JESUS’ resurrection is not merely an isolated, ancient occurrence that has little meaning for us today. The apostle Paul pointed out its significance when he wrote: “Christ has been raised up from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep in death. For since death is through a man, resurrection of the dead is also through a man. For just as in Adam all are dying, so also in the Christ all will be made alive.”
Jesus was resurrected on Nisan 16, 33 C.E., the day of the year on which the Jews presented the firstfruits of the first grain crop before Jehovah God at the temple sanctuary in Jerusalem. By calling Jesus the firstfruits, Paul implied that there would be other individuals brought back from death.
Paul’s next words explain what has been made possible by Jesus’ resurrection. “Since death is through a man,” said Paul, “resurrection of the dead is also through a man.” Because of the sin and imperfection passed on to us from Adam, we all die. However, by giving his perfect human life as a ransom, Jesus opened the way for mankind to be released from slavery to sin and death through the resurrection. Summing up the matter nicely, Paul wrote at Romans 6:23: “The wages sin pays is death, but the gift God gives is everlasting life by Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Jesus himself explained the meaning that his death and resurrection have for us. Referring to himself, he said: “The Son of man must be lifted up, that everyone believing in him may have everlasting life. For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.”