字幕列表 影片播放 列印英文字幕 Paul's second letter to the Thessalonians. So not long after Paul wrote 1 Thessalonians, he got a report about the Christians in Thessalonica, and that the problems he had addressed in that letter not only had continued, but had gotten worse. The persecutions had intensified and the Thessalonian Christians had become confused and scared about the return of Jesus. So Paul sent off this short letter which is designed to have three sections that address the three problems in this church. Paul first offers hope in the midst of their continued persecution and then he offers clarity about the coming day of the Lord and then finally he brings a really specific challenge to the idle, people who were refusing to work normal jobs. and the end of each of these sections is clearly marked by a short closing prayer. Paul opens with a thanksgiving prayer for the Thessalonians' continued faithfulness and love, and specifically for their endurance. He's learned that their Greek and Roman, and perhaps even Jewish neighbors have intensified their persecution of these Christians. There are religious minorities facing violent oppression and Paul's worried that they might give up on Jesus if it gets worse. So Paul reminds them like he did in the first letter that they're suffering because of being associated with Jesus, it's a way of participating in God's kingdom. Jesus was inaugurated as king by His suffering on the cross and so his followers will show their victory over the world by imitating Jesus' non-violence and patient endurance. Paul also reminds them that this won't last forever. When Jesus returns, He will bring His justice to bear on those that have oppressed them and shed the blood of the innocent. Specifically, he says that their punishment is to be banished away from the face of the Lord and from the glory of His power. Paul does not speculate here on the fate of those who reject Jesus, except to say that, throughout their lives, they wanted nothing to do with Jesus and in the end, they get what they want: Relational distance from their creator and their King, and for Paul, this is the ultimate tragedy. To choose separation from Jesus who is the source of all life and love is to embrace one's own undoing. He closes this thought by praying that God would use their suffering to bring about deep character change inside of them so that their lives would bring honor to the name of Jesus. Paul then moves on to address a specific issue related to the return of Jesus and the day of the Lord. So somebody in the Thessalonian church community had been spreading wrong information in Paul's name saying that God's final act of justice on human evil, the day of the Lord it was upon them, it has come and these people had likely been predicting dates about the end of all things and they were frightening other Chrstians and you can see why. Due to the intense persecution, they were vulnerable to somebody claiming that Jesus had already returned like a thief in the night, they've been left behind! Maybe He abandoned the Thesslonians to their suffering. This kind of talk really ticks Paul off. It's misrepresenting his teaching. The return of Jesus should never inspire fear but rather hope and confidence. Paul reminds them of everything he taught them about Jesus' return back when he was in town. and he gives a short summary here, it's actually too short. this paragraph has lots of puzzles and problems of interpretation, but what's clear is that he cites the well known theme from the prophets Isaiah and Daniel that the kingdoms of this world will continue to produce rulers who rebel against God like Nebuchadnezzar or the King of the North did in the past. These leaders had exulted themselves to divine authority and for Paul, these ancient kings and prophecies ; they give us images , they set out a pattern that he saw fulfilled in his own day in the Roman emperors, Caligula and Nero, and he expected that it would be repeated again, that history would culminate with such a rebellious rule, empowered by evil itself someone who will wreak havoc and violence in God's world, but not forever. When Jesus returns, He will confront the rebel and all who perpetrate evil, and He will deliver His people. So Paul's point here is not to give later readers fuel for apocalyptic speculation. Rather, he's comforting the Thessalonians. He's recalling the teaching of Jesus from Mark 13 who said that the events leading up to His return would be very public and obvious, and so they don't need to be scared or worried that they've been left behind, rather they need to stay faithful until Jesus returns to deliver them. And so in his closing prayer, he asks Jesus and the Father to comfort and strengthen the Thessalonians to stay faithful to the way of Jesus, which brings Paul to the final topic. It's a challenge for those who were idle, which doesn't just mean lazy, but this refers to people who were irresponsible and who refused to work and provide for themselves resulting in chaotic personal lives. So Paul had actually addressed this problem in his first letter, and it seems like it's gotten worse. Now we don't know for certain why some people in this church were refusing to work, it's possible that this problem's connected to the previous one. Maybe some people thought Jesus would return very soon and so they quit their jobs and dropped out of normal life. But it's more likely that Paul's addressing a problem related to a practice in Roman culture called 'patronage' So you'd have poor people living in cities and they would become clients, kind of like personal assistants to wealthy people, and they would live off of their occasional generosity. But there were lots of strings attached. This sometimes involved the clients and their patrons' morally corrupt way of life, not to mention it was unpredictable income. So this is what Paul seems to refer to when he says these people lead a disordered life. They're not working, and they're meddling in the business of others. So Paul reminds them of the example he gave when he was with them; he didn't ask for their money, he worked a manual labor job so he could provide for himself and so he could serve the Thessalonians free of charge. He says this is the ideal: a follower of Jesus should imitate Jesus's self-giving love by working hard so they can provide for themselves and so their lives can be a benefit to other people. He concludes this with a final prayer, that in the midst of all their confusion and suffering that God would grant them peace through the Lord Jesus the Messiah. This short letter to the Thessalonians , it helps us see that the early Christian belief in Jesus' return and the hope of final judgement. These ideas were not meant for generating speculations about apocalytpic timelines. Rather, these beliefs brought hope; they inspired faithfulness and devotion to Jesus, especially for persecuted Christians facing violent opposition. And so for later generations of Christians, whether they undergo persecution or not, this letter reminds us that what you hope for shapes what you live for, and that's what 2 Thessalonians is all about.