Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing.1 Thessalonians 5:11
The Thessalonian church had a lot of questions, it seems, about the return of Jesus. If you look at the popularity of books about prophecy and end times, then in terms of this question at least they weren’t that much different than us.
Paul used his two letters to address their questions and ease their minds.
Yes, indeed, he told them, Jesus is coming back. And it will be a grand spectacle, so don’t fear that you somehow missed it. It’s not going to be some secret event that leaves be wondering what happened. Everyone will know. Therefore, don’t let it surprise you. You’re awake, not asleep; children of the day who see what is coming, not those of darkness who get surprised in the night.
In response to this great truth, Paul did not tell the church to try to figure out if a certain politician is the antichrist. Nor did he urge them to scan the headlines trying to discover if current news events fit into different prophecies. Nor did he warn them to beware that certain technologies or inventions could be the mark of the beast.
He didn’t do this because the Christian’s response to Jesus’ return isn’t to be fear, speculation, or conspiracy. Our response is to be one of faith and hope.
Jesus is coming back, therefore, he wrote, “Encourage one another and build up one another as you are already doing.” Our response to the truth of Jesus’ return should be to tell each other the gospel, remind each other what Jesus did for us and who we are in him, and urge each other to keep on loving God supremely and loving others deeply. And to keep doing this as our normal course of business until Jesus does indeed return.
This post is part of a devotional series based on our 2020 Bible Reading Calendar. All Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible.