The Promise of First Fruit
It may not look like much to you, but to Walter and me, it's gold. You are looking at the first fruits of our garden. It isn't enough to feed our family of six, but it holds the promise of things yet to come within it.
In the Old Testament, the first fruits were presented to God as an offering. It is celebrated over Passover and lasts for three days. An individual would bring a sheaf of wheat to the temple and wave it before the Lord. Nothing could be harvested until the first was presented unto God. Interestingly, we find Christ risen from the dead when? On Passover, we celebrate Yeshua as the Lamb of God, who takes away the world's sins. The Feast of Unleavened Bread reveals His sinless character, and in the Firstfruits on the third day, we celebrate His resurrection. As believers in Christ, this is of vital importance to our faith. The Apostle Paul tells us,
"But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming, then comes the end when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power." I Cor. 15:20-24
The term "first" implies that more is yet to come. So, Christ is the first fruit of the resurrection so that we, too, could be raised in resurrection power. Just as my seeds had to first be planted before a harvest could be realized, as Christ's, we are called to die to sin to be raised! Paul touches on this several verses down in I Corinthians fifteen, verses 42-49.
"So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So aso it is written, 'The first man, Adam, became a living soul.' The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly."
We cannot do this of ourselves; it is only possible because Christ did it first, making the way for us. He is the first fruit of the resurrection. We are living beings, sharing in the suffering of Christ and the power of His resurrection, and this is our hope for the future. We have all heard the following regarding the imminent rapture of the church,
"Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, 'Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your victory? O Death, where is your sting?' The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." I Cor. 15:50-57
We celebrate Christ as our first fruits because more is coming. More will be resurrected from the dead. More will put on immortality. More will become imperishable. If you know Christ, my friend, you are part of the "More." What a reason to rejoice! We are victorious through Christ Jesus, our Lord! It is not just about Christ's resurrection, but our own, from death to life.
I am excited about the first fruits of our garden because it contains a promise. Just as these first vegetables were harvested, so too, more will come after. Until then, I must carefully continue cultivating my garden, looking forward to the total harvest. As I work, I remember Christ as the first fruit, and I look forward to the day of His return when that trumpet will sound. It's soon. So, I exhort you, as Paul did,
"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord." I Cor. 15:58