1 Corinthians 15:20-28
But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.
As Paul continues his great argument for Christ’s resurrection, he turns to its implications for us as believers. In today’s passage, Paul brilliantly encapsulates all of sacred history.
By one man, Adam, death entered humanity. By another man, Christ, comes the resurrection from death. But rather than leave his story there, Paul tells us Christ represents only the beginning- “the first fruits”. At His coming will be the full harvest, we who belong to Him will also be resurrected. After that He will subject everything to His power, every authority, every rule and the last enemy to be destroyed will be death itself. When all is accomplished, Christ himself will bow to God the Father that God alone may be all in all.
In a matter of sentences, Paul has traced all of history from paradise lost, to paradise regained, and ultimately to the submission of all things to God as at the beginning of creation. The guarantee for all of this is the resurrection of Christ.
Having been raised in the church and having sung in the choir since a child, Easter has always been a time for exceptional music. (Today’s passage contains the lyrics to one of my favorite choruses and arias from Handel’s Messiah.) Many years the only question I had about Easter was how close it followed after Christmas and would there be enough rehearsal time. I have to admit that I often took these events on the Church calendar for granted. Sadly, I celebrated Easter and often missed much of its importance.
The Easter celebration of the resurrection of Christ, which Paul explains in today’s passage, is at the very core of our faith. Indeed, it anchors our individual salvation. But make no mistake, Christ’s resurrection means so much more beyond our personal experience of grace. Christ’s resurrection anchors the outcome of all of history itself! Because of his resurrection, we know that all authorities, all powers, all enemies, including death itself, will ultimately be subjected to God’s authority for all of eternity.
Note: Each day’s devotional is written by a different member of the GRC family.