True Gospel Hope
Thank You, Jesus, that You are coming back for me! Help me to be ready for Your return.
Read 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18
13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHave you known a friend to die in the faith? It’s truly bittersweet. Let this passage permeate your heart.
We have had 2,000 years of the experience of believers dying. But the Thessalonians simply didn’t know what to make of it. They were convinced that Jesus was coming back. Some got the wrong end of the stick and assumed he would return during their lifetimes. No wonder they were alarmed when friends died. Would they be missing out?
Paul uses a very natural, unthreatening analogy for what has happened: sleep (13). Have you noticed how impossible it is to judge passing time while you’re asleep? Well, for those who have died in the faith, it’s as if they’re asleep and their next waking moment is with Christ face to face (14). Whether we’re asleep or awake, if we have put our trust in Christ, we’re completely safe.
Far more important than arguing about the precise details of this cosmic event, however, is trusting that it will certainly happen. And the result will be glorious! “We will be with the Lord forever” (17). It’s not hard to be encouraged by that!
Did you spot the beautiful balance of grief and hope? Pain and joy are mixed. Above all, rejoice in Christ’s certain return.
Merciful Father, I pray for those who are in mourning and for those I know who live without hope, that they would find it.