Last month’s Ox Strong get together in April was held on the day after Jay Glandon’s funeral. Gary shared with us that most people have an opportunity to tell their loved one’s “goodbye.” Gary and Jay used to tell each other “see you later” as they’d leave each other’s presence. Though Gary never had the opportunity to tell Jay “goodbye,” before she left this earth, he does know for certain that he will see her later…in heaven. That’s the hope we as believers have in the Lord (see the 1 Thessalonians 4 passage below).
When I attended Maranatha Baptist Bible College we’d often be reminded of what maranatha meant in the New Testament (see meaning below). Even if Gary and Jay were unaware of the meaning of maranatha, they still believed and practiced the truth behind it. And they, like all believers, look forward to that reuniting in heaven one day…when “see you later” becomes a reality of what is now a “see you forever.”
So, “What does ‘maranatha’ mean?
Maranatha is an Aramaic word that means ‘the Lord is coming’ or ‘come, O Lord.’ The early church faced much persecution, and life for a Christian under Roman rule was not easy. The Romans required everyone to declare that Caesar was god. The early Christians knew that there is only one God and one Lord—Jesus Christ—and in all good conscience they could not call Caesar ‘Lord,’ so the Romans looked upon them as traitors, persecuted them, and put them to death.
Living under those adverse conditions, the believers’ morale was lifted by the hope of the coming of the Lord. ‘Maranatha!’ became the common greeting of the oppressed believers, replacing the Jewish greeting shalom (‘peace’). The followers of Jesus knew there would be no peace because Jesus had told them so (Matthew 10:34; Luke 12:51). But they also knew the Lord would be returning to set up His kingdom, and from that truth they drew great comfort. They were constantly reminding and being reminded that the Lord is coming (Luke 21:28; Revelation 22:12). Jesus taught several parables on this same theme of watching and waiting and being prepared for His return (Matthew 25:1-13; Luke 12:35-40).
Today, believers in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ live our lives in the light of the knowledge that He can come at any time. We are to be ready when the call comes. Every day we should expect Him to come, and every day we should long for Him to come. Maranatha reminds us to keep our eyes on the eternal things of the Spirit. To dwell on material things is to be in constant mental turmoil. Looking down, we see the earth; looking around, we see earthly things. But looking up, we see the hope of the soon coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. To those who are discouraged today, Maranatha! To those who are worried today, Maranatha! To those who are filled with anxiety over the problems they are facing, Maranatha! Our Lord is coming!” From gotquestions.org
Keep Looking Up!
Be reminded of this truth and encouragement today from 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (ESV)
The Coming of the Lord
13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
Nate Smith is a college baseball and football coach, a husband, a father of 6 girls, grandpa to 3 granddaughters, a police chaplain, and has a passion to see men grow in Christ.
#girldad including granddaughter