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Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
1 Corinthians 15:20
Seventeenth-century English poet and pastor George Herbert prayed in his poem, “Easter Wings”: “With thee / O let me rise / As larks, harmoniously, / And sing this day thy victories: / Then shall the fall further the flight in me. . . . With thee / Let me combine, / And feel thy victorie: / For, if I imp [put] my wing on thine, / Affliction shall advance the flight in me.”
Our hope of resurrection, Paul taught, is as real as the resurrection of Christ Himself. In fact, the one depends upon the other. Apparently some of the Corinthians doubted this, and Paul firmly corrected their error (vv. 12–19). The fact that Christ was raised from the dead is God’s guarantee that we, too, will one day be raised from the dead. What’s more, everything about our faith stands or falls together based on this doctrine and historical event. Jesus is the “firstborn from among the dead,” with the rest of us to follow. If this present life is all there is, then the dead are gone and our hope of eternity is empty.
Since Christ has been raised, however, and the gospel is true, then everything stands (vv. 20–28). The apostles are witnesses to truth. The preaching of the gospel is powerful and effective. Our faith is firmly anchored. The dead will be raised! Just as death reigned because of Adam, so now life reigns because of Christ, the second Adam (see Rom. 5:12–21). This is God’s plan for history.
Therefore, we are to live in and with the hope of resurrection (vv. 29–34). It’s clear that without this resurrection hope, we might as well eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die, a line Paul quotes from a Greek comedy. With this hope, we can live for the Lord.
Apply the Word
The poem “Easter Wings” by George Herbert is an example of shaped verse. By looking at this poem, you can see the care with which Herbert shaped his two stanzas to look like wings on the printed page. The visual structure has a theological basis, as each stanza gets narrower when describing sin and wider when describing resurrection.
Pray with Us
Again, we invite you to pray for Moody Bible Institute in Spokane celebrating Commencement today. Our praise and thanks go to God for the Spokane students and for campus administration: Jack Lewis, campus dean, and Nathanael Schey, operations manager.