Christ is risen!
He is risen, indeed!
So begins the ancient litany celebrating Christ’s resurrection from the dead, by which he conquered sin and death. It is that victory in which we rejoice on Sunday.
Two brothers were alone in the kitchen coloring Easter eggs. The older brother pulled a carton of fresh eggs out of the refrigerator and told his little brother, “I’ll give you $20 if you let me break three of these eggs over your head.”
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The little brother said, “You promise?”
And the older brother said, “I promise.”
“You really have $20?”
“Yes. It’s the money Grandma gave me,” he said, showing the bill.
The older brother pulled out an egg and broke it over his younger brother’s head. It oozed down through his hair and ran down the back of his head. Then he pulled out another egg and broke it over his brother’s head, closer to the forehead. It went down the front of his face. After the second one, the little brother braced himself. He knew the third egg would be messy. He waited, but the third egg never came. Finally, he spoke up. “Hey, when’s the third egg coming?”
And then the older boy told him, “It’s not. If I broke that one over your head, it would cost me $20.”
Have you ever had egg on your face? We all have. We could use that as a metaphor for sin, for when we sin, we have egg on our face before God. To paraphrase William Shakespeare in “Twelfth Night,” “Some are born with egg on their face, some achieve egg on their face, and some have egg thrust upon them.”
Actually, all people are born with egg on their face. What does it say in Psalm 51:5? “I was born with egg on my face and with egg on their faces did my parents conceive me,” or something like that. Then all of us go on to add our own egg to that original egg. As Paul says in Romans 3:23, “For all have egg on their faces and fall short of the glory of God.” Sometimes we become the victims of sin and evil, and have that egg thrust upon us. We have all experienced injustice and unfair behavior. And more often than we care to admit, we thrust egg upon others.
Which brings us to Easter. Jesus was not born with egg on his face. Nor did he get any of his own egg on his face. But he certainly had egg thrust upon him. Throughout his ministry, Jesus was scorned by the religious leaders. As his ministry progressed, people drifted away when he talked about the rigors of discipleship. At the end, one of his own betrayed him, and the rest of the disciples abandoned him. Jesus went to the cross, where he had the egg of the world thrust upon him.
But that’s why he came. It was John the Baptist who pointed out, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the egg of the world.” On the cross, Jesus died at the hands of people who were thrusting egg on him, people acting as our proxies, and getting more egg on their own faces in the process. But as Luke points out, Jesus’ first words from the cross were, “Father, forgive them; for they don’t know what they are doing.” He died forgiving all that egg.
On the first Easter Sunday, Jesus rose to give us new life with God. He truly is our Savior, which is what his name means. As the angel put it, “You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from the egg on their faces.” On Easter, we celebrate Christ’s victory over sin and death. Those ancient enemies continue to plague us, but through Christ’s death and resurrection, we receive by faith forgiveness for the egg on our faces, and the egg we thrust upon others. Through his resurrection, we are empowered to live new lives, serving God and neighbor.
Easter and eggs go together. We see them everywhere this time of the year, hanging from trees, placed in people’s lawns, decorated by children and tucked into baskets. When we see those eggs, let’s remember our Lord Jesus, who came to wash the egg off our faces and rose again so that we might have his life.
Chris Milarch is the pastor at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in State College. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.