The sudden return of Christ
Now concerning how and when all this will happen, dear brothers and sisters, we don’t really need to write you. For you know quite well that the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night. When people are saying, “Everything is peaceful and secure,” then disaster will fall on them as suddenly as a pregnant woman’s labor pains begin. And there will be no escape. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3 NLT
Paul told the believers in Thessalonica that the coming of Christ is sudden. No one knows when it will take place. Paul does not need to tell the believers the details surrounding the return of Christ such as “date and time” for they are expected to anticipate any moment His coming. Instead, Paul told them how Christ’s coming will happen. First, it will be “like a thief in the night.” This is also what the Lord Jesus Christ told His disciples, “…you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected” (Matthew 24:42-44). Those who will remain in their unbelief will be taken by surprise when Jesus returns. They might be talking about peace and security, “then disaster will fall on them.” They will go about their daily routine without any cares and will continue to neglect their spiritual condition only to find out that it was too late to repent for He already returned. They remained deaf to the warnings from God and His Word and they will reap the consequence for they neglected God’s offer of salvation. Second, the day of His return will be unbearable like “a pregnant woman’s labor pains begin. And there will be no escape.” Paul’s encouragement to the believers should provide them the motivation to remain strong in their faith. They should not be scared facing the “thief in the night” for they no longer live in darkness. This is why they should take every opportunity to let their light shine so that those who are still in their unbelief will see their lives and their testimony of faith and help them see the Savior. There is an urgency for believers to share their faith to others. There’s also an urgency for those who are putting off deciding to trust Christ for time might run out. “‘Indeed, the ‘right time’ is now. Today is the day of salvation’” (2 Corinthians 6:2).