1 Thessalonians Chapter 1: A Greeting of Gratitude and Encouragement
Thessalonica was a large, thriving port city and the capital of the Roman province of Macedonia. It was the center of wealth and influence, and as such experienced much corruption and immorality. In today’s world, it might be called “sin city.”
Imagine how difficult it was to establish one of the first Christian churches in such a community. Even today, almost 2,000 years later and after centuries of established religions, it would be a difficult pursuit and most certainly would be subject to rejection and persecution.
In chapter 1 of his letter, Paul begins by reminding the Thessalonians of his earlier presence and the basis upon which they established the church.
He knew from Timothy’s reports that there were rumors about his rather abrupt departure from the city and the false messages from his detractors among the prominent Jewish leaders of the community. In chapter 2, he defends himself and reminds the Thessalonian Christians of the reasons for his departure. He assures them of his continued faith and gratitude for their own vigilance.
A Moment to Reflect:
If you are a member of a new or recently established church, you may face criticisms and difficulties that challenge your existence as a member of a worshipping body. This may even be the case among long-established churches that are now in decline. In either case, be mindful of how much more difficult this would have been in the communities of the first-century Christians. Be vigilant in your own resolve, in your faith and in your prayers, and the Lord will sustain and reward you.