Today's Reading: James 1:16-21
He willed and brought us forth by the Word of Truth that we would be a sort of firstfruits of His creatures. (James 1:18)
He is risen indeed! Alleluia! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Jesus is the true firstfruits. He is the "firstborn from the dead" (Revelation 1:18), He's the "firstborn among many brothers" (Romans 8:29). He's the "only begotten Son of the Father full of grace and truth" (John 1:14). He's the Word (John 1:14) who sends the Spirit of Truth (John 15:26).
He died. The One in whom there is no sin, deceit, or imperfection was killed for our sins and deceit and imperfection. Then He rose from the dead. He did it Himself, as promised. He, the Word, spoke the Truth--the very thing He is--and, through Him, we are made children of the Father of lights: "who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:13).
He willed and everything was created. He willed and you were knit together in your mother's womb. In the same way, He willed that you would be His child. You really didn't have a say in the matter.
You were born at the font. In Holy Baptism you were born of water and the Spirit. You were placed into the Son, and were in this way made a son of the Father. You're kept safe in the holy family of God, His Holy Church where you hear His Word and are continually enlivened by Firstfruit Jesus, as you eat and drink of the fruits of His cross: His Body and Blood given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.
We'd like to think that we have something to do with our being sons or daughters of the Father of lights. On the contrary, it is God who has called us forth into the light of His Son. We've been enlightened by the Spirit, both to receive His Word in faith and to love our neighbors as ourselves. In Jesus' Holy Christian Church we receive His salvation, His Body and Blood, which truly are "a light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of His people Israel." He is risen indeed! Alleluia! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
True God, He first From death has burst For into life, all subduing. His enemy Doth vanquished lie; His death has been death's undoing. "And yours shall be Like victory O'er death and grave," Saith He, who gave His life for us, life renewing. (With High Delight Let Us Unite, LSB 483:2)