12 So if the message that is preached says that Christ has been raised from the dead, then how can some of you say, “There’s no resurrection of the dead”? 13 If there’s no resurrection of the dead, then Christ hasn’t been raised either. 14 If Christ hasn’t been raised, then our preaching is useless and your faith is useless. 15 We are found to be false witnesses about God, because we testified against God that he raised Christ, when he didn’t raise him if it’s the case that the dead aren’t raised. 16 If the dead aren’t raised, then Christ hasn’t been raised either. 17 If Christ hasn’t been raised, then your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins, 18 and what’s more, those who have died in Christ are gone forever. 19 If we have a hope in Christ only in this life, then we deserve to be pitied more than anyone else.
20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead. He’s the first crop of the harvest of those who have died. 21 Since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead came through one too. 22 In the same way that everyone dies in Adam, so also everyone will be given life in Christ.
Nothing is better than the first fruit of spring. Going strawberry picking and eating fresh, tender, juicy strawberries that are amazingly sweet. Or waiting half of the summer to take that first bite of a vine ripened Jersey tomato. The first fruit is always the best and most anticipated, a promise of more to follow.
The people in Corinth were asking the same questions people ask today. They want proof. Did God really raise Jesus from the dead? And if Jesus was not raised from the dead, what hope is there for us to be raised with him? If we do not believe Jesus was resurrected then our faith is useless, and we are left hopeless and are to be pitied.
During this pandemic we are faced with so many scenes of death. Our first responders, and our essential and medical personnel are on the frontlines. So many people we know and love have been lost. It seems we are surrounded by death and despair. We lose heart because the every day fabric of our ‘normal’ lives has been torn from us and nothing seems right. We can not plan with certainty, we can only wait in hope.
But Paul has answers to the questions we ask, because he was an eye witness to the risen Jesus who spoke to him on the road to Damascus. He knows God raised Jesus from the dead, he knows we will be raised from the dead and we will all be made alive. We have this promise because Jesus was the “first fruit” of the dead. He is the joy after the waiting through the long winter of despair. Jesus is the first to rise, the first fruit, and the promise to all of us who will one day rise with him.
By Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer
Life is really challenging right now. Our faith may feel tested and bruised. We don’t know what will happen, we feel so out of control, we are frustrated, anxious and afraid. Hear the good news: Jesus is indeed risen! Rely on God. Rest in his loving arms. During this time of uncertainty you can rely on the promises of God. God loves us, God is with us, and God will never leave us.
Prayer: Loving God, I’m surrounded by uncertainty. The world is struggling and in pain. There are so many who need prayer and your healing touch. You tell us not to be afraid, but sometimes I am afraid. Teach me to trust in you. Do not let me despair, for you are the hope of the hopeless. Help us to come through this dark night into the newness of resurrected life. Amen.