But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. For “He has put all things under His feet.” But when He says “all things are put under Him,” it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all. (1 Corinthians 15:20–28)
It’s striking to me when it comes to our reading from 1 Corinthians. It’s striking to me because it’s so straightforward. Paul made it so straightforward for the comfort of the Christians in Corinth, but this is also for our comfort. 1 Corinthians 15 is the great resurrection chapter. Paul clearly confesses, preaches, and teaches the resurrection: not only Christ’s, but ours as well. If Christ hasn’t been raised, the Christian faith is meaningless, useless, and we should be pitied. If ever they found Jesus’ body, the Christian faith would be ended that very day. Because if Christ hasn’t been raised, then we are still in our sins, and if Christ hasn’t been raised, we won’t be raised either.
But we don’t have to worry because Paul is very clear on this point: this isn’t the case. “Now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. He died for our sins, but He didn’t stay dead. He rose from the dead. He undid Adam’s curse. We all die in Adam, but in Christ we all all live and shall live. This is so now, at this very moment, Christ is risen, and we who are baptized into that life shall live also.
This is for our comfort because we’ve got so much junk in our lives. We’ve got the hurts and pains of family struggles, we’ve got sickness, pains, weakness, age, colds, sniffles, we’ve got emotional and spiritual struggles too. But none of that will win the day. All of those things are signs of death. But Christ is risen from the dead, and we who are in Him shall live even though we die.
One day, we shall see this face to face. We see it, believe it, trust it now with eyes of faith. But on the Last Day, when we all rise by the power of the Spirit, death will be undone finally and fully. Death and hades shall be cast into the second death—death itself will die! Then all things will be put under Christ’s feet—all His enemies. Death is that enemy. Death was conquered at Calvary and obliterated on Easter. “Now Christ is risen from the dead.” That’s our glorious consolation now, but then on the Last Day the enemies will be undone forever. For all eternity the Lamb will sit on the glorious throne with the Father and Holy Spirit. God will be all in all, and we shall dwell in His presence.
This is ours now, and it will be ours then and forever. This is why we end a lot of our prayers the way we do. We can place our hope and confidence in this truth that’s both now and forever. So we pray “through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who live and reigns with You, and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.” “Now Christ is risen from the dead.” Thanks be to God! In the Name of Jesus. AMEN.
Make Songs of Joy (LSB 484)
O Lord, absolve Your people from their offenses that, from the bonds of our sins which by reason of our frailty we have brought upon ourselves, we may be delivered by Your bountiful goodness; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.