It's a true story, courtesy of Ida Mae Kempel. The names have been changed. Jeremy was 12 years old but he was only in the second grade, seemingly unable to learn. His body was twisted, his mind was slow, and his teacher, Doris Miller, often became exasperated with his squirming and his grunting noises. But at other times, he spoke pretty clearly and distinctly, as if a spot of light had penetrated the darkness in his brain. No one could have guessed that Jeremy would end up teaching his whole class - and his teacher.
Well, I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Easter Eggs."
Doris Miller finally became so exasperated with Jeremy that she asked his parents to come to St. Theresa's for a consultation. When she explained that it would be better for Jeremy and the other students if he were in a special school, his mother begged for Jeremy to stay where he felt safe.
After they left, she struggled with what to do. She wanted to sympathize with the parents - after all, their only child had a terminal illness. But what about the other students? Well, God did something in her heart that day. She ended up praying for the patience to be what Jeremy needed. From that day on she tried to ignore his noises and blank stares. One day he limped up to her desk, dragging his bad leg behind him. And out loud, Jeremy exclaimed, "I love you, Miss Miller!" The other students snickered and she was a little embarrassed.
As Easter approached, Doris told her students the story of Jesus, and she emphasized the idea of new life. Then she gave each child a large plastic egg and assigned them to bring it back the next day with something inside the egg that showed new life. The children were all excited - all except Jeremy. Doris saw no signs that he understood. She was going to call his parents that night to explain the assignment - she forgot.
The next morning, 19 children came to school, laughing and talking as they placed their eggs in this large wicker basket on Miss Miller's desk. Then came the time to open their eggs. One had a flower in her egg, another a plastic butterfly, still another had a rock with moss on it - all symbols of new life. When Doris opened the fourth egg, she just quietly gasped. The egg was empty! It must be Jeremy's. She was going to quickly set it aside when Jeremy suddenly spoke up - "Miss Miller, aren't you going to talk about my egg?" Doris said, "But your egg is empty, Jeremy!" He looked into her eyes and said softly, "Yes, but Jesus' tomb was empty, too! Jesus was killed, but His Father raised Him up!" The recess bell rang, the children ran out to play, and a teacher cried.
Three months later, Jeremy died. Those who paid their respects at the funeral home were surprised by what they saw there. On top of Jeremy's casket, there were 19 eggs - all of them empty.
And now our word for today from the Word of God in John 14:19 - something Jeremy really understood. Jesus said, "Because I live, you also will live." The tomb is empty. The arguments about the way to God end at that empty tomb. Our little, earthbound lives don't have to be small anymore - when we open up to the power of the One who blew the doors off His grave. Our questions and our fears about what happens after our last heartbeat are answered at that empty tomb.
Jesus has beaten what has beaten every other person who ever lived. Because He lives, you shall live also - forever.