by George Whitten, editor of Worthy Devotions
Leviticus 23:10-12 "Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: 'When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest. He shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted on your behalf; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. And you shall offer on that day, when you wave the sheaf, a male lamb of the first year, without blemish, as a burnt offering to the Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:20-23 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.
This season of the Resurrection also occurs during a significant Old Testament feast day, the feast of “Firstfruits” (Hebrew, “bikoreem”). When Yeshua (Jesus) rose from the dead he was the firstfruit of the resurrection. On that day the keys of Hell and Death were obtained by our Lord. The apostle Paul connected the resurrection with the feast of Firstfruits in his letter to the congregation at Corinith. "But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep."
Remember in the Garden of Gethsemane that all the disciples had fled in terror because of their connection with Yeshua. Yet not much later they experienced an astounding tranformation which empowered them to preach the gospel fearlessly and face all kinds of suffering and martyrdom. What inspired this transformation? The resurrection… the living, breathing Lord who appeared to them in a glorious resurrected body. No longer were they concerned about this life, having experienced the reality that death's power had been absolutely overcome and there was nothing remaining in this world to threaten or shake their complete confidence in eternal life.
The letter of James identifies believers in Jesus as "a kind of firstfruits of all He created"; [James 1:18]. Through our faith In the Lord's resurrection we have received His Holy Spirit and gained His resurrection life and power. It is a power over the fear of death, an overcoming power which enables us to endure and triumph over every kind of threat, problem, affliction, every trial or test involving suffering, pain, even the greatest anguish this life can bring. It's the same power that filled the Lord's disciples and transformed them from terrified men into fearless witnesses.
We are no longer bound by the circumstances of our lives – but, as "firstfruits" who share in the resurrection life of our Lord, are empowered to endure, be transformed by, and ultimately overcome everything we face. Paul exults in this wondrous triumph, “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." And then he offers this exhortation, "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
We are the “bikoreem”, the "firstfruits" of the resurrection and we are no longer bound by the troubles and problems of this world. We can "count them all joy" as "steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord" we know that our labor is not in vain!