I love 1 Corinthians 15. As we near the end of his letter to the church in Corinth, Paul talks about things that we as Christians can look forward to in the future.
1 Corinthians 15:20-23 (NIV)
20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.
22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.
23 But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.
On verses 20 to 23: The first thing that will happen as a pre-cursor to "the end" is that God's people will be resurrected. Just as death came to all people through one man, Adam, when Adam sinned against God, resurrection from death has been made possible for all people through one man, Jesus Christ, when he rose from the dead. In other words, because of our connection to Adam the first man who sinned, like Adam we too were destined to die and be separated from God. But because of our connection to Jesus the only man who never sinned and who rose from the dead, like Jesus we too will experience resurrection from the dead. So when Paul says that Christ is "the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep" (v20), he means that Christ is the first to die, rise from the dead, and never die again, and that we as people who have trusted in Jesus will follow in His footsteps and also be raised from the dead one day (v23). Praise God! For Christians, death is not the end because after death comes resurrection.
1 Corinthians 15:24-26 (NIV)
24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.
25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.
26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
On verses 24-26: The second thing that will happen in the end is that all things will be placed under the feet of Jesus. We live in an age when people trample the name of Jesus under their feet. But in 1 Corinthians 15, Paul looks forward to the end when everything will be placed under Jesus' feet (vv25-27), including death (v26). Jesus already defeated death when he resurrected 2,000 years ago. But like a championship basketball team that doesn't just barely squeeze out a victory but "creams" its competition with an overwhelming and convincing win, Jesus and His kingdom will experience victory over death many times over when each of His people who have died are resurrected from the dead as well. So the war going on between the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of darkness will have an end: it's when Christ's hand is raised in victory over all other authorities and powers, including death (v24).
What can we learn from all this? If everything has been placed under Jesus' feet, and our lives are in Jesus' hands, then that means everything is also under our feet as well! If Jesus has conquered every problem including sin and death, then there is no problem that is too great or too difficult that you cannot conquer with the help of Jesus Christ our Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:27-28 (NIV)
27 For he "has put everything under his feet." Now when it says that "everything" has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ.
28 When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.
On verses 27-28: The third thing that will happen in the end is that God will get all the glory. Here we see the awesome relationship between God the Father and Jesus Christ His Son. First God the Father placed everything under the feet of His Son Jesus (other than God Himself of course), because He loves, trusts and honours His Son. Then, after Jesus has won a final victory over all powers and authorities including death, He will hand everything back to His Father and submit Himself to God the Father again. Like a championship athlete handing the trophy he has won to his father, Jesus will hand everything back to His Father not because He is inferior to His Father, but because of the love, loyalty and appreciation He has for His Father.
Praise God that God the Father and God the Son never let power, position, pride or problems get in the way of their incomparably close relationship. Rather we see here God the Father and God the Son serving one another, submitting to one another, trusting one another, honouring one another and sticking by one another. May we have that same kind of attitude in our other relationships: not letting power, position, pride or problems get in the way, but loving one another, serving one another, and honouring one another above ourselves.