The Resurrection Is the Hope of Christians.
Read 1 Corinthians 15:20-49
“But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.”
The older we get, the more we are aware of our mortality and how quickly life passes. When we are young, the prospect of living 70-80 years seems like an eternity. No matter what our dreams, there seems to be enough time to accomplish them. But time quickly passes, and before we know it, we realize the one thing most precious, and the one thing that can never be redeemed, is time. We can lose a fortune through bad investments and regain it again through hard work and shrewd business. But once we lose time, it is gone, never to be regained. The older we become, the more we realize that our most treasured possession is time itself, and it is the one thing we cannot save, and we cannot regain. The Psalmist captures the rapidity of time when he states, “As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the filed, so he flourishes. When the wind passed over it, it is no more, and its place acknowledges it no longer” (Psalm 103:15-16). Daily we are confronted with the reality and pain of death.
For Paul, the resurrection did more than just affirm the validity of the gospel and the person and ministry of Christ. The resurrection is the foundation of our hope in our losing battle with death. In the Old Testament, the feast of the first fruits (Leviticus 23:1-2, 9-14) was a time when the people would offer the first of the harvest to God as an act of worship in celebration of God’s provision. It also served to be their guarantee and confidence that God would provide for the rest of the harvest. This is what Paul is alluding to when he mentions that Christ is the first fruits of those who are asleep. His resurrection serves as the guarantee that the rest of his people would be resurrected as well. Because of his sin, Adam brought death; Christ, because of his righteousness, brings life.
This hope enables us to look beyond the tragedy and sorrow of death and have confidence in the face of its inevitable onslaught. Sin brought death and suffering. Christ brings life and confidence that the chains of death are broken. While death may bring an end to life on this earth, it does not bring an end to life itself. Consequently, Paul could face death without flinching in his faith (vss. 29-34). Instead of being paralyzed by fear, he could focus on fulfilling the ministry God has called him to accomplish.
This last year we have been reminded daily of the frailty of life. Yet we must also remember the certainty of life for those who have embraced Christ as their Savior. Physical death is no longer the final destiny. In the resurrection of Christ, He provided the hope and confidence that we have the promise of eternal life. In His resurrection, Christ defeated the tyranny of death’s reign and brought us hope and confidence beyond the grave. Instead of living life in fear, we can now focus on serving God. Instead of death being the end, it becomes the gateway to a new and imperishable life. This is the hope we have. While time relentlessly marches towards the end of our life, we no longer need to fear but have confidence because in Christ’s resurrection, we obtain the guarantee of our resurrection as well.