God assumes a human body, truly a human, yet truly God. The spiritual is no longer just an abstract code because He invades our physical world; people heard, saw, and touched Jesus. They saw him die a very obvious and complete death; the Roman soldier even speared Him in the side to make sure of it.

But He didn’t stay dead. The disciples saw Him physically alive after His crucifixion; they saw Him eat and examined his wounds. And His resurrection – even death couldn’t hold Him – proves the reality, the effectiveness of what He did. It ratifies His teaching and sacrifice.

This brings the spiritual into real time. It’s no longer a code or set of moral truths; it’s a historical and very practical fact that we can base our lives on. This is what drove the early church; this is why the martyrs died with a smile and cared for the sick even at the risk of their own lives. People had known a physical Person, seen Him rise from the dead and understood that they would share His destiny: that He was the first of many. The spiritual had become physical, palpable, and everyday in their lives.

No wonder it’s called good news. We tend even now to reduce Christianity to a set of creeds we give intellectual assent to, just one choice on a┬áspiritual smorgasbord we can pick and choose from. We may even believe it in our heads; but what if the real God gets loose in our lives? We must never lose track of the fact that the Gospel is above all an announcement, the proclamation of a done deal. That which separates us from God has been paid by Christ who (by virtue of what He has done) underscores our dignity as those made in His image, and of the real Hope He makes accessible to all who call on Him.

I celebrated my 58th birthday a few weeks back. I don’t feel old (yet) but I’ve been around the block enough times to know that everything changes and runs down. Life always throws a lot of curveballs our way. But… if death itself is defeated, then we’ve really got something to look forward to. We have a hope that doesn’t change, eternal and just waiting for us to live in it.

And that hope starts now.