16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, 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. 24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.
I’ve been leading worship for most of my life. I have had the opportunity to lead the music on Easter Sunday for about 12 years. I studied theology in college. Still, with all that exposure to the ideas surrounding the resurrection, I missed some of its significance until about five years ago. I don’t recall if it was a sermon, a podcast, or simply scripture reading, but I remember suddenly realizing Easter wasn’t just a celebration of Christ’s resurrection. It is also a celebration that we too will rise again one day.
In verse 23, Paul tells us that Christ is the “firstfruits.” Jesus made the way for all of us to rise again one day. That is why death no longer has a sting. Not even death can overcome God’s forgiving love and our adoption by him. Death is dead. Resurrection isn’t just a thing that happened to Jesus; it is a thing that is promised to each of us who follow him. We, too, will rise again. It truly is good news! I don’t know about you, but that changes my thoughts about Easter. It changes the way I feel about those who have died during my life.
Take a moment to listen to this song: Glorious Day. Remember that these words are both metaphors and reality. He makes dead things come alive in your heart, but one day he will make your physical body come alive again.