My dad was a pastor, and on the first Sunday of each new year he preached about the return of Christ, often quoting from 1 Thessalonians 4. His point was always the same: “This could be the year that Jesus will return. Are you ready to meet Him?” I’ll never forget hearing that sermon at age 6, thinking, If that’s true, I’m not sure I will be among those He’s coming for.
I felt certain that my parents would be going to heaven, and I wanted to go too. So, when my dad came home after church, I asked how I could be sure. He opened the Bible, read some verses to me, and talked to me about my need for a Savior. It didn’t take much to convince me of my sins. That day, my dad led me to Christ. I will be forever grateful to him for planting these truths in my heart.
In an increasingly chaotic world, what a hopeful thought that this could be the year Jesus returns. More comforting still is the anticipation that all who trust Him for salvation will be gathered together, relieved from this world’s suffering, sorrow, and fear. Best of all, we’ll be with the Lord forever!
Lord, keep me always mindful of Your inevitable return. Thanks for the assurance that this world is not all we have but that a blessed eternity awaits all who trust in You.
Perhaps today! Dr. M. R. De Haan
Part of Paul’s purpose in writing to the Thessalonians was to answer questions they had apparently sent to him, perhaps through Timothy (1 Thess. 3:6). It is helpful to remember that during the first century Scripture was still being written, so followers of Christ had incomplete information about many topics. In this case, the concern is what happens to believers who die before the Lord’s return. Paul answers that believers who have died will be resurrected first (vv. 14–16). Then those who are still alive will be “caught up together with them” to meet Christ in the air (v. 17).