Featured song: Lazarus Come Forth, from the 1984 album by Carman, Comin’ On Strong
Anyone who grew up in a church that had Sunday school classes for children was exposed at a young age to stories from the Bible. There were stories from the New Testament about Jesus, but there were also those great stories from the Old Testament about the encounters that people had with God over the thousands of years before Jesus came to earth.
All of the most interesting stories are those in which God does something miraculous in His interactions with people. Hebrews 11 in the New Testament is specifically discussing the topic of faith, but in the process it gives snap shots of many of the miracles of those saints of the past.
These stories are compelling because they are not part of the ordinary life that we usually see from day to day. They inspire, they provoke dreams, and they have built up my confidence in the certainty that God interacts in daily life.
In today’s song by Carman, we have another Jesus story. Again, it is told from the point of view of someone in the story as he lives through it. The story is about Lazarus, one of Jesus’ friends, and his two sisters. Lazarus became ill; Jesus heard about it, but purposely chose to not come and heal Lazarus. Instead, He allowed this illness to take Lazarus’ life. And that choice made the miracle all the more miraculous, because it was not only a healing, but a resurrection from the dead.
The story, told from Lazarus’ point of view, shows his journey from life into death, and his interaction with the faithful dead saints of the past. It is told in the context of these souls having a meeting, and each sharing his or her testimony of God’s action in their life, how they knew Him. The song is a powerful reminder that God can make the difference in a life — in my life, and in your life, even today!
“I am the resurrection and the life
He that believeth in me
Though he were dead
Shall he live”
A certain man had died
In the town of Bethany
And Lazarus was his name
The Bible says he was
A man that Jesus loved
And his sisters
Thought it was a shame
Mary and Martha longed
For Jesus’ healing touch
To come and raise their brother
‘Cause they loved that boy so much
But Jesus had a plan
Not known to any man
That would soon take away their pain
They was waiting for Jesus to come and say
Hey, Lazarus, come forth!
When he died he went to where
The saints of God did stay
In the holding place
They lived beyond the tomb
And there he saw Elijah, Moses and Samuel, even Ruth
And all the others, jammed up in a room
He turned around and saw Ol’ Gideon standin’ by the door
He walked up, said, “Hey, brother
Tell me, what’s this group here for?”
Well, Giddie said,
“Well, alright, this is testimony night;
Have a seat, man, ’cause the meeting’s startin’ soon!”
While Mary and Martha just wanted to see their Lazarus,
When will their Lazarus, come forth?
Moses shook his stick, said,
“Now, this meeting come to order!
Can I get a witness for the Lord tonight?”
Abraham kicked it off, said,
“I want y’all know that I knew Him;
He gave a child to my barren wife!”
Isaac waved his hand, said,
“Hey, daddy, I knew Him, too!”
Jacob jumped up, says,
“Amen, Grandpa, preach it!”
Old dignified Solomon
He adjusted his robe, said,
“I knew him; He made me so smart,
I started to teach it.”
Ezekiel said, “I knew Him
As a wheel within a wheel.”
Job said, “Man, he healed me
When I was almost dead!”
Sampson said, “I knew Him
When some Philistines tried to jump me;
I took a donkey jawbone, busted a few heads!”
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego said,
“We knew Him in the fiery furnace.”
Jonah said, “Man, He gave me a second chance!”
Daniel cried out, “I knew Him
In a hungry den of lions”
The Holy Ghost hit King David,
He just started to dance!
Lazarus got so excited,
He shouted, “Hey, I knew Him too!”
Moses put down his stick,
Said, “Hey, who’s the new kid?”
Needless to say the room got real quiet
When Lazarus said, “But I knew Him
In a way that y’all never did.
“You see, man, I walked with Him and talked with Him;
I saw how His teachings awed the crowds.
Those famous tears of compassion, I could actually see.
Man, He used to come over to my house after church,
And my sisters would make Him dinner
Every month, I even supported his ministry.
“You see, man, I watched him confront the Pharisees
I was there when he fed the five thousand
I heard the people gasp when he healed the lame
You see, man, I even remember the littlest things;
The things that most folks would forget.
Like the simple, loving way He’d just
Call my name.”
Up at the grave, stone rolled away
With a loud voice Jesus started to say,
“You see, fellas, it just seems like yesterday,
I could hear that man saying my name…”
“As a matter of a fact it seems like today, I don’t…”
“Excuse me brothers,
I think I hear Him calling me now, what…?”
“Lazarus, come forth!
I command you,
Oh, Lazarus come forth!
Like Jesus was saying,
“Sickness be healed,
Mountain be moved”
When He said, “Lazarus come forth!”
Mary don’t weep, Martha don’t moan
Here come your boy, comin’ forth!
“He that believeth in me,
Though he were dead
Shall he live.”