#191 “HOW ARE YOU FOLLOWING THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST?” (1 THESSALONIANS 2:14-16)
- 14 For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews, The Thessalonians became a model for others to follow. The GK word for imitators is mimētēs, “to mimic” or “to imitate.” But the expression means more than that. It refers to expert artisans that model and teach in pattern and in practice. Suffered the same things—Luke describes when the Jews instigated a riot to silence Paul in Ac. 17:5-10. It was too unsafe for Paul to remain in the city, so he departed. The Thessalonians were not afraid to suffer for what they believed. Both the early churches in Thessalonica and the churches in Judea faced intense persecution from those tied to Judaism.
- 15 who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all mankind 16 by hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved—so as always to fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them at last! Some liberal scholars interpret this section (2:14-16) as proof that Paul was anti-Semitic. That, of course, is flatly untrue for various reasons. One, Paul was a Jew. Two, the Jews were usually the first people group Paul would go and minister to upon arriving in a new city. Three, Paul was well versed in the prophets of old who prophesied of the coming judgment of the Jews. Four, Paul was pointing out the Jew’s rejection and execution of Jesus would result in future punishment. And yet, despite the Jews persecuting Paul and his companions—he felt compelled to preach the gospel to the Jews and awaited the day they would put their faith in Jesus as Savior.
- 11:25-32: Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”; 27 “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” 28 As regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 For just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, 31 so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy. 32 For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.” Wrath has come upon them at last—The wrath of God will fall on the Jews for rejecting him, disobeying his covenants, having Jesus killed, and for their persistent performance of sinful acts. The verb usage of come upon connotes a designated arrival that is on the verge of being fulfilled. Rom. 2:5, “But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.”