revjoaquinwillisweb.gifWhat prompts you to rise up, to respond to that in which you believe?  For many, the catalyst is a promise, for others, it is truth, hope or power.  And, when promises are broken, lies told, or truth revealed, we respond.  We rise up when our hope is destroyed, or renewed.  We rise up when power is abused, or wisely used.  

The resurrection of Jesus gets a rise out of the faithful, as does the fervent delivery of the gospel.  We are also stirred by political speech that gives us hope.   

Using the gift of words to excite is disturbing to some.  In Christ’s resurrection (Matthew 28:1-10) we see this.   We see the delivery of promise, truth, hope and power.   We see that
Jesus kept His promise and rose from the dead. In His resurrection we have truth revealed, and know that He was not a false prophet.  We also know hope through Jesus’ resurrection, and believe in our own.  We know the power of God through all of Jesus’ acts, and are assured that He is the son of God.  

Through Christ’s resurrection, God charges us:  1. Not to fear; 2. To know that He is not in a grave; 3. To go to Jesus’ tomb to see for ourselves; 4. To “Go quickly and tell others” upon seeing the resurrected Christ.

Through the resurrection, the disciples grew closer to Jesus. How?  In Matthew 28:10, Jesus tells the women to “Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee.”  Earlier, Christ had said to the disciples, in John 15:15, “I no longer call you servants, I now call you my friends.”   We see the progression from servants to friends.  And, at the resurrection, Christ calls His disciples “brothers.”  In spite of their deserting Him at His arrest in the Garden and abandoning Him at the crucifixion, Jesus forgave His disciples.

And as Christ forgave His erring disciples, He forgives us.  He forgave, too, the doubts of his actual blood brother.  According to John 7:5, James, in Judea, doubts that his brother, Jesus, is the Messiah.  Not until the resurrection did James believe.  James became one of the great Christian leaders.  

Resurrection humbles us, as it did James.  It makes anxious those who believe themselves unworthy of redemption.  Poor self image is not akin to humility.  True humility resides in recognizing God’s handiwork in us.  True humility is being blessed with God’s perspective, as was the Apostle Paul (I Corinthians 15:1-11); humility is acknowledging God’s grace in the gift of our abilities.    

The recent attacks upon the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright have gotten a rise out of the Rev. Dr. Samuel Mc Kinney.  At age 81, McKinney is a respected theologian.  In his “Not on My
Watch,” Mc Kinney says that “Dr. Wright is a true prophet, one who speaks truth to power and who, like Jesus, Micah, and Isaiah is not concerned about being politically correct.” 
McKinney describes political correctness as mere accommodation.

There is much in our current world linking us to Jesus’ resurrection, the centerpiece of our faith.  Because Christ rose from the dead as He promised, we know that He presented us with the truth — He is the Son of God.  Because Christ rose, we know that we, too, will rise.  Because He rose, we can be certain that our sins are forgiven – and this should get a rise out of us.   Because He rose, we know He lives and represents us to God – and we, too, should rise up for Him.  Because He rose and conquered death, we, too, know that we will not be vanquished by death.  If God can raise Jesus, we know that God can raise us. 

If you are a Christian, you must ask yourself, “Can God get a rise out of me?” 

The Rev. Dr. R. Joaquin Willis is pastor of the Church of the Open Door at 6001 NW 8th Ave., Miami.  To reach the church, call 305-759-0373 or email the pastor at