Jesus had better be alive right now because “he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies,” Romans 8:11. God raising Christ back to life again is our proof that he’ll raise us to life from the dead too. It’s also vital that Jesus is alive because HE’s the one who resurrects us, John 5:21, “For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it.” Jesus being alive is both the proof and the source of our being raised from the dead.
And if he ISN’T alive? Well, Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:17, “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins,” and in verses 14, 15 and 19, “our preaching is useless,” we’re “false witnesses about God” for saying he “raised Christ from the dead,” and “we are to be pitied more than all men,” because we put all our hope and trust in Christ being raised from the dead for nothing.
It’s critical to both our credibility and belief, therefore, that Christ is alive, but how do we prove he’s alive? Well, Paul continues, it’s easy to prove that he isn’t alive and God “did NOT raise Jesus,” verse 15 – “IF IN FACT THE DEAD ARE NOT RAISED.”
Paul admits we have no evidence at all that Jesus is alive right now if people right now aren’t being raised from the dead too, “For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either,” verse 16.
So, where’s the evidence right now that dead people are being raised?
Look no further than our own experience, Paul says, because “you were dead,” Ephesians 2:1. By that he means, “Remember what our lives were like before we became Christians? Our lives were utterly useless – we simply ‘followed the ways of this world’ and the ‘spirit’ that ruled the culture (verse 2), merely ‘gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts’ (verse 3). We were dead fish floating downstream with all the other dead fish, living for ourselves in a useless, dead existence, and at death we disappeared, as though we’d never existed at all.”
“But,” verse 4, “because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive in Christ even when we were dead in transgressions.” God raised us up out of that dead existence to a life of “good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” There’s our proof that God is raising people from the dead: He’s raising human beings from a dead existence to a completely new life. Paul even calls us a “new creation,” in 2 Corinthians 5:17. And it’s Jesus been alive right now that makes it possible.