“But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” – 1 Corinthians 15:20
Scripture reading: 1 Corinthians 15:20-28
As we saw yesterday, Paul argued that denying a future resurrection implied that Christ himself did not rise from the dead. Such a denial is no trifling matter. If Christ has not risen from the dead, the Christian faith is pointless, and Christians are of all people most pitiable. In today’s passage, the apostle continues to underscore the inseparable link between Christ’s resurrection and the resurrection of believers.
Paul here envisions the resurrection of all believers—past, present and future—as a great harvest and Christ’s resurrection as the firstfruits, the initial yield of that harvest. Since the firstfruits of the harvest are already in, the rest of the harvest will undoubtedly follow. In this sense, Christ’s resurrection is a pledge of the resurrection of believers.
Corresponding to this conception of the resurrection as a harvest, Paul in this chapter compares burial to the planting of seeds. When a body is buried, a seed is planted which will be harvested at the resurrection when Christ returns. Christians in times past would appropriately call cemeteries “God’s acre” or “God’s field.” Cemeteries in this biblical analogy are fields of planted seeds, often in rows, waiting to arise as resurrection bodies.
Suggestions for prayer
Ask God to enable you to see the interments of your believing friends and family as rituals in which seeds are being sown to be harvested when Christ returns.
Dr. Bill DeJong is the lead pastor of Blessings Christian church in Hamilton, ON and adjunct professor of Religion and Theology at Redeemer University in Ancaster, ON. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.