“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him” (1 Corinthians 15:20-23).
We can agree that “Christ has been raised from the dead,” but consider it an isolated incident. No different than the resurrection of Lazarus or the widow’s son or Jairus’ daughter during Jesus’ ministry. But the resurrection of Jesus Christ is not confined to the pages of history.
Like a diary discovered by Harry Potter comes to life, enveloping him into its contents, when the Bible proclaims the resurrection it opens the tomb of your own life and death, and draws you into Jesus Christ’s tomb.
Jesus Christ is “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” Firstfruits were the first fruits, or initial crops, harvested and then sacrificed as offerings to God. It takes trusting obedience to do that, believing that you’ll be gathering more crops by God’s abundant blessing. And it happens.
So the Bible is telling us that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the first of many more. Yes, we will “all die,” like Adam, but “in Christ all will be made alive.” Believers who die simply fall asleep physically, with expired bodies planted in the ground like flower bulbs. On Judgment Day, when Jesus Christ returns to earth, our bodies will wake up, burst forth like flowers, and live in heaven forever reattached to our souls.
“But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.” You do not belong to your boss or to the burden of caring for others—so why are you living as if they own you? You do not belong to cancer or to career confusion—so why are you living as if they are your only identity? You do not belong to sin’s curse or addiction’s control, you do not belong to your temper, your inability to say no, or your past mistakes.
You “belong to him,” Jesus Christ. He owns you. You have identity and purpose in him. Your destiny is locked securely to him and his resurrection. Live joyfully and confidently above your circumstances, which do not own you. You belong to Jesus Christ.
PRAYER: Living Christ, risen from death, raise me to a new life today and an eternal life when I die. Lead me to live with joyful confidence that I belong to you. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Read 1 Corinthians 15:35-58. How does the Bible use the following as “evidence” that the final resurrection on Judgment Day is both body and soul? 1) A seed. 2) Adam. Meditate on v. 58 and what it looks like for you to live victoriously this week. Say a prayer using the PRAY acronym.
- Praise (tell God what you appreciate about him)
- Repent (tell God about your sins, trust in his promises of forgiveness)
- Ask (go ahead, think big, or focus on a small detail, God wants to hear it all)
- Yield (talk to God about the next step after you say “Amen,” how you want faith to lead the way, how you are willing to be part of his answer and see it develop for your good)