Before Paul went to Athens, he and Silas were traveling throughout the area near Philippi. One day they came to the city of Thessalonica. There, Paul told many people, who were descendants of Abraham, about Jesus. He said, “This Jesus I’m telling you about is the Promised Savior.” Many people believed his words… but the descendants of Abraham were jealous, so they gathered some worthless fellows from the streets to form a mob and start a riot. They attacked the home of a believer in Jesus, searching for Paul and Silas so they could drag them out to the crowd.
Not finding them there, they dragged out some of the other believers instead and took them before the city authorities. “Paul and Silas have caused trouble all over the world and now they are here disturbing our city,” they shouted. “One of these men here has allowed Paul and Silas to stay in his home.”
Although the city was thrown into turmoil by these reports, the city authorities finally released these believers… For their protection, that very night the believers sent Paul and Silas away.
But Paul never forgot about the believers in Thessalonica. In fact, he tried again and again to visit them, but he wasn’t able. So later, Paul sent a friend named Timothy to encourage the believers in Thessalonica. When Timothy returned to Paul and gave a report, Paul was overjoyed to learn that these believers were continuing to follow Jesus in spite of persecution. So, he decided to write a letter to the believers in Thessalonica… a letter from himself, Silas and Timothy.
He said, “We always thank God for all of you and pray for you constantly.” “…You have received the message about Jesus with joy from God’s Spirit in spite of the severe suffering it brought you… As a result, you became an example to all the believers in the area. These believers speak of how you turned away from idols to serve the true and living God. And they speak of how you are looking forward to the coming of God’s Son from heaven – Jesus, whom God raised from the dead…”
“And when Jesus comes back, he himself will come down from heaven with a loud shout… First, all the believers who have died will rise… Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be taken up in the clouds to meet Jesus in the air. We will be with him forever. So encourage each other with these words. …And read this letter to all the other believers…”
Drawing Elements: Hope (flower), Hope in Persecution (tear), Hope in Death (tear), Return (cross)
Hope in Death (tear shape) shows that believers don’t have to grieve the way unbelievers do. The cross represents His return and that we will meet him in the clouds.