But we do not want you to be uniformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. 1 Thessalonians 4:13–14
The Christians in Thessalonica had a problem. They had been taught—and believed—that Jesus would return to the world and usher everyone into an age of peace and unity and faithfulness. However, as they awaited Christ’s return, members of their community had begun to die. This was certainly the natural course of life in the world, but those first Christians believed that Jesus had changed the world, and that life as humanity had known it up until that point had changed. Everything had been made new . . . or so they hoped. Jesus had come to save people, not to let them die! So, why were they losing loved ones? What was going on?
In this passage, Paul attempted to calm the Thessalonians fear by assuring them of God’s eternal care for all people living and dead. However, Paul’s statement covers more ground than that. Christians do not grieve, they do not worry, and they do not fear as others do. Jesus had been victorious over the forces of evil and death; therefore, there was nothing on earth or in heaven that people should be concerned about. Christians are to be different. Our concerns are not to be for ourselves and our own personal welfare. Our primary concern is to be focused on others. We are saved in life and in death; the only thing we need to concern ourselves with is the care of others here and now.
How does being a Christian make you different?
Lord, new life in You means giving up my old life of worry and fear. There is no need for it anymore. You have shown us that we move from life to life . . . Therefore, the only thing we should concern ourselves with is sharing that abundant life and love with others. In Your name, I pray. AMEN.