1 & 2 Thessalonians

by Sim Kay Tee

Day 13

Read 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10

Over the past few days, we looked at Paul's call to believers to live in a way that would please God, as well as the importance of practising sexual purity in an immoral and decadent world (see 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8). We were reminded that all Christians are called to lead holy lives, including living a sexually pure life.

Loving others as Jesus loves is indisputable proof that we are His disciples.

But that is not all. Leading a holy life also means loving our brothers and sisters in Christ (see vv. 9-10).

Hours before going to the cross, Jesus gave His disciples a new commandment: ″Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another″ (John 13:34). In a way, this instruction to love others was not new. In their Law, the Jews were commanded to love their neighbours in the same way they loved themselves (see Leviticus 19:18, 34). Jesus himself spoke often of this Mosaic standard (see Matthew 19:19; Luke 10:27). What was new here was that Jesus was introducing a new, radical standard of loving. The Living Bible translation succinctly captures Jesus' new commandment: ″Love each other just as much as I love you″ (John 13:34, TLB; emphasis added).

How much does Jesus love us? The answer: utterly and ″to the end″ of His very life (John 13:1). When He laid down His life at the cross, Jesus ″showed [us] the full extent of his love″, as the NLT footnote for this verse puts it. Jesus' love is an unending, all-embracing, sacrificial love. To love as Jesus loves reframes the old commandment with a new standard of love, set by Jesus' own example.

Loving others as Jesus loves is indisputable proof that we are His disciples. Jesus said, ″By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another″ (John 13:35). 1 John 3:10, too, observes that the children of God are revealed by their capacity to love, since God's children do what is right and love their brothers and sisters. But Paul also stresses that the ability to love is not something we can do by our natural will, because it belongs to the realm of the divine. We can love, he says, only because we ″have been taught by God to love each other″ (1 Thessalonians 4:9).

The Thessalonian church's love, like Jesus' love, had no bounds. Paul rejoiced in her love for ″all of God's family throughout Macedonia″ (v. 10). Although she was herself facing persecution, she gave financial aid generously and sacrificially to believers in other parts of Macedonia (see 2 Corinthians 8:1-5). Is it any wonder that Paul commends her for being a model to all believers in Macedonia and Achaia?

Think through:

What did Paul mean when he said that the Thessalonian believers had been ″taught by God to love each other″ (1 Thessalonians 4:9)? How did God teach them? How has God taught you to love?

How do you love others as you love yourself? How do you love others as Jesus has loved you?




About Author

Sim Kay Tee is a Bible teacher and writer of Our Daily Bread Ministries. Based in Singapore, K.T. writes for the Discovery Series Bible Study guides, the Journey Through Series devotional, and is a regular contributor to the Insights for Our Daily Bread. K.T. has taught the Bible in various countries. He has three daughters and one granddaughter.

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Our Daily Bread Journey Through® Series is a publication of Our Daily Bread Ministries.

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