And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you come into the land that I give you and reap its harvest, you shall bring the sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest, and he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, so that you may be accepted. On the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. And on the day when you wave the sheaf, you shall offer a male lamb a year old without blemish as a burnt offering to the Lord. And the grain offering with it shall be two tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, a food offering to the Lord with a pleasing aroma, and the drink offering with it shall be of wine, a fourth of a hin. And you shall eat neither bread nor grain parched or fresh until this same day, until you have brought the offering of your God: it is a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. Leviticus 23:9-14 ESV
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. I Corinthians 15:20-23 ESV
In the past, and sometimes also today, when a man and a woman got married in church the man would put a wedding ring on the woman’s finger. He would say, “With this ring I thee wed, and with all my worldly goods I thee endow.” What this meant was that everything that belonged to the husband now belonged to his wife also. To show her that all that he had was also hers, he would give her a wedding ring. It might be made of gold, and it would be just the beginning of all that they would share in their marriage.
At the end of the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread came another spring festival for God’s people, the Feast of Firstfruits. The harvest was just beginning at this time, and the people brought God the very first sheaf of grain. They weren’t to eat any grain themselves until they brought the first sheaf to God, along with a lamb and an offering of fine flour and wine. This showed that the harvest came from God and belonged to God. It was given by the people in faith that God would bless the rest of their harvest and give them plenty of grain to eat.
In the Bible Jesus is called the firstfruits. He died and then was the first one to come back to life again. We celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, knowing and trusting that when we die it won’t be forever. We know that Jesus is God’s Son, and since God raised his Son from the dead, he will also raise from the dead everyone who belongs to Jesus. When Jesus returns, he will raise up all the people who believe in him to live with him in his kingdom. Jesus is only the beginning of a wonderful harvest of new life that will last forever.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to die for us and rise from the dead, and for promising that we will also be raised to live forever with you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.