“But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and brought us good news of your faith and love, and that you always have good remembrance of us, greatly desiring to see us, as we also to see you…”
and brought us good news of your faith and love,
Two characteristic attitudes of the Thessalonians were their faith and love toward the gospel team. They loved the gospel and the ministers of the gospel. Timothy’s report sounded like the gospel — “good news.” The New Testament often links the qualities of “faith and love” together. Faith precedes love. The order is important. Faith is vertical, and love is horizontal.
“We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints…” (Colossians 1:3-4).
“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13).
“We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father, knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God” (1 Thessalonians 1:2-4).
“We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other…” (2 Thessalonians 1:3).
“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love” (Galatians 5:6).
and that you always have good remembrance of us,
It is encouraging for Paul to know that the Thessalonians look back on his visit with fond memories. Paul says, “You understood why I had to leave Thessalonica. It was not because I wanted to leave you. I left under duress. Thanks for your understanding.”
greatly desiring to see us,
The word “desiring” means to long for greatly, to yearn after. This desiring recognizes that there is a need for fellowship between the Thessalonians and Paul.
The Thessalonians had cherished memories of the gospel team. Note how the New Testament uses the Greek word for “greatly desiring:”
“For this reason I also have been much hindered from coming to you. But now no longer having a place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come to you, whenever I journey to Spain, I shall come to you. For I hope to see you on my journey, and to be helped on my way there by you, if first I may enjoy your company for a while” (Romans 15:22-24).
“Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming, but also by the consolation with which he was comforted in you, when he told us of your earnest desire, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced even more.”
“So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us” (1 Thessalonians 2:8).
“I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day, greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy, when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also” (2 Timothy 1: 3-5).
as we also to see you
The desire of the gospel team is reciprocal to the Thessalonians’. They felt the pain of enforced separation just as much as Paul desired to see them. There is a mutual love between the gospel team and the Thessalonians. It is always encouraging to a father’s heart to know that his children walk according to the principles of the family.
“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 John 4).
Despite intense persecution, the Thessalonians remained true to the Lord. There is a point where we have to release those who follow us to the Lord. We must cut the apron strings at some point. It is arrogance to think that people cannot get along spiritually without us.
Dynamic faith produces mutual love.
Dynamic faith produces mutual love. The closest fellowship that believers share is fellowship in the gospel. There is a special love among those who go shoulder to shoulder, sharing the good news of the gospel.
“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:3-8).