Paul taught about the resurrection of the dead. But he didn't see Jesus til he was stricken blind on the road to Damascus - after His ascension into heaven. This resurrection sets Jesus apart from every other founder of a major religion. You can see the burial places of other founders of religion. There is only an empty tomb for Jesus.
No other prophet was raised from the dead. It is His resurrection that gives us the hope of life after death as well. Paul lays it out clearly. If there is no resurrection, then Christ cannot have been raised from the dead, either. And our hope is lost entirely. If Christ has not been raised from the dead, we are still dead in our sins.
The line from Handel's Messiah Oratorio says: "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." There is a tempo change here from grave at 60 beats per minute to allegro at 84 beats. From a dirge to a lively dance.
This is what Christ does for our lives both here and hereafter. We are dead in sin. It weighs us down and crushes our spirits. But our belief in Christ and His resurrection lifts that burden and lets us dance with joy.
That promise is as much for our lives today as it is for our life after death. Can we live today in Joy?
Help us to understand that time has no meaning for You, that what will be already is in Your kingdom. Teach us to live the resurrected life both before and after death.
In Jesus' most precious name.