But now Christ is risen from the dead and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 1 Corinthians 15:20
The firstfruits. It is the first produce of a crop each harvest season. Proverbs instructs us that we are to honor God with the firstfruit of all our increase. It means we give our first and best to God.
I imagine what it was like when people actually gave their produce from an agricultural harvest. It would be the beginning of each harvest season, when the first of the crop is ready to be gathered in. People would watch and eagerly wait for the firstfruits to be ready to bring in and then, after it was collected, it would be offered to God as the firstfruits offering. The first and best offering of the season. Of course, they tithed on everything that came in after that, but the first fruit was the most anticipated because they were ready and watching for that crop to be fully ripened for the first pickings. Not for themselves, but for God!
I can relate to this on a small level, having a small garden of my own. After it is planted each spring, we carefully watch over and tend to the needs of that vegetation. Then we watch as it begins to grow and ripen until completion. It is quite a process. By the time it is finally ready, we are too. We are excited when the first is ready to be picked and look forward to when we can actually eat from our garden and enjoy it for the rest of the season.
Today we are talking about Jesus being the firstfruit raised up from the dead. If you imagine that He was placed in the ground and raised up, like a harvest growing to full maturity until God His Father brought Him out of the grave. He was the first “seed” that produced and entire crop of people who would be raised up with Him in salvation. His sacrifice was an offering to God, but His resurrection became the firstfruit that brought in the greatest harvest of all time, the family of God! Not to be consumed, but to be an offering to the world.
Jesus’ sacrifice was the greatest offering to God for our sin, but His resurrection was the greatest gift to us from God for new life. Now we are God’s greatest gift to the world to gather in the family He sent Jesus to rescue from the clutches of hell.
Today I want to encourage you to reap your harvest of salvation. If you have never received God’s first and best for you, receive it today in His salvation through Christ Jesus. Pray this prayer or something like it and invite Jesus into your life:
Pray: God in heaven, I know I’m a sinner and I need a Savior. I want to turn away from my sinful life to the life You have planned for me. Please forgive me from my sins, cleanse me from my past, and make me new. I know your Son, Jesus died for me. I believe in my heart that You raised Him form the dead. At this very moment, I accept, confess and proclaim Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior . . . to be Lord of my life from this day forward. Thank you, Jesus for Your grace that has saved me from my sin and has given me eternal life. I now have a right relationship with God my Father. I also ask for Your Holy Spirit to guide me and to empower me to do the things that You have planned for my life in Jesus name, Amen
Today’s scripture reading: 1 Corinthians 15:20-28