Jesus the firstling

453 Jesus the First

In this life, we run the risk of being persecuted for Christ. We give up the temporary treasures and joys of this world. If this life were everything we get, why should we give up something? If we give up everything for this one message that is not even true, we would rightly be ridiculed.

The gospel tells us that we have hope in Christ for a future life, because it depends on the resurrection of Jesus. Easter reminds us that Jesus came back to life - and He made us promise that we too will live again. If he had not risen, we would have no hope in this or future life. Jesus is truly risen, so we have hope.

Paul affirms the good news: "Christ has risen from the dead! He is the first whom God has raised. His resurrection gives us the assurance that even those who have died in faith in Jesus will be resurrected "(1 Kor 15,20 GNÜ).

In ancient Israel, the first corn harvested each year was carefully cut and offered in worship to God. Only then could the rest of the grain be eaten (3 Moses 23, 10-14 LUT). When they offered God the first-spring sheaf symbolizing Jesus, they acknowledged that all of their grain was a gift from God. The firstfruits represented the entire harvest.

Paul calls Jesus the Firstfruits and says at the same time that Jesus is God's promise for a much greater harvest that will come. He is the first to be risen, representing those who are raised. Our future depends on his resurrection. We follow him not only in his suffering, but also in his glory (Rom 8,17).

Paul does not see us as isolated individuals - he sees us as belonging to a group. To which group? Will we be people who follow Adam or those who follow Jesus?

"Death came through a human," Paul says. In the same way, "the resurrection of the dead is also by one man, for as all die in Adam, so all will become alive in Christ" (1 Kor 15,21-22 LUT). Adam was the firstfruits of death; Jesus was the first fruit of the resurrection. When we are in Adam, we share his death with him. When we are in Christ, we share with him his resurrection and eternal life.

The gospel says that all believers in Christ come to life. This is not just a temporary benefit in this life - we will enjoy it forever. "Each in turn: Christ is the firstling, then, when he comes, those who belong to him" (1 Kor 15,23 LUT). Just as Jesus has risen from the grave, we too will be resurrected to a new and unbelievably better life. We cheer! Christ has risen, and we with him!

by Michael Morrison