READ: 1 Kings 1-3, Psalm 99, Matthew 10, 2 Thessalonians 1
Of the things Jesus is against, one of the more surprising is temporal peace. Jesus did not come to bring peace on the earth, but a sword (Matt. 10:34). Jesus brings division to families and societies, and following Jesus leads us to be divided from our lives and in the losing to be united with Him. In this upside-down kingdom, suffering is only bestowed on the worthy (2 Thess. 1:5). You have to be counted worthy to suffer for the kingdom; you have to be counted worthy of God’s calling. History has judged those who suffer to be either wicked or unfortunate. Heaven decrees that it is an honor to suffer when we suffer for Jesus’ sake. Not everyone is given the high privilege of deep suffering.
This scripture in 2 Thessalonians 1 intriguingly tells us that our endurance in suffering is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God. God will trouble those who trouble us (v. 6), and He will give rest to those who are troubled when Jesus comes (v. 7). God’s righteous judgment is predicted by His peoples’ calm in tribulation. When we face trial, sufferings, injustice, and tribulation with a quiet peace, a message is shouted in the spirit realm: “God will vindicate me. God will have vengeance on you.”
We sit calmly in the court room of earth for we know final judgment awaits and we will be declared innocent. Prison, scorn, trial, abuse, all are the pompous and impotent theatrics of the evil prosecuting attorney. He may seem impressive; his case may seem airtight; and the galleries may grin and gloat. But our immovability in the dock is unsettling to foes and assuring to friends. “Why aren’t they worried?” the observers ask. “What do they know that we don’t know?”
We know that the judge of all the earth will do right. We know that “the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in us, and we in Him” (v. 12). Pity the fools who are so excited at our trial. No matter the fabricated or factual evidence against us, we have an advocate in the heavens and the judge happens to be our Father. He has whispered to us His final decision. We just sit peaceably, absorb the abuse, endure the scorn, with a quiet serenity that unnerves our accusers. Our worthy suffering points to the ultimate righteous judgment of God. “Do all the injustice to us you will,” we say, “for there is a God in heaven who sees all and will judge you. Our peace under pressure is a warning. We are not alarmed, and therefore you should be.”
Knowing how it ends, let us not forget that righteousness will not be fully implemented until “the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance” (vv. 7-8). We probably won’t see justice in our day. We won’t see righteousness descend like rain as long as the earth is under human responsibility. Justice and righteousness will not come from man – they will come on that last great day when Jesus comes in furious power. It will be the first day of eternal justice.