Jesus Is the Firstfruits of the Resurrection
Open Your Bible
1 Corinthians 15:1-28, Colossians 3:1-17
I spent much of my twenties running a high school theatre department. We had so much fun. There are few things that bond people together like putting on a show with limited time and resources. One year we produced a spoof on Shakespeare. There was one line, shouted frantically by a young man dressed in an ornate Elizabethan dress as Juliet, that still makes me laugh: “SWEAR NOT BY THE MOON!”
In Shakespeare’s original play, Romeo and Juliet, young Juliet uses these words to warn Romeo to be careful with his vows, to not swear his love by the “inconstant moon,” which is ever-changing in its phases. Turns out Juliet’s warning is actually profound and timely advice for more folks than just Romeo.
What we swear by is what we put our trust in, and it’s easy to misplace our trust. Maybe you don’t swear by the moon, but are you inclined to swear by your bank account, your job, your retirement plans, or your carefully scheduled week? It’s tempting to hope in things that are ultimately destined to fail, but when we try to build upon the unsteady foundation of our own whims and wistful thinking, we end up disappointed.
Paul’s address to the church at Corinth, however, leaves no question about where we can lay our hope and fix our trust. He clarifies that the gospel does not fall short in any way. What is this gospel hope Paul speaks of? It is simply this: Christ was crucified for our transgressions and raised from the dead (Romans 4:25).
If Christ has not been raised from the dead, then we are much to be pitied (1 Corinthians 15:12–19). Like foolish Shakespearean moon-swearers, we have put our trust in something unreliable. How ridiculous would it be to trust in a god who dies and has no power beyond this earthly life? And so, if Christ has not been raised, then our faith in Him is as worthless as faith in the stock market or faith in the moon.
But Scripture is unequivocal: Christ has been raised from the dead. This declaration is no fool’s hope, but the sure foundation of our faith. Our faith is confirmed by fulfilled prophecy and eyewitness accounts. We can bet everything on Christ. Because “He has been raised from the dead,” we don’t have to swear by the moon or anything else. Our hope is secure in Christ’s resurrection.
Jesus Christ died and rose again for us. This is good news for the whole body of Christ, because “if the firstfruits are holy, so is the whole batch. And if the root is holy, so are the branches” (Romans 11:16). Because He has been raised, we who are united to Him by faith also have the guarantee of resurrection life, an everlasting and sure hope.