Jesus Christ's Return, The Early Church

Maranatha

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“O Lord, Come”

 

The word maranatha has been around in Christian circles for centuries. Some even use it for their businesses, and church names. I had never given the word maranatha much thought until I saw the footnote in my Bible last year. How I overlooked it all these years is beyond me. Once I understood the meaning and significance it was an encouragement, and I hope it will be to you as well.

In Aramaic the word marana tha translates to “our Lord comes” or is “coming”. Maranatha occurs only once in the Bible.¹

If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed. O Lord, come!”   1 Corinthians 16:22, NKJV 

Strong words for those who don’t love Jesus. The word accursed is translated from the Greek word anathema. This was the third level of three levels of discipline for the ancient Jews. Anathema meant that the Jew being disciplined was no longer counted as a Jew and would never be reconciled to the synagogue.²

After this dire warning about your soul being cursed for not loving Jesus, Paul ends with maranatha.

Paul used an Aramaic word, maranatha, in a letter to a Greek church. He was sending a message of hope to the early church. Maranatha was an encouragement to fellow Christians enduring terrible persecution under Roman rule. It reminded them that Jesus Christ was coming back for them.

The early Christians were severely persecuted by the Romans since they refused to declare Ceasar was god. This meant death for the Christian. Maranatha became a common greeting of that day. The Lord will return and their suffering will end. The early church expected Jesus to return at any moment and we should too.

Jesus Christ is coming back for His church.

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:3, NIV 

Early Christians took loving Jesus and His imminent return very serious. They laid everything down, even their lives to love, serve, and follow Jesus. There was an excitement about the return of Christ.

The 18th Century evangelist George Whitfield attests to his “Maranatha Mindset” writing:

“Let that cry, “Behold, the bridegroom cometh,” (Matthew 25:6) be continually sounding in your ears, and begin now to live as though you were assured that this night you were to go forth to meet Him. (And all God’s people cry “Amen!”)³

Whatever you are facing today, Jesus sees you and is with you. Your suffering will end. I say “Maranatha” to you. Jesus will right every wrong. We will be with Him in heaven for all of eternity. So hold on friend. Keep trusting. Keep believing. This world is not our home.

As Christians, may we live with excitement and great anticipation of the return of Lord Jesus. Maranatha!

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

  1. https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/maranatha/
  2. https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/1-corinthians-16/
  3. https://www.preceptaustin.org/maranatha

6 thoughts on “Maranatha”

  1. Great post, Meghan! You are right that Christians were persecuted for not worshiping Caesar (or the Imperial Cult at large). In the Greco-Roman world the birth of Caesar was considered “Good News” but to early Christians this news was anything but good! The birth announcements of Jesus in Matthew and Luke reveal the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ, Savior of the World, Son of God and Son of Man. Keep studying and writing! Lots of love and blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was the same. I was familiar with the word maranatha, but never gave it a second thought until I just happened to glance down at the footnote in my Bible. And my footnotes are tiny. Thank you so much Robin!

      Like

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