“For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 NIV)
Sometimes God seems to be quite fickle. I do not say this lightly or sarcastically, but quite seriously. The God of the Old Testament was a God of wrath and vengeance. God’s punishment was severe and meted out quite mercilessly. And now, in the Book of Thessalonians, that God did not appoint us to suffer wrath. Why the change? Why are we not being punished by famine, flood and plague? Why are we not judged harshly and stoned to death?
It is because of Jesus, God’s only begotten Son, who came to earth as a man to save us and to give us the opportunity for redemption. When Christ died for us, he took away all wrath, anger, fear and hopelessness. He gave us the promise of love and peace. He preached love and kindness. He gave the ultimate gift so that we might be saved from out sinfulness and from the wrath of God.
Jesus was the very personification of love and peace. He cared for the sick, tended the needs, loved the little children and even raised the dead. He performed miracles that could only have been performed by the Son of God. His teachings were of brotherly love, justice, compassion and peace. As followers of Jesus, our risen Lord, we can attempt to follow these teachings. We can open out arms to the needs, reach out hands to those who are struggling and nurture those who are alone. We can be the balm of kindness and goodness, rather than the sword of hatred and injustice.
Now we are faced with the enigma of what “awake” and “asleep” mean, when our bible verse states, “…whether we are awake or asleep.” Does it simply mean wakefulness and sleep as we commonly understand it? Does it mean that Jesus will be with us through the hours of our days when we are at school, at work, and tending to our daily chores? Does it mean that Jesus will be with us when we go to bed at night and fall into a restful sleep? Theologians and biblical scholars have discussed this question and have found that it may be a very simple answer, as stated previously, or it may actually refer to the great concepts of life and death. That awake might mean living and that asleep might mean death. But, regardless of our own personal interpretations of this line, Jesus is with us always, in or hearts and our souls, whenever and whatever and wherever we are.
Finally we are assured that we might live together with Him. We live with many different people in our lives: our family, our partners and spouses, our children, our extended families, our coworkers and friends. The list is virtually endless. These are the people we interact with on some level nearly every day. But interaction with Jesus can be every single day. It can be at school, at work, at home, or in our leisure ours. Jesus lives with us if only we go to Him and allow Him to enter into us. He will fill us with the goodness and grace that He personified and never leave us alone. We may fear betrayal by other people in our lives, but Jesus will never betray us. He will never leave us. He will be with us always, even to the end of time.
Help us to have a deeper understanding and appreciation of the love and grace of Jesus and may we allow His to enter our hearts and our lives and become an ever present part of us. May we never forget that God gave His only son for our redemption and that we need only to believe and to seek the Holy Spirit. May we, almighty God, be followers of Jesus all the days of our lives and even until the end of time. Amen.
You might also like to read:
- Bible Verse of the Day
- Daily Bible Guide
- The Disciple by Ronald Way
- Growing in Christ
- Bible Study Tools Online
- The Jesus Walk Bible Study Series
- UpWords Daily Devotions by Max Lucado
- Pocket Devotions by Mike Brooks.
A discussion of today’s bible verse is encouraged. If you would like to participate, please feel free to write a comment in the space below. There are many different outlooks and interpretations of scripture passages and, the more we share, the more we learn.
Sharon is a member of the Community Church of the Midlands that meets at Seven Oaks Community Center at 200 Leisure Lane in Columbia and is a frequent participant, with her husband Douglas, at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral located at 1100 Sumter Street in Columbia.
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