Thursday, 13 July 2017
For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? 1 Thessalonians 2:19
Paul just noted that he and his associates had been hindered from coming to Thessalonica despite their great desire to see the church once again. Understanding that, he now says, “For what is our hope…?” In this, hope is the object of their efforts, which in this case is the church there and the people in it. He continues, “or joy…?” What is it that they will rejoice in when they stand before the Lord? It is those whom they brought along to likewise stand before him. And then he says, “or crown of rejoicing?” A crown is something which denotes honor. In the Greek games, a crown was bestowed upon the champion. It is what all strived for, but it is what only the winner would receive.
The word translated as “rejoicing” gives the sense of “glorying” and “exultation.” It is what one revels in. In the Old Testament, the book of Proverbs shows that a person with gray hair had such a crown –
“The silver-haired head is a crown of glory,
If it is found in the way of righteousness.” Proverbs 16:31
The reason for this crown of glory was the satisfaction of having lived a long life. Paul and his companion’s crown of glorying is that they had lived a fruitful life in Christ. What could a true evangelist revel in more? And to explain that clearly to the Thessalonians, he then rhetorically asks, “Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?”
His word “you” should be taken in an inclusive sense to mean those converts at Thessalonica, and all others that had been converted by their ministry. What he is saying is that there will be a great rejoicing when the Lord comes for His people, and those who were faithful in leading others to Christ would stand before Him with a multitude who had been brought to Him through their efforts. It would be as if they were decorated with a crown of glory. The Thessalonian converts would be a part of that crown when that day comes.
The reason for Paul’s saying this is to show how much being able to visit the church in Thessalonica really and personally meant to them. Despite their being hindered by Satan, he wanted the believers there to know that it was not an intentional snubbing of them, but a source of true sadness.
Life application: When we stand before the Lord, there will be a sense of exultation for each person who has been productive in their Christian life. Those who bring others to Christ will be rewarded. Those who minister to others in Christ will be rewarded. Teachers, preachers, and those who give… all efforts for Christ that are done in Christ will receive their due. Be pleased to work now for this marvelous cause; the rewards and the joy will be heavenly.
Lord God, grant us wisdom to use this life now for Your honor and for Your glory. Let us not be so consumed with temporary things that we forget that there is an eternity ahead of us which will find our position based on what we do now. May our proclamation be, “Use me up now, Lord. This life is Yours. I can rest when I arrive at my new home.” Amen.