1 Thess 2:18
- The Thessalonians probably wondered why Paul did not come to visit them. Perhaps Paul’s enemies used this as an argument that Paul didn’t care about them anymore. But Paul assures the Thessalonians that he has repeatedly tried to come.
- Paul was wise enough to understand that the obstacles that blocked him from visiting the Thessalonians were from Satan, but he was also wise enough to understand that Satan could only hinder him for a short time. Paul later returned to Thessalonica (Acts 20:1-5).
- Since Satan prevented Paul from visiting the Thessalonians, he wrote a letter to them instead. This has ultimately led to greater blessing for all of us because we can still read Paul’s teaching today. God has the power to turn every situation around for the better (Romans 8:28).
1 Thess 3:1-2
- The church in Thessalonica had experienced persecution from the very beginning and had been forced to get rid of its founder Paul after only a few weeks (Acts 17:1-9). Not surprisingly, Paul is concerned about the well-being of the church and is eager to meet with them.
- Timothy was Paul’s closest and most trusted associate and was the obvious person to send if Paul himself could not go.
1 Thess 3:3
- The church needed a strong faith, so that they would stand firm and not waver when suffering comes.
- The church needed to be encouraged so that they would continue to believe and not give up when the suffering comes.
- A disciple should follow in the footsteps of his master, and since Jesus went through much suffering, we too will go through much suffering. However, suffering does not always have to be a negative thing because God teaches us obedience through suffering (Heb 5:8).
- Whenever we despair and wonder whether suffering is really necessary, we should remind ourselves of what is the very symbol of our Christian faith: the cross, a brutal instrument of execution (Mark 8:34).
- Jesus had predicted that suffering would befall believers (John 16:33) and Paul writes in a later letter to Timothy that all Christians who want to live godly lives will be persecuted (2 Tim 3:12).
- Those who are not aware that the Christian life may well involve suffering will quickly begin to waver in their faith when the suffering comes. Therefore, it is important to be strong in one’s faith from the very beginning so that one is well prepared.