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“Kick Me!” Matthew 28:1-10 Key verse(s): 6:“He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.”


Getting pulled into a practical joke is not much fun; especially when you walk in so innocently and depart with egg all over your face. I remember that my two brothers and I always had a pretty good time playing jokes on one another. Some were simply like pinning a “kick me” sign on the back of a jacket. And, then again, some were pretty elaborate. It was the elaborate ones that really stick in my mind even after all of these years.


There is only one sure and good way to pull a well-designed and high impact practical joke on somebody. It can’t be a spur of the moment thing. It takes time and teamwork to execute a “real” practical joke. And, I am convinced, that is why God gives us brothers. Those who have more than one brother as do I, are in real luck. When two can plan, one is always left over to be the convenient prey. That’s what was always so rewarding about growing up in the Brunner house. Three boys sharing one bedroom, none separated by more than a year and a half in age, is just the right formula for generating pranks of all sorts. On some boring day when the sun was not shining and we couldn’t be outside to expend our energy, the urge to plot and plan would suddenly take hold. “Hey! We could trick Glenn!” or “Mark is reading. What if we . . . “ or “Kurt would never see it coming. Let’s . . .” What one didn’t think of, the other did. The unsuspecting brother, despite the fact that he should have been prepared, walked right into and, wham! The prey was trapped, dumped-on or temporarily rendered foolish. That was the name of the game, put out the bait and then sit back and watch.


Of course, the real king of all practical jokes was the one that could be deflected back at the perpetrators. Overhearing the plot and then going along with it just to make it backfire was the epitome of all practical jokes. If you knew that the other two were plotting to put a pail of water over the bedroom door and you knew that they had to come and seek you to draw you into their trap, it was just as easy and even more fun to play the fool and lure them into your trap when they least expected to be fooled on the front-end of their own practical joke. Watching their surprised and stunned expressions was one of the greatest triumphs of boyhood. Just when they think they have you trapped, you spring your own and put the whole plan into a cocked hat.


Sometimes I think that is how Satan must have felt when he plotted and planned for our Savior’s demise. He had planned this for ages, the chance to get his revenge on the One who had thrown him from the heavens, expelled him from paradise. The plan was a good one. Trap the Son of God into being received as the Messiah and then, just when he had been proclaimed the Savior of all Israel, kill him. What fun and delight the devil and his minions must have had as they watched the life of our Savior play right into their hands. Those unsuspecting and easy to dupe band of disciples would not even know what hit them. The women that followed him and had sacrificed all would be left destitute and looking the fools. Why even the Jewish Sanhedrin could be pulled into it. Responsible for the killing of the Son of God? Now what would God have in store for them this time? And sinful man? We would finally have them right where we wanted them all along. Without hope of ever pleasing God and with the blood of his own son dripping from their hands where else could they turn but to the king of this world, Satan himself?


What a plan and Satan nearly pulled it off. He counseled with his peers and laid out the plan. He watched it unfold and even got more than he bargained for. Stoning or being thrown off a cliff would have done just nicely. But, crucifixion! Now that was a real boon. There is no doubt that as Satan prowled Golgotha that dark Friday, he was laughing and yukking it up pretty good. But, in the end, what he had planned so carefully and had taken great pains to pull-off ended up in one big backfire. Just when he was ready to spring the trap and declare the victory, he found himself hoisted on his own petard. Wanting to prove his power over Christ and his mastery over mankind, he ended up walking into his own trap. He had attacked the wrong man. Martin Luther wrote: “But he meets with a higher power which he cannot overcome. And all this has been wrought in order that our Lord Christ might glory because by being cast down He was lifted up on high, and these three mighty foes, sin, the devil, and death, must low lie under His feet . . . Thus sin, like death, attacked the wrong man, and so grew weak and died in His body.” (Sermon for Easter Day, 1544. w.a. 52. 249f) On Easter Sunday the one with egg on his face wasn’t the sinless son of God, the disciples, the women or even us! And it’s still there today.

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