When was the last time you picked a lettuce off your orange tree? Or a cucumber? Or anything else besides an orange? I suspect it’s been a long, long time.
Why? Because, in spite of all the genetic tinkering done by scientists, an orange tree still only produces oranges. And aren’t you glad about that? Aren’t you glad that you can count on getting oranges from that tree?
And do you remember the joy of plucking that first sweet, juicy orange for the season off the tree? What a delight! And did you notice that there wasn’t just one lone solitary orange on the tree. There were dozens, hundreds of them – some riper than others, but all of them getting closer to being ready to pick by the day. That first one is what the Bible would call ‘firstfruits.’ And the firstfruits of any crop, even any animal, was cause for celebration – for a number of reasons.
To begin with, that firstfruit is the promise of more fruit to come. Remember how many more oranges were hanging on that tree, just waiting to be picked? If you get one, you get many.
And not only with this crop, but the crop next year too, and the year after, and the year after that, and so on for many years to come. You’ll get untold thousands of fruit off that tree over the years. Because the firstfruit is only the beginning, pointing to many seasons to come of fruitfulness.
Next, the firstfruit is representative of all the fruit to come after. You’ll go on to pick more oranges, not more cucumbers. It’ll be more fruit of the same kind as the firstfruits.
Yes, there is a special delight in that firstfruit. But there is a better ‘firstfruit’ than any orange or lettuce. A far more delightful and precious ‘firstfruit.’
And His name is Jesus Christ.
The apostle Paul tells us that Jesus Christ – Who has been raised from the dead – is the Firstfruits of all those who have fallen asleep (that is, who have died). For, as by a man – Adam – came death, so by a man – Jesus Christ – comes the resurrection of the dead. See 1Cor 15:20-23.
And so, the resurrection of Jesus Christ guarantees that there will be more fruit to come. He is the first of many who will be resurrected to life. Not just those who belong to Christ who died in Bible times, but all those who have died in Him in the centuries to follow, and for all time to come also.
And the fruit to follow will be of the same kind as Him. When that day comes, all who have put their trust in Him will be raised up just like that – holy, righteous, unspoiled, and pleasing in the sight of the Father.
So there is a special delight in the firstfruits. For the firstfruit is a promise – a guarantee – of more to come. And we who have put our trust in Jesus Christ can look forward to that with hope, with joy, with expectation. Death need hold no fear for us.
For in that day, we will be not only forgiven and justified, but we will be finally sanctified (made holy), and will receive our new, perfect, recreated bodies – bodies that will last forever, and make us fit to live in the new world with Him forever. Thank God for the Firstfruits – Jesus Christ. And thank God that we have been grafted into that tree of which He is the root.