From Resurrection to Insurrection
52And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
53And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. [Matt. 27:52-53 KJV]
2And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
3His countenance was like
lightning and his raiment white as snow:
4And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.
5And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.
6He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.[Matt: 28:2-6 KJV]
Jesus died a vicious death on the cross. As this Rock hanging on the cross was torn open. As Jesus’ epicacious blood touched the earth; a violent earthquake tore the rocks and the ground; causing graves of saints to open up. Those saints remained in the grave until the time when the Chief of Souls would rise; then at that time they rose and went to the holy city(Jerusalem). Giving us a preview for our review of that great getting up morning, when the saints shall rise in the general resurrection and go marching into New Jerusalem.
During the latter part of a Jewish day…… which is daylight a tremendous discovery happens on that great day that Mary Magdalene and the other Mary return to Jesus’ tomb to attend to the body of Christ. There is a great rumbling and shaking, that violently removes the stone that covers the opening of the tomb of Christ. Isn’t it amazing how when God causes a rumbling and shaking something significant happens. When the Son(Jesus) went down in death, there was a tremendous rumbling and shaking, and an opening of the graves of the saints.
Upon the women approaching the tomb of Jesus there is a tremendous rumbling and shaking and an angel of the Lord appears at the tomb; the stone of the tomb removed and the Roman guards feinted as dead men. The women are admonished by the angel to not be afraid……….. to examine where the Risen Savior had laid. Unbeknownst to them the saints got out of there graves, and went to Jerusalem signifying that the Chief of Souls had risen.
Upon running from the tomb, with great fear and joy. They run into Jesus who greets them. They physically grab Jesus by His feet and they worship them. Jesus gives them instructions to proclaim to His disciples that they are to meet Him in Galilee. Galilee nearly one hundred miles from Jerusalem, could provide a less conspicuous place where the Lord could minister to His disciple’s and ultimately give them their marching order.
And what was their order? Jesus upon meeting His disciples in Galilee announced, “All power in given unto me in heaven and in earth.”[Matt: 28:18b] The book of Matthew ends with Jesus instructing His disciples to become “insurrectionist.” Jesus told them to go, and teach all nations of Him, and those things of God that He taught them. Jesus instructed them to baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching everyone not only to learn the lesson but to perform, the lessons learned. Finally Jesus makes the statement that they should remember, He would be with them until the end of the world(cosmos). The greek word for world is “cosmos” which in the context that Jesus uses it means “system.” Jesus knew that there was a social, political and economical climate in Jerusalem. The Romans occupied and taxed the people of Jerusalem, bringing in the influence of other gods; and even adding the influence of greek culture into the faith of Judaism. The Pharisee(priestly) sect were at odds with Rome, and had become lecherous in their dealings with the masses and their representation of God.
This served to create the atmosphere in which Jesus was crucified. Therefore Jesus’ admonition was to comfort the disciples; in knowing that they would meet opposition in that corrupt cosmos. However Jesus assured His presence and the presence of the Almighty would be with them as they in essence rebelled against the demonic cosmos of the times, until it’s demise. The Webster dictionary defines “insurrection” as rebellion. I believe when the church and society have resulted in negative “evolution,” God desires reformation of a good system gone bad. God then charges us as disciples to wage protest that results in a revolution.
Many Christians know of the first Christian martyr, Stephen. However there were literally, hundreds of Christians who died for the cause of Christ. During the first and second century of the Church. “Polycarp the bishop of the church in Smyrna around 155 A.D., was an eighty-six year old man; given the opportunity to recant his profession of Christ. Polycarp refused to recant, and the Romans with the approval of Jewish leaders had him executed. On the day of his execution he was bound and as it was attempted to light the wood to burn him, the wood would not catch fire. Finally a ruffian was instructed to stab him. And the ruffian stabbed Polycarp and it is recorded that as the blood gushed forth, a symbolic dove flew from his body.”
When black people, including Richard Allen encountered the “tomb of racial discrimination” in St. George Methodist Episcopal Church. God’s Spirit in Allen in 1787, caused him and his fellow blacks to rise from that tomb, and establish the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Blacks then were free to worship and glorify their God without persectution. On September, 15th, 1963, the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, killing four little black girls, Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley, and Denise McNair. The murders of Emmett Louis Till, Mack Charles Parker, Medgar Evers, Chaney, Goodman, Schwerner, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
These black martyrs as their blood spilled to the ground caused a great rumbling from the heavens, black people rose from their tombs of “nihilism, suppression, depression and oppression,” to confront the cosmos of this age, leaving the grave clothes of “Jim Crow” in the tomb. It was a great black theologian, Tertullian, in the third century; originally a member of the “Eastern Orthodox Church in Africa, who said “The blood of the martyr is the seed of the church.”
Jesus rising from the tomb was the beginning of God, calling for all believers to become “insurrectionist.” Insurrection by my definition is someone, causing a revolution to being relegated to ungodly, systems and ungodly living. Living beneath the privilege of a child of the “King.” The tomb that makes it legal to kill the unborn child, calling it the right of choice; but saving the eagles, alligators, whales and any other creature that creeps on the earth, flies in the air or swim in the sea. If you have been reading the newspaper, the last few weeks the headlines showed the trial of:
1. A man killing his girlfriend before hundreds of people in the CNN center or the Omni area of Atlanta, Georgia. We are living in a tomb where domestic violence has become so pervasive in a country, that perpetrators of this evil are brazen enough to carry out this vicious act in public as well as in private.
2. It was in the news that a woman was convicted of poisoning two husbands for the sake of insurance; we’re living in a tomb.
3. In the past couple of weeks two parents were convicted of torturing, placing their child in a cage, and murdering him; we’re living in a tomb.
4. We are living in a tomb when blacks make up twelve percent of the population in the United States and nearly fifty percent of the population on death row.
5. We are living in a tomb when one in every four black male in the United States of America, is, has been or will be under judicial control in their lifetime.
Jesus has risen and is alive today. How do I know He has risen and alive today. Research of scripture says that at least 500 people saw the risen Christ before His ascension. I read about Christ working in the life of a black woman named, Nannie Helen Burroughs (1879-1961) At a time when black women were expected to support the church but never presume to exercise leadership within it, Nannie Helen Burroughs was a courageous and outspoken advocate for the role of women in the church and in the wider society.
I can hear “Him” in the sermons of Dr. Caesar Clark, Rev. Prathia Hall, Bishop Thomas Dexter Jakes, Bishop Vashti McKenzie. I hear the rumblings of Christ when Jarena Lee is converted and begins her unsanctioned preaching ministry in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. I heard the rumblings of God when Nat Turner rose in 1831, and orchestrated the slave rebellions. I hear the rumbling of Christ when a black man in the person of Barac Obama, rises out of a tomb of obscurity and racism, and prepares for his presidential campaign in the United States.
God has caused a rumbling and a shaking to bring about a transmogrification of not only black people, but this country and the entire world. Just as Jesus rose, judgments began to rise against the perpetrators of his crucifixion. As black people begin to rise out of the various tombs we have been relegated to remember the admonition of Jesus, that He would be with us even unto the end of the world (close). And as we rise and the life of Christ shines in our thoughts, shines in our talk and shines in our walk. I hear the great voice of God from the book of Amos 5:24 saying, “But let judgement run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.”[Amos 5:24 KJV]
Now beloved, the challenge is for us is to continue to rise as Jesus has risen and lives in us; in our rising we testify that GOD IS REAL!
Sing Invitational Hymn no. 361 out of African American Church Hymnal
“Yes, God Is Real”