FRIDAY, MAY 15
SCRIPTURE: 2 THESSALONIANS 1
Author: Jeremy Witt
Notice that more than Paul communicating with this church, but those who have invested in the church previously while on Paul’s 2nd missionary journey. Encouragement is the key for the first four verses and in verse four, Paul and company merge into the persecution discussion. Paul speaks of their strength and endurance even though most of them did not feel strong or very enduring. Notice verse 5 here how Paul points out that God will use our suffering and/or persecution for His glory and purposes. Justice and making them worthy of the Kingdom of God are just two reasons Paul mentions here.
“Why?” is something that many of us ask while suffering or being persecuted. At times we may never know “why” and other times we may know, but knowing why still doesn’t make it any easier in most cases. Paul does something important in this beginning. He helps answers the “why” question, and he encourages them and tells them that he has been bragging on them to others. This is encouraging. This helps build hope and reaffirms that Paul and company care for them. He does this before he gets to the more difficult subjects that are coming. Paul also tells them that God is just and that He will deal with those who are causing the suffering and persecution. They are not being ignored. The other factor at hand is that Paul had been persecuted in Thessalonika himself. You can read that in Acts 17:5-9. He was something speaking from experience rather than someone who did not know how they felt.
One more thing in relation to verse 5. Many people think that suffering and persecution are a result of sin. It may be but it can also be a part of something bigger as Paul points out. To know that “this” is not your fault, but that God is going to use this to bring justice and make you better is reassuring, comforting, and strengthening. “It isn’t your fault” is a relief mentally and psychologically. It doesn’t make it any easier physically, but it will spiritually and mentally. It will help shut Satan and his little imps mouths in our minds!
Verses 7-10 have confused me for years. In verse 7, “coming” or “he will come” (paraousia-Greek) has a meaning designated for a ruler. It is the same meaning as Acts 1:11 when Jesus ascended. It will be in His presence as it once was, but also as in at the end of the age (Matt 24:3) in power and in glory (Matt 24:27) and when He destroys the Antichrist and evil (2 Thess 2:8). I had previously thought that this was the rapture, but based on this word and where it is used in other places, it appears to be when King Jesus is General Jesus. He is not the Lamb here, but He is the Lion and you do not want to be on the other side of Him. But holy cow, do I want to watch that from above or in the Holy Army with Him. It makes me think of the great movie moments like in Gladiator, The Patriot, or Braveheart.
With this in mind, verse 11 speaks louder. “Enable you to live a life worthy of His call” or “count you worthy of His calling” helps me to think more long term than my present circumstances. Verse 12 continues this line of thought as our aim should be so that “the name of the LORD Jesus will be honored because of the way that you live.” My prayer for myself is that this can be said of me. The highest honor we can achieve in this life is to hear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” I think Paul was trying to give hope but also to inspire the believers to “fight the good fight” as well as endure. It reminds me of that line in Braveheart that sends chills to my spine, “They may take our lives, but they will never take our freedom!” Let’s keep this in mind as we face suffering, persecution, and opposition. For Jesus and His Kingdom!!!!