We do not want you to be ignorant about those who have fallen asleep. (1 Thessalonians 4:13, NIV)
Paul is speaking here about Christian believers who have died.
There are many people in our world today who say that we can’t know anything about the afterlife. They regard Christian talk as speculation, a metaphor to help us in our pain.
Many people who talk like this would freely admit that they are ignorant about life after death. But Paul says that, as Christians, we are not ignorant. Why not?
Because Christ has spoken to us about life after death: “According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep” (4:15). Christ has come to us from heaven and he has spoken about it. We have Christ’s own word on this so that we can know!
What do we know? “We believe that Jesus died and rose again” (4:14). And this is the same hope that we have for all those who are in Christ. Every Christian who dies follows Jesus into death, and will rise again with him to new life!
Do you see what Jesus’ death and resurrection means for every person who believes in him? Do you share this hope for your loved ones who have died in Christ? Does this same hope strengthen and encourage you about your own future?