’s “undeserved kindness” by means of the ransom.—Read Ephesians 1:7; Rev. 22:17.
11 When we show courage by meeting together, we also display another precious attribute, one that both God and his Son display in outstanding ways.
LOVE COMPELS US TO ATTEND
12. (a) How do our meetings deepen our love for Jehovah and Jesus? (b) What does 2 Corinthians 5:14, 15 encourage us to do in imitation of Jesus?
12 Our love for Jehovah and Jesus compels us to attend meetings. In turn, what we learn at the meetings deepens our love for Jehovah and his Son. At meetings we are regularly reminded of what they have done for us. (Rom. 5:8) The Memorial in particular reminds us of how deep their love is, even for those who do not yet appreciate the ransom. Filled with gratitude, we try to imitate Jesus by how we live each day. (Read 2 Corinthians 5:14, 15.) In addition, our heart stirs us to praise Jehovah for providing the ransom. One way we can praise him is by making heartfelt comments at our meetings.
13. How can we show the depth of our love for Jehovah and his Son? Explain.
13 We can show the depth of our love for Jehovah and his Son by being willing to make sacrifices for them. Often, we must make sacrifices of various kinds to attend our meetings. Many congregations hold one meeting at the end of a workday when we are most likely tired. And another meeting is held on the weekend when other people are resting. Does Jehovah notice that we attend our meetings even though we are tired? Certainly he does! In fact, the greater our struggle, the more Jehovah appreciates the love we show for him.—Mark 12:41-44.
14. How did Jesus set the pattern in showing self-sacrificing love?
14 Jesus set the pattern for us in showing self-sacrificing love. He was willing not only to die for his disciples but also to live each day in a way that put their interests ahead of his own. For instance, he met with his followers even when he was physically tired or emotionally distressed. (Luke 22:39-46) And he focused on what he could give to others, not on what he could get from them. (Matt. 20:28) When our love for Jehovah and for our brothers is that strong, we will do all we can to attend the Lord’s Evening Meal as well as all other congregation meetings.
15. Whom are we particularly interested in helping?
15 We belong to the only true Christian brotherhood, and we enjoy spending as much time as possible inviting new ones to join us. However, we are particularly interested in helping those who are “related to us in the faith” but who have become inactive. (Gal. 6:10) We prove our love for them by encouraging them to attend our meetings, especially the Memorial. Like Jehovah and Jesus, we are deeply moved when an inactive one returns to Jehovah, our loving Father and Shepherd.—Matt. 18:14.
16. (a) How can we encourage one another, and what will our meetings do for us? (b) Why is this a good time of year to remember Jesus’ words found at John 3:16?
16 In the coming weeks, invite as many as possible to attend the Memorial on Friday evening, April 19, 2019. (See the box “Will You Invite Them?”) Throughout the coming year, may we encourage one another by regularly attending all the meetings that Jehovah provides for us. As the end of this system draws near, we need our meetings to help us remain humble, courageous, and loving. (1 Thess. 5:8-11) With all our heart, let us show how we feel about Jehovah and his Son for loving us so much!—Read John 3:16.
SONG 126 Stay Awake, Stand Firm, Grow Mighty
^ par. 5 The Memorial of Christ’s death on Friday evening, April 19, 2019, will be the most important meeting of the entire year. What motivates us to attend that event? No doubt, we want to please Jehovah. In this article, we will consider what our attendance at the Memorial as well as at our weekly meetings says about us.
^ par. 52 PICTURE DESCRIPTIONS: A brother who is in prison for his faith is encouraged by a letter from home. Knowing that he is not forgotten, he is joyful over receiving the news that his family is also remaining faithful to Jehovah despite the civil unrest in their area.