But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead…
June 7, 2012 Leave a comment
Every so often something comes along which makes you stop in your tracks and ponder the big questions of life. Sometimes it is something very close to you and on other occasions you can’t explain why something resonates so pointedly with your spirit. This has been my experience this week.
On Tuesday I heard the tragic news of the death of (as far as I was concerned) a little-known missionary couple in Zambia. Jay and Katrina Erickson had gone out from Canada to serve at Chitokoloki Mission Station in February of this year. Jay was a pilot, and the couple served (in their own words):
[as] full-time volunteers ready to bring food, medical supplies, doctors, missionaries, and most importantly, the Word of God by aircraft into areas of the world that would otherwise be extremely difficult or impossible to reach.
Katrina was apparently taking her first trip off the station with her husband, but on that trip their plane crashed into the Zambezi river, killing them both. This couple, in their late twenties, leave behind two daughters Marina and Coral aged just two and one years, respectively.
How do people begin to come to terms with such a tragedy? All of the planning and reorganising of life and things end so suddenly and leave two girls as orphans.
I suppose to the world it is all meaningless, isn’t it? These were people who were passionate about Jesus Christ, dedicated to serving Him and spreading the Word of His Gospel and ultimately in the pursuit of that higher goal, they lost their lives. The apostle Paul tells us that there are circumstances under which we should pity people who give their lives to these pursuits – even if they achieve some good or draw strength from their hope in Christ. Those circumstances are if Jesus Christ has not been raised from the dead.
And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
1 Corinthians 15:17-19 ESV
Do you see what Paul is saying here? If people such as the Ericksons have devoted their life to Christ, but Christ has not been raised from the dead, don’t praise them, don’t commend them – you should pity them! But Paul doesn’t leave it there:
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
1 Corinthians 15:20 ESV
This couple were not fools, nor are they pitiable, but they are part of the harvest of souls which Christ has secured because He is the firstfruits of those who have died. In other words, because Christ is risen, all those who are in Him shall be raised too. This doesn’t make these happenings in Zambia any less tragic from a human point of view for those who are left. But for Jay and Katrina Erickson they entered into the presence of their Saviour wholly dedicated to His calling for their lives - for that give thanks. For those who feel this loss most acutely, pray for them and keep on praying for them – who knows what God is working out in the midst of such things?
Some articles on the accident:
Some particularly moving information is available here: