“first born of the dead”

“Jesus Christ….the first born of the dead” (Revelation 1:5a)

I just read Revelation 1: 1-11 as part of my morning devotions and realized that I can’t remember ever hearing this title for Christ. There’s been something bothering me about the Virgin Birth lately, and I couldn’t put my finger on it ’til I read this passage. Part of my unease, I think, has been hearing all the news items dealing with cultures whose religions value female virginity (but not females) so highly that they will kill a female rape victim, etc., to “preserve her honor.”

I was thinking about the liberating nature of Christianity, and wondering how God would have us view virginity—there’s really not a huge emphasis on Mary’s virginity in the Bible (at least, not has huge an emphasis as we put on it). And then it hit me when I read this passage: “Jesus Christ…the first born of the dead.” The virginity part of Christ’s birth wasn’t the (main) miracle—it was merely to highlight the miraculous nature of life coming out of death (and probably to keep us from getting distracted by our own arrogance and relegating Christ to mere human status).

We were dead and somehow, through God’s love and omnipotence, He brought us life out of our death, even using one of our dead (Mary) as the means through which He was born. Wow. Life from death at His birth, and life from death at the end of His life.

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