Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.
Apparently some in Thessalonica think only those who are alive when Jesus returns will be saved. They mistakenly believe they will be forever separated from their loved ones who happen to die before Jesus comes.
Not so! Paul tells them the dead will actually the first to be with Jesus!
According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive...will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep…For the Lord himself will come down from heaven…and the dead in Christ will rise first.
Here is the order: Jesus returns. The dead rise to meet the Lord. The living join them.
This is what the resurrection of Jesus means to His students. Death is not the end of the relationships they hold so dear in this life. There is no final Goodbye at the grave.
This is the great hope of the resurrection of Jesus. It means Jesus is alive and those who follow Him will be with Him. And it also means they will also be re-united with all other students of Jesus, even those who are in the grave!
We do not want our closest relationships to end. We want them to continue forever! The resurrection of Jesus answers this great desire of our hearts.
When Jesus returns what a reunion it will be! How long will it last? Paul says – forever!
And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.