13: For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe. 14: For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: 15: Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: 16: Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost. 17: But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire. 18: Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us. 19: For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? 20: For ye are our glory and joy.
Paul is especially thankful to the Lord because when the Thessalonians received the gospel from Paul and his companions, they received it as it came from the Lord and not from men. It must have been presented in such a way as to indicate that this was not a message from them but from the Lord. Another lesson for evangelists! And says Paul, the Thessalonians became followers of the churches of God in Judea, and they suffered in the same way from the same Jews who murdered the Lord Jesus Christ and their own Jewish prophets and they have persecuted us. This is not pleasing to God and they are set at odds with all men. They forbid us to preach the gospel to the Gentiles so that Gentiles might be saved. And in doing this they pile sins on sins and the judgment of God is going to come on them very soon. Paul says, in contrast to them, we who are separated from you for a little while in presence but not in mind; want to see your face even much more. And l says Paul would have come to you more than once but Satan has hindered me. You will be our hope, joy and crown of rejoicing when we meet the Lord Jesus face to face at his coming. You are all that we glory in and our joy.