I am becoming completely dependent on the Maps app on my phone. If my GPS failed to alert me when to turn, I would be constantly lost. Driving in any city can be a headache but knowing that my route has been mapped out makes it a little easier and less stressful.
At first the Thessalonians thought they might have missed Christ’s return. Paul acted as their GPS and wrote them a letter informing them they hadn’t missed a thing. So, every day they woke up wondering if today would be THE day. They also questioned what would happen to those who died before Christ’s return. Would they see them again, or would they be gone forever? Again, Paul informs them that those who have died (that is, fallen asleep) will return with Jesus at His returning (v. 14). Many refer to this as the Rapture (v. 16). He says this event will be initiated by a loud command and a trumpet call of God, probably something like his experience on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3–7).
Then, after an earth-shattering noise, those who are still alive will be “caught up” in the air with those who have already died. The verb caught up means to be carried off by an undeniable force. The word translated into Latin is rapturus, from which we get our English word Rapture.
You can imagine that as the Thessalonians read this for the first time, they were overwhelmed with excitement. They could hardly contain themselves at the idea of being reunited with one another and, more importantly, with Christ. Make sure you are anticipating the things that really matter and encourage others to anticipate Christ’s return together (v. 18).
>> Do you know someone who needs to be comforted with the good news of the Second Coming of Christ? Encourage them! Remind them of the promise of spending eternity with Jesus and with those who have gone before us.
Knowing You are coming again gives us hope, Lord God. Sustain our faith as we live our appointed days in this sinful, painful world. In the power of Your Spirit, may we spread hope to others as we proclaim the good news!