December 15, 2016

Hope in Life and Death

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.

—  1 Thessalonians 4:17-18

In Advent we await Christ’s return. After he rose from the dead, Jesus ascended to heaven. As he did, his disciples were promised that he would come back again (Acts 1:11).

The first Christians had hope in the fact that even though life was hard and they were often persecuted for their faith, Jesus would return to the earth to make everything right.

As they waited through the years for Jesus to come again, some of their fellow Christians died. They wondered, “What about my loved ones who died before Jesus’ return? Will they be a part of the new life in Christ too?” They worried about their friends who had died before Jesus’ coming again.

In 1 Thessalonians, we are ­assured that Jesus’ second coming and his loving restoration of creation is both for those who are living and for those who have already died.

We do not know exactly what it will look like when Jesus comes again, but we have the assurance that all who are in Christ will be with him, ­whether they live or die. Christians “do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.” Instead, the second coming of Jesus gives us great hope that, ­whether we live or die, “we will be with the Lord forever.”

Do you have this hope?

Coming Lord, we await your return with great hope. Thank you for the assurance that all who are in Christ will be with you forever. Grant comfort and hopeful assurance to those who grieve. Amen.

About the author — Rebecca Jordan Heys

Rebecca Jordan Heys serves as a pastor at Calvin Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She and her husband, Kyle, are the parents of two children.

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