Christianity is all about CHRIST. ‘…that in all things HE might have the preeminence…“ is Paul’s description to the Colossians of the central place Jesus Christ occupies in His church.
As the apostolic missionary Paul pens words of comfort to the Thessalonian believers he centers his attention upon Jesus Christ the Lord.
4:15 “…the Lord’s own word…” Jesus himself gave clear teaching about His own return.
4:16 “….the Lord himself will come down from heaven….” What a sight that will be–watching Jesus Christ, the Lord of heaven and earth returning just as He promised.
4:16 “….the dead in Christ….” All die, but not all die ‘in Christ.’ Are you in Christ this day? Can you say ‘For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain….?’
4:17 “…to meet the Lord…” We will meet Him. Other writers pick up this amazing truth in the New Testament. ‘Every eye shall see Him…’ ‘We shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is….’ Years ago I was in a country where believers are persecuted. The authorities had interrupted our training, even though we had followed all the legal channels and the students were very discouraged. In our closing session I had been listening to their firsthand accounts of suffering and wondered how I might encourage them. The Lord brought to mind the following hymn – “It will be worth it all when we see Jesus, Life’s trials will seem so small, when we see Christ. One glimpse of His dear face all sorrow will erase, so bravely run the race, ’til we see Christ!’ As I recall, we ran out of facial tissues as we bid each other farewell.
4:17 “…with the Lord forever.” Jesus said to His followers, ‘that where I am there you may be also.’ Some of Christ’s followers have moved multiple times on earth. Some have no fixed address. But those who die having trusted in Jesus Christ, who walk through the valley of the shadow of death with the comfort of the LORD’s rod and staff will reach their final home.