Another Reason Why the Resurrection Matters So Much

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died.

1 Corinthians 15:20

In last Friday's post, I offered one reason why the resurrection of Jesus matters so much. It completes the work of salvation that began with the crucifixion. Moreover, it demonstrates that the death of Christ did indeed vanquish sin and death.

There are many more reasons why the resurrection matters, one of which Paul explores in 1 Corinthians 15. This reason is generally less familiar to Christians, and it can even seem rather strange to us. According to 1 Corinthians 15:20, in being raised from the dead, Christ became "the first of a great harvest of all who have died." The Greek refers to Christ as the "firstfruits" of those who "have fallen asleep" (Greek aparche). The firstfruits are, literally, the initial results of a harvest. In Judaism, the best parts of the early harvest were to be offered to the Lord (Exod 23:19).

Using this agricultural and liturgical image, Paul portrays the resurrection of Christ as the beginning of a much greater "harvest." In the verses that follow, we learn that we too will be raised from the dead. Thus the resurrection of Christ matters because it shows us what lies ahead for us. It inspires our hope and reminds us that our lives have eternal significance. When we die, we will not pass into nothingness. Nor will we be absorbed into some great cloud of transcendence. Rather, our identities will be preserved so that we might live in the fullness of life.

Paul's teaching on our resurrection raises the question of how this will happen and what our bodies will be like. To this subject I'll turn tomorrow. For now, I would urge you to consider how the hope of your own resurrection might impact your life today.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Is the idea of your resurrection a familiar one to you? Or does it seem strange? How does the fact that you will be raised from the dead impact the way you think about your life today?

Dear God, thank you for the resurrection of Christ, which not only shows me that salvation comes indeed through Christ, but also reassures me that my own life will continue beyond the grave.

I have many questions about this, as you know, Lord. There will be time to think about them later. Today I want to thank you for the life that I have in you, and for the promise of life beyond this life. I also want to thank you for the knowledge that who I am will continue into the future. As I reflect upon this truth, I find that I want my life to count, not just for this world, but for eternity.

All praise be to you, Lord Jesus Christ, because you rose from the dead, the firstfruits of the great harvest that is to come. Amen.