April 1 I Sunday
“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.”
—1 Corinthians 15:20
On Good Friday, we celebrate the victory Jesus received over death and sin on the cross. His sacrifice bridged the gap between us and God, paying the penalty for our sin so we could be forgiven and reconciled to God. But His followers were not celebrating on the Saturday after Jesus’s death. They were in mourning over their Teacher, Lord and Saviour dying on a Roman cross. In their grief, they likely started wondering whether the movement He had begun would crumble, whether His words could still be trusted and how long it would take before Jewish authorities would have them arrested as well.
If the story ended with Friday, there would be no reason for us to celebrate either. Without the resurrection, we would be left with wishful thinking in a dead man’s promises instead of confident assurance in a resurrected Saviour. While His death would have been sufficient to cover the penalty for our sin, there would be no way of knowing for certain that the Father had accepted Christ’s sacrifice. We might have tried to devise other ways, some even falling back on the Old Testament sacrificial system “just in case,” seeking to make amends with God because we could never be sure if Jesus’s death had been enough.
But thanks be to God, Christ was raised on the third day! He first appeared to Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome; then to the 11 remaining disciples and to 500 other brothers and sisters in the faith. His resurrection was a crushing blow to sin and death, revealing they have no hold over Him, and assuring us that Christ’s sacrifice had paid our penalty for sin once and for all.
In the opening Scripture verse, Paul refers to Jesus as “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” By firstfruits, he means the first reaping of the harvest of resurrected life. Although we are all born in Adam and subject to sin and death, Paul celebrates that “God made you alive with Christ” (Colossians 2:13).The spiritual life lost to humankind when Adam and Eve sinned is born in us with the inception of the Holy Spirit when we accept God’s gift of salvation offered through the cross of Christ.
Jesus’s crucifixion is the single most important moment in all of history, but what assures us of that moment’s effectiveness is the resurrection. Without that, we would never be certain His death accomplished anything. But because of the resurrection, we can confidently live in the security of Christ’s love, the freedom His death has given us over sin and in the eternal life our resurrected Lord imputes to us by faith in Him.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I often thank You for dying for me, but today I thank You for the resurrection and how Your victory over sin and death gives me eternal life in You. Thank You, God.