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When the Lord Descends from Heaven

Irish author Samuel Beckett wrote a drama, Waiting for Godot, about two homeless men waiting on the side of the road for someone named Godot who was supposed to come and save them from the meaninglessness of life.

Until he comes, life seems so miserable that they decide to hang themselves. But having no rope, one of the men takes off the cord that holds up his pants, which collapse around his ankles. Testing the cord’s strength, they pull; it breaks, and both men almost fall. They decide to find a better rope and try again later.

“We’ll hang ourselves tomorrow,” says Vladimir. “Unless Godot comes.”

“And if he comes?” asks Estragon.

“We’ll be saved.”

Godot never comes, which means they’re not saved. They weren’t, of course, supposed to be. Beckett’s whole point with the drama was to show the absurdity and hopelessness of life.

What a contrast to the view of life presented in the Bible. In particular, what a contrast to the view presented in this quarter’s lessons, which are on the apostle Paul’s two letters to the Thessalonians.

Like Beckett’s two characters, the Thessalonians faced stresses, strains, struggles, even persecution. In other words, life for them, as for us, has its hard moments. How easy and understandable it would have been for them to have fallen into the pessimism Beckett expressed. Instead, the Thessalonians had a sure hope, a hope based on Jesus.

This quarter, through Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians, we’ll get a glimpse into the life of an early Christian church—an urban church—really, and see some of the struggles and challenges that it faced, including the difficulties that arose from the fact that Christ had not yet returned! Fascinating, too, is that however different their circumstances from our own, so often the principles reflected in Paul’s words to the Thessalonians deal with the issues and challenges that we, too, confront as we await—not some mysterious Godot—but the Lord Jesus, whose death on the cross at the first coming guarantees His return in glory at the Second.

Jon Paulien is dean of the School of Religion at Loma Linda University in Loma Linda, California.

Date Topic Mobile Refs
Jul 6 The Gospel Comes to Thessalonica Mobile Less 1
Jul 13 Preserving Relationships Mobile Less 2
Jul 20 Thessalonica in Paul’s Day Mobile Less 3
Jul 27 Joyous and Thankful Mobile Less 4
Aug 3 The Apostolic Example Mobile Less 5
Aug 10 Friends Forever Mobile Less 6
Aug 17 Living Holy Lives Mobile Less 7
Aug 24 The Dead in Christ Mobile Less 8
Aug 31 Final Events Mobile Less 9
Sep 7 Church Life Mobile Less 10
Sep 14 Promise to the Persecuted Mobile Less 11
Sep 21 The Antichrist Mobile Less 12
Sep 28 Keeping the Church Faithful Mobile Less 13

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2012 Q3: 1 and 2 Thessalonians — 11 Comments

  1. The lesson is indeed encouraging and has come at the right time when prophesied. Christians wait for the lord amid confusion of life. We really don't know what to do, to live long in this world of pleasure or to live short painfully but obedient to God and be saved at the end. May God bless us all as we earnestly study His word.

  2. Lots of questions come to our mind all the time. He, the LOrd Jesus is coming, but when? Are we ready, am I ready? This should be the key.

    My prayer is that amidst the pains and sufferings, that we may be ready for His return. Joy is coming when we shall never experience these sufferings, we shall meet our loved ones who've gone before us. Oh my, I long for this day.

    May my character reflect that kind of person that God wants me to be. Amen......

    Be blessed everybody this sweet Sabbath Day.

  3. In the kind of world I live in, my hope is to see a change around me. To give others hope, hope that gives strength and encouragement, for man to turn to God. He who created us like Him. We live like him. By loving one another not turning against each other. War and insecurity, life has become meaningless to many as they take one another's life without minding. It has become a hobby, trigger and dagger happy men and women who have no respect for humanity... Ooh my lord must it get this far?

  4. One has to ask himself or herself which side will he/she be on, the Lord or satan side, as human beings who faces all ups and downs of stresses, strains, struggles of life and hard moments. like Thessalonians who were with sure hope based on Jesus that soon and very soon our Lord Jesus is going to come and take us to a place he has prepared to all of us, Amen.

  5. This week’s lesson is a very interesting one, “Preserving Relationships”. The opening page quite startled me. It says, “Paul held a three-week series of evangelistic meetings in Thessalonica.

    It was a very exciting series, but it incited opposition from local religious leaders and from a gang of thugs. Paul was finally expelled by the city council, which also sought to prevent his return. “

    And on Sunday, “When someone preaches new teachings and people get excited, the leaders and teachers of other religious groups may become jealous. Attention that was once placed upon them is now directed to others. As a result, they may behave in irrational ways in order to try to reduce the influence of the new teacher”.

    This week’s lesson is very relevant in our time today. We can really relate here in the Philippines. Hope you read it too. And may the Holy Spirit open the truth for us. God bless!

  6. I am happy with the lesson because it has just arrived at the correct time when we Christians face opposition from both sides, the government against the church and people the same. It is not easy to proclaim the gospel without prayer so let us be strong in prayer so as to turn MORE hearts to CHRIST for the end is near.

  7. God wants us to grow unto pefection, unto maturity in things of the spirit and live as His adopted sons. Certainly we will meet him when he comes.

  8. Oh victory in Jesus my savior forever, He sought me and bought me by his redeeming biood he loved me and I know him and all my life is due him and some sweet day I will sing up there the song of victory.

  9. When our lord Jesus Christ gave us the priviledge of prayer, it's a shield he gave us that we should always wear with faith in him to be able to conquers snares of this world. let us always remain in communion with him. God really answers prayers. Stay blessed.

  10. When I refer to the garden of Eden, I see 3 things that God gave to man; the fruits corresponding to food, companionship (marriage and the whole institution of Christian marriage) and Sabbath (rest and worship time on the seventh day). In my research I have come to realize that the fruit in the middle of the garden that Adam and Eve were not supposed to touch corresponded to tithe and that belonged to only God. Jesus I love Thee my savior.

    It’s indeed true that the challenges that the early church (Thessalonians) faced is what the modern church is facing, our great hope is that now the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ is so nigh and we need to emulate the life of Christ at 360 degrees (in all round; prayers, food, clothing, life style e.t.c) because the reward is soon. Let’s learn to keep on praying for one another.

  11. With my continued search for a personal relationship with God I have come to realize that "GOD'S 'NO' IS NOT A REJECTION BUT A REDIRECTION". GREAT YAWEH.