“For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?“
Paul asks a rhetorical question in this verse and answers it in the latter part of this verse and the next.
Paul now gives his reason for his eagerness to see them.
what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing?
Paul puts his work in perspective. He views himself standing at the Judgment Seat of Christ and receiving rewards from the Lord Jesus Christ for his labor in Thessalonica. Paul’s “hope” rests on living a certain kind of life in time, a life of evangelism. Paul has confidence that he will see Thessalonians in heaven.
This is also his “joy.” There is no greater joy than seeing someone come to Christ. Paul’s joy was the thought of leading someone to Christ and then to know that he will spend eternity in heaven.
“Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved” (Philippians 4:1).
Leading people to Christ will be Paul’s “crown of rejoicing” at the Judgment Seat of Christ. His crown is his converts. The word “crown” is the victor’s crown, the crown of introducing someone to Christ. There is victory in winning people to Christ, or rather, in allowing God to win people to Christ through us. Those who never introduce anyone to Christ will not receive this crown.
Is it not even you
The Thessalonian converts’ presence at the coming of Christ was the hope, joy and crown of rejoicing of the gospel team.
in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?
Paul answers his own question. His reward will be that the Thessalonians who received Christ as their personal Savior will meet the Lord at the Rapture. Winning people to Christ is an eternal investment. It makes life worthwhile. What a day of rejoicing that will be when we see in heaven people we’ve led to Christ and finally see Christ Himself!
The word “coming” is a term that conveys the idea of presence. One day we will be in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. In First Thessalonians, this word refers to the Rapture (4:16,17) or to the period from the Rapture to the Second Coming.
Those we win to Christ are our hope, joy and crown of glory.
The coming of Christ is a great motivation for believers. This motivation sustains us through many trials and tribulations. We keep eternal values in view. If we view life from a secular viewpoint, we will not get God’s perspective on the purpose for our lives. In times of trouble, we need to catch the divine viewpoint on things. In this way, we will not allow trouble to overcome us.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).
By keeping our eyes on eternal values, we live by faith.
“For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).
”Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [chapter 11, those who lived by faith], let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
Our faith comes from the Word. The Bible keeps our mind on eternal promises and truths.
“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
The Christian does not look back but looks forward to his glorious future. It is not biblical to live in the past with all its regrets. It is the biblical perspective to live in an attitude of looking for the return of Christ. We will finally meet the One we love. O, what a joy it will be.
“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20).