Sunday’s Resurrection Celebration – The First Fruits of the Harvest

Sunday, we celebrate the Resurrection of Christ, our Lord. He is risen, He is risen indeed. We celebrate for several reasons: because he came (God in flesh), because his death has redeemed man and reconciled us to God, and because he rose again giving us hope in the eternal life to come. Paul describes it in 1 Corinthians 15:16-24 as the “First Fruits”. Christ’s resurrection is the First Fruits of the harvest were the saints are resurrected:

“[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.”1 Corinthians 15:16-24 (ESV)

I think this quote from George Eldon Ladd helps us ponder the glorious mystery of the resurrection and explains it in a what that brings great joy and celebration:

“Jesus’ resurrection belongs to a new and higher order: to the order of the Age to Come, of eternal life. This witness of the gospels is reinforced by Paul’s discussion of the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15. While Paul is here concerned with the eschatological resurrection of saints at the parousia, this eschatological resurrection is inseparable from the resurrection of Jesus because he describes these two resurrections as two parts of a single event. The resurrection of Jesus is the first fruits of the eschatological resurrection (1 Cor 15:20). All who are in Christ stand in solidarity with him as all men in Adam stand in solidarity with Adam. All in Adam share Adam’s death, so all who are in Christ will share Christ’s life. “But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ” (1 Cor 15:23).

The resurrection of Christ and the resurrection of those who belong to Christ constitute two parts of a single entity, two acts in a single drama, two stages of a single process. The temporal relationship is unimportant. It matters not how long an interval of time intervenes between these two stages of the resurrection. This does not affect the logical relationship or, it would be better to say, the theological relationship. Jesus’ resurrection is the “first fruits” of the eschatological resurrection at the end of the age. First fruits were common in Palestinian agriculture. They were the first grain of the harvest, indicating that the harvest itself was ripe and ready to be gathered in. The first fruits were not the harvest itself, yet they were more than a pledge and promise of the harvest. They were the actual beginning of the harvest. The act of reaping had already begun: the grain was being cut.

Jesus’ resurrection is not an isolated event that gives to men the warm confidence and hope of a future resurrection; it is the beginning of the eschatological resurrection itself. If we may use crude terms to try to describe sublime realities, we might say that a piece of the eschatological resurrection has been split off and planted in the midst of history. The first act of the drama of the last Day as taken place before the Day of the Lord.” (G.E Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament, Eerdmans, 1975, Page 328)

So, this Sunday, celebrate that the resurrection we look forward and have great hope in as Paul talks about in his first letter to the Corinthians is part of the same harvest from which Jesus’ resurrection has Ladd says in this quote, Christ’s resurrection is a piece of the eschatological resurrection broken off and place in time and space, in human history.

Celebrate…He is Risen.

[20] He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you [21] who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. – 1 Peter 1:20-21 (ESV)

5 thoughts on “Sunday’s Resurrection Celebration – The First Fruits of the Harvest

  1. George Eldon Ladd says it so well. 🙂

    This is what should be of utmost importance to us…the risen Lord.


  2. “Didn’t used to be, but has become my favorite holiday on the calendar.”

    Opposite for me!

    In Christ -Jim


  3. This has been my favorite day for the year for almost the last 10-12yrs. I have always hoped that we, who are in Christ Jesus, would be raised also on this day! (It could happen!).


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