2 Thessalonians 1
When I was 5 years old we lived in Moses Lake on Stratford road. My mom told me that my grandparents were coming to visit. I spent the morning straining my eyes, watching the road from the south, the direction my family always came from when driving to my house. I gave up watching at some point but I wouldn’t have seen them because they came from the north. I was overjoyed to see them but I remember being perturbed because they surprised me by coming from the other direction.
The people of Thessalonica were watching and waiting. Watching and waiting for Jesus to come back for them. Some had sold everything and basically sat down by the road to wait. This letter from Paul is to encourage them to continue to wait, but to stay busy until he comes. The first chapter sounds harsh but may have been intended to re-energize the waiters to get busy and share Jesus because eternity is hell for those who don’t accept him as savior.
“God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might 10 on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.”
I saw an interview with the magician Penn Jillette who although did not accept Jesus yet, talked about an encounter with a christian who was praying for him. Penn reprimanded all Christians because if we believe God is sending to hell all those who don’t believe, then we should be better at telling the world. Otherwise it shows that we don’t really care if the world burns in hell. We have our salvation, too bad for the rest of you.
So what am I to do? What are we to do?
“With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. 12 We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”