H.H. Pope Shenouda III
His Holiness Pope Shenouda III Pope of Alexandria & Patriarch of the See of St. Mark-An excerpt from His Holiness’ book Words of Spiritual Benefit. Death is an alien and a stranger to humanity. When God created man, He formed him for life; He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being. God wished him life and perpetuity, but man’s choice was inclined towards sin. Man thus brought death upon himself as a result of his sin, “For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans6:23), and death came into the world and reigned over humanity. We rejoice with the resurrection because it is a triumph over death and a return of man’s nature to life. God has created man to live and not to die. Christ’s resurrection is the handsel of our resurrection, and thus, Saint Paul the apostle described Him as “…the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” (1Corinthians15:20) He is the first fruit and we will rise after him. Perhaps someone may ask saying ‘How can Christ be the first fruit of the dead while many rose before Him?’ Examples of such people are:
  1. The son of the widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon, who was raised from death by Elijah the prophet (1Kings17:22).
  2. The son of the Shunammite, whom Elisha the prophet raised from death (2Kings4:32-36).
  3. The three whom the Lord Christ Himself raised from death, and they are:
1. The son of the widow of the town called Nain, 2. Jairus’ daughter, and 3. Lazarus.