The church in Thessalonica obviously asked Paul (through Timothy) how much longer until Jesus returned. Facing the difficulties they were enduring, it only seems natural that they wanted a timeline…a date on the calender that they could fix their hope on.
The Thessalonians were part of a long line of Christians who became overly fascinated with setting a date for Christ’s return. People have been setting dates for Christ’s return for about 2,000 years. None of them have been right, by the way. Why do you think there is such a desire to do this? Why do we get so infatuated with knowing when the world will end? What does Paul say about this kind of intrigue in v1-3? How does that inspire hope in us?
Paul goes on in v4-7 to make a contrast between people of the day and people of the night. What do you think his point is in this contrast? To help interpret this analogy, we need to consider the twin metaphors of sleep and drunkenness. The opposite of that would be to live as someone who is awake and sober. V8 basically explains what that looks like in real life. What three elements of life does Paul prioritize in v8?
To live in a way that is ready for Christ’s return…do we need to calculate the days of Daniel’s prophecy…or keep a close eye on the United Nations…or write letters to be sent to loved ones after we are raptured? What does v8 tell us about a life that is anticipating the end of the age….what should we be doing?
Paul again encourages us to comfort each other with this stuff in v11…and I think v10 gives us a big clue about why this IS comforting. Does it comfort you?
See you Sunday!
Also…I did a “Wordle” of my finished teaching notes…and this is what came out: