Model Suffering

1 Thess. 2:13-3:13

Paul’s affectionate, fatherly relationship to the church of Thessalonica is evident from the manner in which this letter was written. Timothy’s visit to the church and his encouraging news on his return occasioned the writing of the letter. It brought gratitude, thanksgiving and joy to Paul. There is so little of this kind of joy today. Why is it like that? Usually things, careers, relationships bring us joy but the joy of seeing the gospel take root in people and then seeing them grow in it is something that is alien to us today.

Christians walked away from church and their faith in the first century just as much as they do in the 21st century. Abandoning one’s faith and faith community was the order of the day. But this church in Thessalonica showed signs of growth despite severe persecution and suffering. Paul’s work for the gospel was not in vain. The church did well even in his absence. The gospel never goes unopposed in this world. There is both human and spiritual opposition that pushes against those who believe. A life of faith is always a contested life of faith. It is the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ that offers solace and the power of perseverance in times of opposition.

Hear more this Sunday (15 September 2019) in the New Church at 12:30. 

Szaszi Bene