Brothers


 
Paul ends his letter to the Thessalonians with these words: “Brothers, pray for us. Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss. I charge you before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you” (1 Thessalonians 5:25-28).

The “holy kiss” words kind of stand out in there, don’t they? In Paul’s day, that might have been an OK greeting but misinterpretation would fall on fertile ground if you were to greet one of your brothers today with a kiss. It might even get you a black eye!

When we look at the passage as a whole–and really this entire letter Paul wrote to the Thessalonians–we find the heart of what Paul is saying.

Paul begins this letter with, “We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 1:2-3).

There was a common bond between Paul and these men from Thessalonica. Motivated by faith and love these men were working hard for the Kingdom of God. They were also under persecution from their own countrymen for their belief. Paul could relate to that. He, too, was no stranger to hard work or persecution, so, in this common bond, Paul feels a kinship and calls these men “brothers.”

Trust and honesty are born out of such relationships. Paul trusts these brothers’ prayers. He knows that they will pray as they live: hard, honest, faith-filled prayers. As for that kiss part, Proverbs says, “An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips” (Proverbs 24:26). That’s what a holy kiss is; it’s not a glancing friendship; it’s a face to face honest friendship born out of a common bond.

Men, we’re in this together–fellow combatants fighting the good fight of faith. Together, in faith, we can move mountains and stand victorious over all the dark schemes of the devil but not if we are superficial in our relationship to God or each other. Let’s be true brothers working hard, praying hard, and being thankful for one another mentioning each other in our prayers.

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