Firstfruit from Death Guarantees the Coming Harvest

The farmer handed buckets to us, the blueberry pickers. "You're kinda early," he said. "The main crop's not ready yet, so you're gonna have to be choosy. Pick only what is fully ripe. Leave the rest. The good part is, all of the biggest and best is still here."

He was right. It took a lot longer, but we got some of the best blueberries ever. The firstfruit is the best, but it signals a greater harvest to come.

To prove to some skeptics that the resurrection is not foolish, Paul ties our future rising to a sure event of the past: "Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruit of those who have fallen asleep" (1 Cor. 15:20).

Nicodemus and Joseph mourn as they wash and then wrap the lifeless, pale body. Just hours ago he was warm, animated, and healthy. Now he is cold, still, and dead. So sad. Yet on the third day that corpse was transformed. It was not just restored to life, but taken beyond resuscitation to an imperishable, immortal, and glorified state. God's harvest thus began with the Best of the best, raised from the dead.

Yes, He's the Best of the best, but some day--soon, we hope--will come the rest: a tremendous crop of resurrected human beings, joyfully finding their bodies metamorphasized into incorruptibility and spiritual vitality. The Firstfruit has already been picked; the rest of the harvest will follow.

The firstfruit is its guarantee. Nothing is more certain. Meanwhile, the planting continues. As we commit body after body to the earth, God assures us that after the planting will come the harvest, rich and full. When you stare at death's toothy smile, look over his shoulder at the smile of another--the Firstfruit. This is not the end, but only the beginning.

* * *

Copyright ©2005 Steve Singleton, All rights reserved.

Steve Singleton has written and edited several books and numerous articles on subjects of interest to Bible students. He has taught Greek, Bible, and religious studies courses Bible college, university, and adult education programs. He has taught seminars and workshops in 11 states and the Caribbean.

Go to his for Bible study resources, no matter what your level of expertise. Explore "The Shallows," plumb "The Depths," or use the well-organized "Study Links" for original sources in English translation. Sign up for Steve's free "DeeperStudy Newsletter."

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