I Corinthians 15:19-23 (ESV)
19 If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all
people most to be pitied.
20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the
firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came
death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in
Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in
his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who
belong to Christ.
This is my second year of gardening peppers. It is
a much more exciting prospect the second time around for this city-boy
because I know what will follow. The plants grow, then little
flowers bud and finally, the first fruit of my care and anticipation
pushes its way through the dead pedals of the formerly tiny flowers.
It is a pepper, the first! And now I know that many will follow
because my pepper plants are following the Divine plan of God,
established at the dawn of their creation. First the flower, the
flower dies, the first fruit, then many to follow.
I was recently browsing my Facebook page, when I
noticed someone had posted a Youtube video of "Jesus Christ
Superstar", the finale, when Jesus emerges from his grave, alive and
full of glory. Many of the players are dancing around excitedly as
the play's theme is played loudly and energetically. It is a grand
celebration. I wanted to get up and dance, too, in excitement.
The excitement of seeing the first fruit of my home
garden peppers and the excitement of seeing a musical portrayal of the
resurrection of Jesus Christ helped me understand the spiritual
significance of the metaphor of "firstfruits". With the first
pepper comes the assurance of more peppers, I know for sure, now.
With the knowledge I have been given by the Spirit of Christ's
resurrection comes the assurance of faith, that I too will follow Him
when the flowering of my life ends on earth. "Christ the
firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ."
19 Therefore, brothers, since we have
confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new
and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is,
through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of
God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith,
with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies
washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope
without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us
consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not
neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging
one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Life is much more exciting when you see evidence of
what is coming next. From my first pepper, I know more peppers
will come. From the knowledge of Christ's resurrection, I know I
may follow into eternal life and encourage others with this hope.
by Pastor John
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