First Coming, Second Coming #3: I’m doing all this for you
Welcome to the first letter to the Thessalonians! In this month in which we prepare to celebrate the first coming of Jesus to this earth, we focus on the theme of Jesus’s second coming in this letter from Paul.
Paul wrote this letter from Corinth to the believers in Thessalonica in around AD 51, making this probably his first letter that features in the New Testament. At the time, Thessalonica was a busy and important seaport city, the largest city in Macedonia and the capital of its province. Acts 17 documents Paul’s brief visit to Thessalonica and how he was hounded out of the city by some jealous Jews, who ‘formed a mob and started a riot in the city’. The new believers (some Jews but mainly Gentiles) in the city were left with little external support to deal with the pressure and persecution they were facing as followers of the Way. Paul therefore writes this letter to encourage the new converts in their trials and to give instruction concerning how to live as God intended. Paul teaches these believers about the second coming of Christ – and so teaches each one of us too!
CHALLENGE: to summarise 1 Thessalonians 2:17 – 3:5 in exactly 100 words!
We felt orphaned by being separated from you. Out of our intense longing, we made every effort to see you again. It just never worked out.
What is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the Jesus’ presence when he comes?
You. You are our glory and joy.
In the end, we sent Timothy to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, so that no one would be unsettled by our trials.
I needed to know you were holding firm in the faith. Otherwise, all we’ve been going through would have been for nothing.
Take some time to allow God to speak to you directly from the words you have read.
Invite God to speak to you individually.
Invite the Holy Spirit to open your ears, open your heart, open your mind.
Here I am waiting…come, Lord Jesus.
Read the words again. Which word or phrase stood out to you and stuck in your mind?
What is God saying to you?