Friday 11 December 2020

Bible Book:
2 Thessalonians

So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by our letter. (v. 15)

2 Thessalonians 2: 1-3a, 13-17 Friday 11 December 2020

Psalm 37:30-40


You might have received an email supposedly from your minister or a friend or colleague, asking for financial help, when the truth is that someone has ‘hacked’ into their account and is pretending to be them. If you are familiar with how the person you know normally communicates, it can be easy to spot a fraud, but sometimes it might be hard. Don’t fall for it! Why not phone the person to check? I have often told people in my churches: “I would never write to you imploring you for money, so if you get such an email please assume it’s not me!”

But deceiving people is not new. Paul essentially says in verses 1-3 of his letter to the Thessalonians: “You might hear from others pretending to be me, telling you the day of the Lord has arrived, but don’t fall for it!”

The ‘day of the Lord’ is a term used in the Old Testament to describe various catastrophes through which God’s people might see justice being restored. In the strange passage of verses 3-12, Paul seems to be saying that he sees such a day being preceded by a typical pattern: powerful men weaving lies to elevate themselves to seemingly ultimate power, and then being brought crashing down again. He may be referring to Roman emperors such as Caligula, or imagining a similar character emerging in the future.

The truth is Paul would never write to the Thessalonians to say the ‘day of the Lord’ is here, because the ‘day’ they are waiting for (when Christ returns) would be so gloriously obvious. Also, he is not in the habit of writing letters to alarm or shake their spirits, but rather to build them up, instruct and encourage. They should recognise and trust in his style of ministry among them (and be cautious if anything very different comes along).

Paul’s encouragement continues in verses 13-17, when he gives thanks for them. He is so pleased to have seen God working among them, building up their faith. It is immensely satisfying for Paul to see how God has been working through his words and ministry. But he is always careful to give God the glory. His message is simply to stand firm in what they have been taught already – not to panic – even if the world around them seems to be on shifting sands. We might like to heed his words in the crises we face today.

To Ponder:

  • Do you ever hear versions of ‘Christianity’ that bear little resemblance to the Jesus you know and trust? How do you know who to listen to or what to believe? How can you test things in the light of Christ?
  • Read again and meditate on Paul’s blessing in verses 16-17. It is a reminder of our God of grace and Lord of love, and it is particularly appropriate for those in Christian work or ministry of any kind. Who might you send these words to today?
Previous Page Thursday 10 December 2020
Next Page Saturday 12 December 2020