Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Jan 30 - 1 Thessalonians 4:14

since we believe that Jesus died
and was raised to life again,
we also believe that when Jesus comes,
God will bring back with Jesus
all the Christians who have died.
1 Thessalonians 4:14

Do you know what a “first fruit” is?

It’s the first tomato off the vine in the beginning of summer.

Now while this first tomato may not be technically the best of all the tomatoes that you’ll grow during the season, it always tastes the best! Why? Because you haven’t had a truly fresh tomato in nine months. And in comparison to your last canned tomato, this one is a million times better!

A first fruit is a promise – it is a foretaste of something greater to come.
  •       First, it is the promise of a glorious new season of fresh food and wonderful tastes!

  •      More importantly, it is the promise of another year of life. Think about it … most modern Americas think of food as coming from a grocery store. In agricultural societies, the first fruit was the promise of life instead of famine! The first fruit was a celebration of monumental proportions.

Jesus’ resurrection was a first fruit.

Paul literally called it that in 1 Corinthians 15:20. He said, “Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died.” Another translation conveys the importance of this even more clearly. Jesus resurrection is “the first of a great harvest of those who will be raised to life again.”

In 1 Corinthians 15 … and in our verse for today, 1 Thessalonians 4 … and in several other places in Paul’s writings … the Apostle links our Christian faith, hope, and confidence to the reality of the resurrection. Paul is saying …
  •       Jesus died. One day, we too will die.
  •       Jesus rose. One day, we too can rise!
  •       If we’re confident in his resurrection, we can be confident in our resurrection.
  •       If we’re not confident of the reality of Jesus’ resurrection, we – as Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:19 – “most to be pitied.”

The resurrection is the key to the Christian faith. As Paul says, “if Christ has not been raised, then … your faith has been in vain” (1 Cor 15:14). But Jesus has been raised, and he is the first fruit – the first tomato. He is the promise of a season of feasting – here and now and while we’re alive on earth. And he’s the promise of an eternal feast. Death and famine do not have the final word. Resurrection and life are the final reality.

In Christ’s Love,
a guy who’s suddenly hungry
for summer and a tomato sandwich

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