But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept. — 1 Corinthians 15:20.
Death is dreadful! We return to dust. But that does not make an end of us. Death is “the wages of sin” (Romans 6:23a). But Christ has taken our sin upon Himself and atoned for it. He entered into death and arose from the dead. He arose from the dead to give us sure comfort and hope. He has destroyed death. He is become “the first-fruits” (I Corinthians 15:20b) of them that sleep.
We who are His own in faith do but sleep when we die, and, in this sleep, nothing shall disturb us. Then we shall follow Him, the first-fruits, and shall likewise rise from the dead, full of eternal life, full of inexpressible joy, unto eternal bliss. Do you rejoice when now, in springtime, you behold the first little flower lift its head? Oh, yes, for you know that more shall follow, a rich profusion of spring and summer grandeur. So Christ, our first-fruits, has lifted up His head from the great burying-ground, but many will follow: all those who believe in Him. If Christ were not risen, we would all be lost in death. But now that Christ is risen, we all shall rise.
Once more we say: Everything, the truth of all the Scripture, the whole Christian faith, yea, everything depends upon the resurrection of Jesus. “If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins” (I Corinthians 15:17). “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept” (v. 20).
PRAYER – O faithful God, preserve me in the true and saving faith in my Savior, that I may continue to live for Him who lived and died for me and, at my death, preserve me in that true and saving faith in Him who loved me and gave Himself for me. Amen.
I am content! My Jesus is my Head,
His member I will be;
He bowed His head when on the cross;
He died with cries of agony;
now death is brought into subjection,
for me, too, by His resurrection.
I am content! I am content
(TLH, 196, st. 2)!