Spend time in prayer and silence with God, asking Him to meet with you and speak to you.
And now, brothers and sisters, I want you to know what will happen to the Christians who have died so you will not be full of sorrow like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus comes, God will bring back with Jesus all the Christians who have died. I can tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not rise to meet Him ahead of those who are in their graves. For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the call of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, all the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, altogether with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and remain with Him forever. So comfort and encourage each other with these words.
– 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Here Paul addresses what happens to believers who have died in the past. He assures the Thessalonians that those believers who have already passed away will take part when Jesus returns in the air to receive His bride. First, he tells them that the souls of those who have passed before will return with Jesus when He comes for His bride. At that time, they will receive their new resurrection bodies recreated from the dust from their old bodies. Then these newly resurrected bodies will be caught up in the air with those believers who were still alive at the time of His return, and then the bride (the Body of Christ) will spend eternity with Christ! After sharing this miraculous truth, Paul instructs the Thessalonians to “comfort and encourage” each other with this truth. So, when loved ones pass away, we will grieve their loss. But we should not grieve like those who have no hope. Our hope is grounded in a resurrected Savior. Because Jesus lives, those who trust in Him will also live! Do not be dismayed! Embrace the hope found only in Jesus!
The Big Question
Are you grieving the loss of a loved one this holiday season? If so, what words of hope can you take away from this passage of Scripture? How do Paul’s words to the Thessalonians encourage you today?
Conclude your time in prayer and silence, reflecting on what God revealed to you today.