1Co 15:19-23 “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.”
In the hours between Christ’s crucifixion and His resurrection, I doubt there were any on earth more miserable than His followers. The man they had loved, trusted in, and thought to be their Deliverer was dead. Their enemies undoubtedly made fun of them at the least and sought to do them bodily harm at the worst. Their very safety was in question.
There are many today who are miserable. They are miserable because they have bought into a doctrine that says if their faith is sufficient they can have their fill of this world’s goods. Their hope in Christ is based on being rich in this world, and when that goes unfulfilled then they must either conclude that Christ has failed them or else their faith simply is not strong enough.
Others go about seeking to do enough good in this life to tip the scales of justice in their favor so that they may apprehend the perceived “chance” that has been given them of gaining heaven. Their hope in Christ is, in reality, confined to this world. Their philosophy is that Jesus has given them an opportunity here to gain entrance into the Heaven to come, but actually getting there is up to them. Life is lived with the constant fear that either they have not done enough, or else at the last minute they may commit a sin that will undo all their chances.
In addition to the obvious misery of a hope in Christ that is in any way confined just to this world, the root word that was translated “miserable” also carries the thought of “pitiable”. We have all had the experience in our lives at some point of feeling pity for someone we love who is living under some type of delusion. If nothing else, most of us have experienced having a friend who is romantically interested in someone who does not reciprocate that feeling. Yet our friend desires it so much that they cannot see the truth of the matter.
If it were true that our hope in Christ is only in this life, then we are destined to be miserable and fearful, and we are certainly to be pitied. Praise God, nothing could be further from the truth, and the proof of that is that Christ is now risen from the dead! He is the firstfruits (the early offering) of a promised harvest. He is our sole hope of more to life than this world.
The scripture refers to Him as the “second man Adam,” and Paul points out why here. Adam, as representative of the human race, disobeyed God’s law and therefore reaped the consequences that God had warned him of: “in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die (Gen 2:17).” Just as surely as Adam’s entire race died in him, so all of Christ’s race are made alive in Him. Christ is the firstfruits, and afterward all those that are His. This is our great hope in Christ that sees beyond the eye of mortality.
May our confidence in Christ be true according to God’s word that our hope be not confined to this world!