Do you like to plant a garden? What about seeing the first flowers of Spring? Around my house this time of year sees my husband, Tom, tilling our garden spot and ordering seeds. My aunt Margaret and Tom competed in a friendly race every year. Each Sunday Margaret would come into church with a sly smile and glint in her eye. For she didn’t wait until Spring sprung to plan her garden. She began early in February planting her seed inside. She would have the first ripe red tomato before July 4th. Try as he may, Tom never had the first. So he relinquished himself to trying to grow the biggest! Me? I enjoyed the first fruits of their labors. Grocery store tomatoes cannot compare with the taste of a fresh garden ripe juicy tomato.
The first fruits are the best for they hold the promise of more to come. God commanded Israel to offer him their first fruits back in the days when they approached the promised land – at this time fruit for which they had not labored.
“But now is Christ risen from the dead,
and become the firstfruits of them that slept.”
The apostle Paul tells us Jesus Christ is the first fruits of the dead. He took on the corruptible flesh of humans in all its weaknesses, including death. He was planted in a borrowed garden tomb. He was raised to life in a new body to never taste death again.
The Lord God received Jesus’s completed sin offering as proven in his resurrection – which came to pass on the day of Israel’s first fruits.
“So also is the resurrection of the dead.
- It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption…
- sown in dishonour…raised in glory…
- sown in weakness…raised in power…
- sown a natural body…raised a spiritual body.
- And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul;
- the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.” 1 Corinthians 15:42-45.
Being the first fruit of the dead meant more would follow- born of the same root.
“For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy:
and if the root be holy, so are the branches…
Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth,
that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.”
Romans 11:16; James 1:18
Jesus is the vine – our source of life. We are the branches – branches to bear his fruit.
“I am the vine, ye are the branches:
He that abideth in me, and I in him,
the same bringeth forth much fruit:
for without me ye can do nothing…
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
longsuffering, gentleness, goodness,
faith, Meekness, temperance… “
John 15:5; Galatians 5:22-23
God plants the seed of the Gospel in the hearts of Christ’s followers. It bears the fruit of Christ in us. We are a taste to the world of what is to come, and the final harvest is gathered. May our lives create a hunger for more of Christ.
For now, we reap the benefits of Christ the first fruit from the dead. He is our hope in trials, in disappointments, in discouragements. His Spirit in us is our hope and strength – our guarantee of never having to taste death.
Unlike the gardens we plant and the first being the best, our first taste of life in Christ offers us more than the world can, but the best is yet to come. If you have not experienced the first taste of the fruit of Christ, God invites you –
“O taste and see that the LORD is good:
blessed is the man that trusteth in him.”
He will fill your life here with His goodness even when life throws rotten fruit at you. My aunt knew this truth as she battled Parkinsons and began losing her memory. She never lost the glint in her eye nor that sly smile. She knew the best was yet to come.
What difference does the resurrection of Christ make in how you live life today?