2 Thessalonians has much of the same emphasis as 1 Thessalonians, largely because it’s written by the same guy to the same people and not a whole lot has changed. So same song, second verse. The three focuses of the relatively short letter are end times (eschatology for those of you who like big Bible words), encouragement for persecuted believers (this encouragement is mostly rooted in a good eschatology, which is the study of end times for those of you who like big Bible words), and encouragement to work for a living. It is odd to me that both letters to the Thessalonians include encouragements to work for a living, making me think there were some seriously lazy folk in and around that church.
Chapter 1 begins with a greeting from Paul, Silas and Timothy to the believers in Thessaloniki. He then immediately turns to encouraging those who have been persecuted or undergone trials and struggles because of their faith. They should take great solace from knowing that God will bring justice to his creation. While things feel wrong now, Christians can have hope because we know God will make everything right. This faith and understanding should also inspire God’s people towards greater acts of obedience and belief.
One of the common objections to Christianity today is something along the lines of “How can God claim to be good, and all powerful and reign over a creation that’s so full of evil?” Paul’s answer in 2 Thessalonians 1 is that God would completely agree with most of that sentiment with the caveat being that he’s waiting to fix it all. For the time being, he has left his appointed people, Christians, here in his creation as forerunners to begin setting this to rights. So don’t become discouraged, but instead begin declaring and actively transforming the redemptive work of Christ in all creation, reclaiming this world as God’s and promising with hope and faith that Jesus will eventually return to make things completely in accordance with the Creator God’s will once again. Until then, persevere, stay hopeful, and keep doing the good work of the Kingdom.