1 Corinthians 15:20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
Paul moves from the hypothetical, expressed negatively, to the actual truth: Christ has been raised. So if that is the case, what should we believe? Paul returns to the ideas with which he opened this chapter. The Corinthians know Christ was raised because of eye witnesses and because they put their faith in this message which has brought power change in their lives. They know this is all real. Based on this, then, there are certain corollary assumptions and doctrines, which Paul will elaborate in the coming verses.
The first significance Paul notes here is that Christ is the “firstfruits,” meaning, that he is the first to raise and the guarantee of all that comes. The firstfruits were the first part of the harvest given to God and also that showed that the rest of the harvest would be good quality. Usually these fruits were the best, the most tender, and the cream of the crop. Jesus’ resurrection shows that resurrection is a reality. Since he was human, dead, buried, and then rose, he shows that this can happen also to those who have “fallen asleep,” an idiom meaning died. Christ’s resurrection shows that God’s promises for new life will surely happen.
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