The first reading today is from the Book of Revelation. The reading helps us understand that the death and resurrection of Jesus, the sinless one, provides the foundation upon which our own personal resurrection is predicated.
Worthy are you to receive the scroll
and break open its seals,
for you were slain and with your Blood you purchased for God
those from every tribe and tongue, people and nation.
You made them a kingdom and priests for our God,
and they will reign on earth.
So how does the reading help our understanding? If we were first century Jews, we would need no explanation. Since we are people of the twenty-first century, it requires a little teaching.
When Adam and Eve sinned, they and their offspring could no longer live forever in the Garden. Their sin was in choosing not to follow God’s loving commands. Instead, they chose to try to make themselves like God, and thus were caused to pay the wages of sin, which is death. We, their progeny, all sin and so also suffer death.
Jesus, born of Mary, broke the chains of death. Mary had a choice, just as Eve did. She could say yes or no to God. Her yes made her the new Eve, and through her humility the Son of God was brought into the world. He did not sin, and because of that he was not subject to death. However, he freely chose to take on our sins upon himself and accept death on the cross. When he defeated death and was risen, his sacrifice took away the penalty of sin for all who believe in him.
That is why Jesus is the one “worthy to receive the scroll” who “purchased for God” all of us who believe and have faith in him. As he said, “he who believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”
Praise to you, Lord Jesus!