God’s Faithful Word of Encouragement
1 Thessalonians 2:1-16: When the Thessalonians listened to Paul’s teachings and began to follow Jesus, some in the community made trouble for him and his co-workers (see Acts 17:5). Paul describes the opposition he and his companions faced along with the persecution the Thessalonians suffered.
We encouraged you, we comforted you, and we kept urging you to live the kind of life that pleases God, who calls you to share in his own Kingdom and glory.
1Our friends, you yourselves know that our visit to you was not a failure.2 You know how we had already been mistreated and insulted in Philippi before we came to you in Thessalonica. And even though there was much opposition, our God gave us courage to tell you the Good News that comes from him.3Our appeal to you is not based on error or impure motives, nor do we try to trick anyone.4Instead, we always speak as God wants us to, because he has judged us worthy to be entrusted with the Good News. We do not try to please people, but to please God, who tests our motives.5You know very well that we did not come to you with flattering talk, nor did we use words to cover up greed—God is our witness!6We did not try to get praise from anyone, either from you or from others,7even though as apostles of Christ we could have made demands on you. But we were gentle when we were with you, like a mother taking care of her children.8Because of our love for you we were ready to share with you not only the Good News from God but even our own lives. You were so dear to us!9Surely you remember, our friends, how we worked and toiled! We worked day and night so that we would not be any trouble to you as we preached to you the Good News from God.
10You are our witnesses, and so is God, that our conduct toward you who believe was pure, right, and without fault.11You know that we treated each one of you just as parents treat their own children.12We encouraged you, we comforted you, and we kept urging you to live the kind of life that pleases God, who calls you to share in his own Kingdom and glory.
13And there is another reason why we always give thanks to God. When we brought you God's message, you heard it and accepted it, not as a message from human beings but as God's message, which indeed it is. For God is at work in you who believe.14 Our friends, the same things happened to you that happened to the churches of God in Judea, to the people there who belong to Christ Jesus. You suffered the same persecutions from your own people that they suffered from the Jews,15 who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and persecuted us. How displeasing they are to God! How hostile they are to everyone!16They even tried to stop us from preaching to the Gentiles the message that would bring them salvation. In this way they have brought to completion all the sins they have always committed. And now God's anger has at last come down on them!
How does Paul describe his ministry among the Thessalonians? What does today’s reading reveal about Paul’s relationship with the Thessalonians? Paul says that, despite opposition, God gave him and his companions the courage to share the Good News (verse 2). Have you ever encountered opposition when demonstrating your faith? If so, what were the circumstances? In what ways have you experienced receiving courage from God?
Almighty God, you have called me to share in your Kingdom and glory. Teach me to live my life in a way that is pleasing to you. Empower me with your Holy Spirit and with courage to share the Good News of your love and salvation. Amen.
Those facing hostility for preaching about Jesus
1 Thessalonians 2:17—3:13: Paul sends Timothy to meet with the Thessalonians.