But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a Man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at His coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
Have you ever grown a vegetable garden? Every year my family puts in tomatoes, and sometimes Vietnamese vegetables like bitter melon and weird-looking squash. I don't care for the way the squash tastes—we usually give it away—but I look forward to those first tomatoes. I eat them right there in the tomato patch, after wiping them clean on my shirt. Nothing ever tasted so good.
Those first tomatoes taste all the sweeter because I know what they mean—that many, many more are on the way, in just a week or two, when the kitchen will be overflowing, and people will be bringing boxes full to church. Those first tomatoes are the firstfruits—the warm, sweet guarantee of the rest of the crop. They are a sign of hope rewarded—the high point in the cycle from early spring faith to mid-summer reality.
This is why Jesus is called the firstfruits from the dead. He is the very first Person ever to rise from the dead, never to die again—living forever with the indestructible, joyful life of God's children. He is the first—but He will not be the last. There is a huge crop coming—all the people of God who belong to Jesus. Everyone Jesus died and rose for, everyone who trusts in Him, will be part of that crop. We, too, will rise on the Last Day—complete again, body and soul. And we will rejoice.
Right now, to be sure, it's still the planting season. And sometimes it is hard for us to imagine that far-off harvest, when all God's people are alive again—when the cemeteries are empty and the universe rings with rejoicing. But it will happen. We have our firstfruits already to guarantee it—Jesus, our Savior.
Lord, especially when I'm grieving or afraid, help me to find hope and strength in Your resurrection. Amen.
Dr. Kari Vo
1. What "firstfruits" do you look forward to the most, either from your garden or in the market?Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
2. Do you often think about your future resurrection, or that of the people you love? Why or why not?
3. Does it help you to know that Jesus has already gone ahead of us through death and resurrection? Why or why not?
Have you ever grown a vegetable garden?