Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections on His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s verses are 1 Corinthians 15:20-23, where the Bible says,  

20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.


Jesus is risen; He is risen indeed! But there’s even more good news for those who believe in Him. He clearly says, “Because I live, you will live also” (John 14:19). Wow! What a statement. In the midst of pandemic lockdowns, fear, and the growing cultural pressures to jettison biblical truth for public acceptance, the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus call all people to an everlasting life of repentance and faith that the world can never take away. It calls believers to a confident hope that comes from knowing that even death itself has been conquered by the one who created and redeemed us.

Is all that merely wishful thinking or some “hope against hope” mentality? No way! In our reading, St. Paul calls Jesus Christ the “firstfruits” of those who have fallen asleep. His resurrection is God’s down-payment of lasting hope for all who put their trust in Him. That’s a statement for you. That’s a truth that will transform your life. It will give you peace in the middle of the storms of life, courage in the chaos, and wisdom in the midst of the trials and travails of this world caused by sin and the brokenness of humanity. But, even more, it gives us a hope that endures because it impresses on our hearts and minds the truth that Jesus will have the last say in our lives. The fact that He is our risen, ascended, reigning, and returning Savior provides the ultimate good news and an enduring hope.

When we have hope that is based on God’s action in our world and in our lives, it gives us the confidence and strength to face our future whatever may come. For many Christians around the world every Easter morning begins with the responsive greeting, “He is risen!”  “He is risen indeed!” Those words are more than sentiment or wishful thinking. Those words are rooted in Christ’s victory over death and His promise for our future. You might say that Jesus has the capacity, the tenacity, and the veracity to bring those promises to fruition!

This reminds me of a story that I’ve told many times before. A self-made millionaire named Eugene Land gave real hope to the lives of 61 students in the sixth-grade class of a school in East Harlem.[1] He was trying to inspire them to stay in school and get an education because an education was the first step for them to get out of poverty and make a life for themselves in this world. The odds were that most of the kids in that class wouldn’t even finish high school. But that day Land did something radical. He set aside his prepared speech, looked the students in the eye and promised, “Stay in school and I’ll help pay the college tuition for every one of you.” Land had the capacity, tenacity, and veracity to fulfill what he promised. That promise built hope in each student’s heart. Can you imagine their surprise? Can you imagine how they talked with their parents that night? Here’s a statistic for you: nearly 90 percent of that class went on to graduate from high school. Why? Because college was no longer wishful thinking. It was a hope built on a promise from one who could make it happen for them.

Today you have something much more important. You have a solid and eternal hope available to you because the very Savior of the world makes you this promise: “Because I live, you also will live” (John 14:19). So set your mind anew on His things, on the things above (Colossians 3:1). Pandemics, political strife, social chaos, sexual confusion, cultural vulgarity, and even libertine emptiness are all symptoms and/or consequences of sinful humanity’s “wishful” thinking that life can exist without God. You know better. Life is to be a joyful, abundant exercise of grace through faith in Jesus which is lived out boldly for the sake of our neighbors, friends, strangers, and even our enemies. Put that hope to work in your life. Put the power of Christ’s resurrection and His promise of your resurrection to work. They give you the strength and courage to trust Him and to follow wherever He leads. He is risen, and you will be raised too. A blessed Easter to you all!

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for the work of Your life, death, and resurrection; these are Your actions in history so that all might be saved. May they give all who put their trust in You an abundant life now and the assurance of hope for everlasting life. AMEN.


[1] https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1990-03-25-mn-244-story.html

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