Death and the grave have forever dogged the sons of Adam’s race. They mark our passage wherever mankind has been. The repetitious and mournful toll of Genesis chapter five is ‘and he died’. Nowhere does it record, ‘and he lived again’. As the psalmist would remind us, we live in ‘the valley of the shadow of death’.
We now have before our hearts this groundbreaking title of the Lord Jesus. As the firstborn from the dead He is what no man could ever claim to have been. He has died but now lives again. He commands this place of priority and sovereignty. The Lord Jesus has two wonderful claims in relation to resurrection; He is both the ‘first in time’ and ‘the originating power’ in and for resurrection.
Before we meditate upon these two great claims, let’s think about the word ‘firstborn’. Having already been declared to be the firstborn in relation to creation, v. 15, He is now seen as the firstborn in relation to dead ones. This makes Him Lord, not just over all that exists, but also over all that death has claimed. He is the beginning of a new dimension of spiritual life that has never been seen or experienced before. Peter declared this very fact on the Day of Pentecost saying, ‘Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death’. Death has had ‘birth throes’ and had to give up Christ for it was not possible for it to hold Him! Acts 2. 24. He came out of death as the firstborn comes out of the womb.
Now let’s consider His claims. He is first in time. All the other records in scripture of people raised from the dead are not to be compared to what we have here, for, without exception, they all returned to the grave and therefore await their resurrection. He was, and still is, the first from the dead, and by being the first, His resurrection guarantees that all others will follow, 1 Cor. 15. 20-22.
He is also the originating power of all resurrection. Thrill your heart today with His own words, ‘The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live’, John 5. 25.
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