Sharing One Another’s Pain

KEY VERSE: “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” —II Corinthians 1:3,4

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: II Corinthians 1:3-14

IN THIS LETTER to the brethren in the church at Corinth, the Apostle Paul confessed how much their prayers had helped him to endure the afflictions which attended him on his ministry in Asia. He recognized that they had been used by ‘the God of all comfort’ as his ministers of consolation. Other Scriptures inform us that giving comfort is a commission incumbent upon all of those who have received the Holy Spirit.

A prophecy bearing on this point in the Book of Isaiah reads: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he bath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the Day of Vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn.” (Isa. 61:1,2) Jesus applied this prophecy to his own ministry as it was directed by the Holy Spirit of God. And likewise it applies to all who share in his ministry.

Isaiah 61:3 mentions an aspect of service commissioned by the Holy Spirit as the comforting of those in Zion who mourn, “that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.” ‘Zion’ is one of the symbolic names which the Scriptures give to the spiritual phase of Christ’s kingdom, and it often applies to the Lord’s people who are now being prepared for the kingdom. These are the Zion class. The way of sacrifice in which they walk is a narrow, difficult one. Many, at times, become temporarily discouraged, and need to be comforted; and everyone in the body is commissioned by the Holy Spirit to watch for those who need special help, and to give them all the assistance possible.

We find examples of this in the New Testament. In Galatians 6:9 we read, “Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Hebrews 12:3 says, “Consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” And then we have that timely admonition by James, an ‘anointing’ text, admonishing us to comfort those in Zion who mourn: “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick [Greek, ‘wearied’], and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.”—James 5:14,15

James says that the Lord shall ‘raise him up’. Isaiah states that those who are given the ‘oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness’, shall be called ‘trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord’. In other words, we are commissioned to do all we can to assist those who mourn, who are weary in well-doing, or in any way are spiritually sick. And where the heart is right the Lord will give strength so that the ‘lame’ will not be turned out of the way but will remain ‘the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified’.

The Lord assures his people of his help and comfort during this time when they are being prepared for kingdom glory. No wonder the apostle said that the ‘oil’ which anointed Jesus to his high position in the kingdom was the “oil of gladness”! (Heb. 1:9) Since we share in the same anointing, it will be gladness for us also—joy unspeakable—as we participate with our Lord in wiping tears from the faces of all who mourn, by destroying the cause of their mourning, that is, by destroying sin and death, and all the evils which, throughout the ages, have continued to plague a sin-sick and dying race. What a comfort we find in this glorious prospect!

Dawn Bible Students Association
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