(Taken from Our Daily Homily by F. B. Meyer)
But now is Christ risen from the dead, [and] become the firstfruits of them that slept - 1 Corinthians 15:20
Words which are altogether transcendent! How they thrill us and inspire! What memories they recall! How impossible is it not to feel their majesty. Surely no brain nor lip of man had begotten them! They bear the mint-mark of heaven.
On the day that Jesus arose, the first-fruit sheaf of the barley harvest was being waved by the High Priest in the Temple, as the representative of the myriads that stood stacked amid the stubble of the fields. It was the specimen sheaf--representative, pattern, and pledge of all the rest. The risen Christ is the pattern and pledge of what His people will be when their bodies shall be fashioned anew in the likeness of His resurrection.
He is pattern.--His body bore the same general outlines as before; so will theirs. It was recognizable by those who had known and loved Him, even to the tones of His voice; so will it be with theirs. It was the ethereal and pliant instrument of His spirit; so will theirs be. It could no more return to corruption; no more will theirs. It was invulnerable to disease and pain; such an experience awaits them too.
He is pledge.--He does not stand alone. He is united to us by a myriad indissoluble ties. What the power of God did for Him it will do for us. Those that sleep in Jesus God will bring with Him, and we that are alive and remain shall be caught up. There shall not a hoof be left behind. Not one purchased body of a saint, however obscure or unworthy, shall be excepted from the effect of the voice of the archangel and the trump of God. Meanwhile, in the kindly embrace of Mother Earth, like the seed-germs of a vast harvest, the resurrection principle in the bodies of the saints awaits the resurrection signal.