“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep…raised imperishable.”
I Corinthians 15:20, 42 (NIV)
We read that Jesus, through the power of God, raised a widow’s son from the dead, called Lazarus from the tomb, awakened a little girl who had died (Luke 7:14-15, John 11:43-44, Luke 8:49-56). Raised from the dead. Brought back to life. If they lived again after dying, what made Jesus’ resurrection so special? What set his now-dead, now-alive self apart from the others? Doesn’t all of Christianity rise and fall on this very idea that Christ died and was raised to life so that we might have eternal life? John 3:16 is the one reference always seen at sporting events! Shouldn’t there be something unique about his dying and coming back to life? There is.
I hear strains of ‘O Death where is thy sting?’ on Easter morning and it hits me, the difference…Death could not hold Jesus, had no claim on sinless God-Man; he simply walked out of its grasp.
Jesus was not the first to be raised from the dead, but he was the first to be raised to immortality—the perishable for the imperishable. The others, God simply breathed life back into their same stinking, dust-of-the-earth perishable bodies, eventually to die again. And, yes, Jesus’ resurrection does hold eternal significance.
Notice that Jesus is the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep…raised imperishable.
If He is the firstfruits, that means there are more to follow. That’s the resurrection promise for us. That someday God will raise us up, the perishable body traded for an imperishable, immortal one. Eternal life because of Jesus. And this is what takes the sting out of death.
Are you walking in this hope?
Sweet Heavenly Father, thank you that there WAS something special about Jesus’ death and resurrection, that Death could not hold Jesus in the grave because he was sinless and didn’t have a death warrant with his name on it. Thank you that I, too, can anticipate and hope for being raised imperishable someday, just like Jesus…because of Jesus.