Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Scripture 1ST Thessalonians 4:13-18
Key Bible Verse Text
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. 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.” – (1ST Thessalonians 4: 16-17)
In he book of 1st Thessalonians, the apostle Paul writes a letter to a community of believers in Thessalonica, offering them encouragement and guidance in their faith journey. In chapter 4, verses 13-18, Paul addresses a specific concern of the Thessalonian Christians, the fate of their fellow believers who had died before the return of Christ. Through these verses, Paul provides comfort and hope to the grieving and reminds them of the glorious promise of Christ's return. Paul begins by emphasizing that he does not want the Thessalonians to be uninformed. He understands their grief over the loss of their loved ones and wants to provide them with knowledge and understanding. In times of sorrow and confusion, knowledge can be a source of comfort. Ignorance often leads to despair, but understanding God's plan can bring hope even in the midst of grief.
This passage is often referred to as the "rapture," and vividly describes the return of Christ. The dead in Christ will rise first, and then those who are alive will be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air. Paul refers to those who have died in Christ as being "asleep." Just as sleep is not the end of our day but a transition to a new one, death is not the end for Christians but a transition to eternal life with Christ. Paul goes on to explain that when the Lord returns, those who are still alive at that time will not precede those who have died in Christ. There is a divine order to the resurrection, and all believers will be partakers in the glorious event when Christ returns. Paul draws a parallel between the death and resurrection of Jesus and the future resurrection of believers. Belief in Christ's resurrection is at the heart of the Christian faith. Just as Jesus conquered death, so will those who have died in faith be raised with Him. This truth provides believers with a profound hope that transcends the pain of loss. The promise of Christ's return and the resurrection of the dead provide a powerful source of encouragement in the face of grief and uncertainty. As Christians, we are called to comfort and support one another with the hope we find in God's Word.
Heavenly Father, may we prepare our hearts and souls to be ready for that special day when the trumpet sounds and we enter into Your Holy Presence. Help us to understand that our grief is never without purpose and allow us to be a people of hope in a hopeless world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Thought for the Day
As believers, we have a hope that transcends the trials and tribulations of this world. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of our faith, and it assures us of our own future resurrection and eternal life with Him. In times of grief and uncertainty, let us hold on to this hope and encourage one another with the promise of the glorious coming of our Lord.
The Staten Island Mar Thoma Church