He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.
What is it that makes Jesus unique? Jesus is not only the revealer of the invisible God and our reconciler to God, but Jesus is different because He alone is our rescuer from death.
It was Job who asked perhaps the most important question that has ever been asked. “If a man dies, will he live again?” (14:14). Now when you think about it, isn’t that the bottom-line question? When I die, is that it? Is there anything beyond the grave? If I die, do I just go into nothingness or will I live again? At this time of the year, every one of us can think of people we know, perhaps even family members, who were with us one year ago but who are no longer here. Why is that? The Bible says death is the consequence of sin. Ezekiel 18:20 says, “The person who sins will die.” And the reason Jesus came was not just to save us from sin, but to save us from the consequences of sin, which include death.
The life of Christ is bracketed by two impossibilities: a virgin’s womb and an empty tomb. Jesus entered the world through a door marked No Entrance. And He left through a door marked No Exit. And because Jesus exited that empty tomb, the Bible says one day those of us who are related to Him by faith are going to exit going to exit the tomb as well—because Jesus is our rescuer from death.
Paul describes Christ this way: “He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything” (Colossians 1:18). Notice that phrase “the firstborn from the dead.” That word “firstborn” in Greek is “prototokos.” It is the word we get “prototype” from. A prototype is the first of many that will be manufactured. And that’s the word used to describe Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is not the only one who is going to receive a resurrection body that is free from sin and suffering forever. No, He is the prototype. He is the first among many. And the Bible says those of us who are related to Him by faith will also be delivered from the consequences of sin and death. That is the promise that awaits every believer.
Although you and I have betrayed God, the message of Christmas is the Lord Jesus Christ willingly gave Himself to die in our place. And when we trust in Him as our Savior, believing that He died for our sins, then not only is sin’s stranglehold over us broken, but death no longer has any power over our life. That is why Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies” (John 11:25). Somebody has well said, “Jesus did not come to make bad people good. Jesus came to make dead people alive.” That is why we say that Jesus Christ is our rescuer from death.
Today’s devotion is an excerpt from “Have a Happy Holy-Day” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2012.