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The highest moment on the Christian liturgical calendar is upon us, Resurrection Sunday, also known as Easter Sunday.

There are many who point out the conflict in calling this day “Easter Sunday,” because of the roots of the easter and Eastertide. I’m not going to address this particular point like I have addressed the similar conflict with the roots of Christmas.

I do want to delve into the subversive meaning of Resurrection Sunday. Remember, the power structure of Rome conspired with the religious aristocracy of Jerusalem to murder Jesus.

In the Gospel of John, it alludes to the massive attention Jesus was receiving from the grassroots, peasant population of Judea. Those in power were troubled to the point they constructed plans to murder him.

I am reminded of the words of the late Black Panther Party Chairman Fred Hampton who said, “I am going to die for the people because I’m going to live for the people.”

Those iconic words illustrate the precarious position of Jesus then, and what people face who point out the systemic evils of a political system, and who organize ordinary people to resist it.

Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan have an amazing book titled “The Last Week, a day-to-day account of Jesus’ final week in Jerusalem.” In their book they point out that when Jesus entered Jerusalem for what we now call Palm Sunday, two events occurred that day.

There was a parade led by Pontius Pilate who entered Jerusalem from the west while riding a horse, which was the symbol of a conquering ruling king. Pilate would do this every year during the Passover Festival.

You must remember the political implications of the Passover Festival. It was when these African Jews of Northeast Africa would celebrate by remembering how God demonstrated God’s displeasure with people being oppressed and subjugated and how God sent a deliverer to overthrow the hold of Egypt on the people. This was a political act of liberation orchestrated by God.

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Therefore, Pilate led his parade into Jerusalem from the west along with his soldiers, bedecked in all their military regalia. He was saying to the natives that they better fear Rome and never entertain any thoughts of liberation from Rome.

The second event was Jesus organizing and leading a protest into Jerusalem from the east. Jesus rode a donkey, the symbol of peace, and the people threw palm branches to the ground to line his path because palm branches were a symbol of revolution. The people also shouted to Jesus, “Hosanna,” which means “Save Now,” “Deliver Now,” “Liberate Us Now!”

They were looking to Jesus to deliver them from Roman oppression. Jesus organized this entrance of protest in private so that it would not be discovered until the day he led the people.

This is why the puppet religious aristocracy decided that Jesus must die. They knew that if Rome and Caesar thought they could not keep the people docile and under control, then they would be dismissed and others put in their place by Rome.

We know initially it appeared that they ended the threat from this young radical named Jesus because they lynched him on a cross. Please remember that crucifixion was reserved only for political dissidents and revolutionaries who threatened the sovereignty of Rome.

Jesus was killed and they thought the threat was eliminated, but Resurrection Sunday is a reminder that the works of those who speak truth to power and organize people to live with dignity never really dies.

Resurrection Sunday is a reminder that resistance to systemic evil will continue to rise and that hope will always be resurrected to do battle with those who would oppress the powerless.

Resurrection Sunday says to those who feel powerless that their power is the power that moves upon the hearts of others to rebuild beauty from the ashes of destruction to a new reality of equity. It also reminds all of us that the struggle continues, to be faithful to all that is good for the most vulnerable, because in doing that we become privy to the Revelation of Resurrection.

Every day that each of us is gifted to draw breath is a resurrection that we have been given to make a difference for those who have been pushed to the margins of life by greed and arrogance.

Resurrection Sunday is a marker to revive, renew, and restore that human desire to resist evil and recast a vision where all people have enough of what they need, no matter who they are.

The writer said, “truth crushed to earth will rise again.” Another writer said, “Truth forever on the scaffold, wrong forever on the throne, yet that scaffold holds the future and beyond the dim unknown stands God in the shadows keeping watch above his own.”

Finally, my favorite hymnologist, Reverend Albert Tindley wrote, “Harder yet maybe the fight, right may often yield to might; wickedness awhile may reign, Satan’s cause may seem to gain, BUT there is a God who rules above with hand of power and heart of Love, and if I’m right he’ll fight my battle we shall have peace someday.”

Resurrection Sunday is for all who feel powerless to know that you have power that moves the very heavens on your behalf, so be encouraged today!

Uhuru Sassa!

Knowing The Truth - Part I
Rev. John E. Jackson
Senior Pastor at | + posts

Rev. Dr. John E. Jackson, Sr. is the Senior Pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ-Gary, 1276 W. 20th Ave. in Gary. “We are not just another church but we are a culturally conscious, Christ-centered church, committed to the community; we are unashamedly Black and unapologetically Christian.”

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