The Firstborn from Among the Dead
At Jesus’ baptism, the heavens had opened and the Father had declared his sheer pleasure in his Son. And now, after the cross, when the Son had so perfectly displayed the extent of his love, the Father could not leave his beloved one dead. So he vindicated—or “justified”—declaring him utterly worthy of life (1 Timothy 3:16), declaring him with power through the Spirit to be the Son of God (Romans 1:4).
That greatest declaration brought about the greatest event since the creation of the world: the inauguration of the new creation. Bursting through death, out of the grave, the Son overturned the old order—or disorder, we should say—of Adam. The reign of death and corruption was undone, and a human being now stood, body and soul, wholly beyond the reach of the curse…. Where the guilt of Adam brought death, the righteousness of Christ brought victorious life. And clearly there was more righteousness in him than there was sin in us, for having borne our sin, death could no longer hold him. Having taken sin and death down to death, death had no further claim on him.
That otherwise unremarkable tomb in Jerusalem thus became the womb of a new creation. From it emerged the firstborn from the dead, the firstfruits of a royal harvest of life. The humanity, the flesh and bones that had been weak and corruptible in Adam were now triumphant and incorruptible.… Death had been swallowed up in victory, the serpent crushed. The very creation would now wait in eager anticipation, longing to feel the full effects of his life as it had so long endured the fallout of Adam’s curse. For the resurrection of the Firstborn was the guarantee that the creation itself would be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the Son of God (Colossians 1:18; Romans 8:21).Michael Reeves, Rejoicing in Christ, pp. 63-65