Encounter With the Risen Christ
1 Thessalonians 1:3-10
VS. 3 remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul forms his real experience of his encounter with the Risen Christ in Acts: 9 as he was talking to people of Thessalonica. Thessalonica was one of the wealthiest and most flourishing trade centers in the Roman Empire. Many pagan religions and cultural influences that challenged the faith of the young Christians existed there. The Thessalonian church stood firm when they were persecuted. Paul commended these young Christians for their work produced by faith, labor prompted by love, and endurance inspired by hope. These characteristics are the marks of effective Christians in any age. The true confrontation with risen Christ will change us and strengthens us to move forward to face challenges.
1) Faith is moving
The gospel came with “power”. Effect of that power will change a person and equip him to surrender before Christ. When we receive the power of the Holy Spirit, we are strengthened to believe Christ the son of God. Those convictions of power lead us in a deep experience and will help to move forward to face challenges. The Risen Christ is always with us to give new vision and hope. The Holy Spirit always gives assurance of risen Christ who is with us. Our responsibility is to proclaim the Risen Christ to the surroundings.
2) Faith is adventure
People may question our faith when we move along with other cultural and religious practices.
The answer is a model, a model of Christ, a model to other fellow believers and to other people. A blameless Christian life is always attractive and challenging. If we are a good example our faith in God, it will be known everywhere. Christ suffered and died on the cross for the salvation of the whole world. That adventurous journey towards the cross was not an end, but on the third day He was raised. The open tomb is the foundation of our adventurous journey. The risen Christ helps us to go through troubles and turmoil’s. Christian life always has trouble to prove we can walk the talk.
3) Faith should be tested and proven
Faith, love and hope go together. The test of faith will help to hold a firm hope, a hope in Christ to return from heaven. Through Christ we turn from sin to God. The second coming of Christ is to judge the earth and to gather His folk. Wherever the church is persecuted, they look forward the return of Christ. Believers hope is in the return of Christ, the great God and Savior.
"We wait for the blessed hope-the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior”. (Titus: 2:13) Our perspective on life remains incomplete without this hope. Acts: 1:11 says, “The same Jesus, who has been taken from you to heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven”. Let us have living hope and precious faith.
The loving heavenly father, we thank you for salvation through your son Jesus Christ. Help us to realize the risen Christ experience through the Holy Spirit so that we may lead a true Christian life and be a good example to others. Help us to face new challenges and move forward to do thy ministry for the extension of the kingdom of God. Amen
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
The true confrontation with risen Christ will change us and strengthens us to move forward to face challenges.
Rev. T.C. Mammen, Rtd, Long Island MTC, NY
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church