If you study history and look at the lives of the twelve disciples after Jesus’s ascension, we see that most of them died defending the Gospel and their belief in Jesus Christ. Rarely did any of the disciples die of old age, unfortunately. The Gospel and the hope of Jesus was something they were willing to die for so that others could hear the good news and receive the salvation that only Jesus offers. If you also look at the letters that Paul wrote to the early Church and his friends like Timothy and Titus in the New Testament, you will see that encouragement was a consistent part of his letters. While there were definitely times of instruction and correction, we see that Paul knew the value of encouragement and how much the Church and his friends would need it in such a hostile world towards Christians.
As believers in Jesus Christ, we need to be a united community who has one another's back, who builds one another up, who pray, and who hold firmly to the Word of God, because we are getting closer to the home stretch with every passing day. We want to be the body of Christ, and body of Christ that rejoices with those who rejoice and mourns with those who mourn. We want to be a source of encouragement where we pour encouragement into others and give hope to them. When times are tough, we need to keep our eyes on the Author and the Perfecter of our faith, Jesus Christ. And let's pass that encouragement that we have received onto others to encourage them!
Discussion/Reflection Question: How does the example of disciples and Paul encourage you today?