Featured song: Sunday’s On The Way by Carman, from his 1983 album of the same name.

One thing that we will never know (until perhaps when we see the Lord face-to-face) about the first Easter is exactly why the Devil would take the step of getting people to crucify Jesus, when Jesus had already stated several times that He would rise again from the dead. I mean, how could Satan be so very stupid? To allow this event to happen may have been his big gamble, that God in human form would shrink back from this very terrible event, and complete the transaction of the authority of the earth to permanent, never-ending evil. If that was the case, it was a gamble that did not turn out the way the Devil wanted.

And during those three days that Jesus was amongst the dead, before He rose, what did He do? Was He tormented by the Devil beyond what had been done during the crucifixion and the events leading up to it, or was it the Devil himself who was the tormented one, realizing that events were working ever more powerfully against him?

Carman’s classic song, Sunday’s On The Way, takes a humorous look at the nail-biting that Satan must have done, waiting for that third day to come.

The demons were planning on having a party one night
They got beer, Jack Daniels, and pretzels,
A little red wine, and some white
They were celebratin’ how they crucified Christ on that tree
But Satan, the snake himself, wasn’t so at ease

Well, he took his crooked finger
And he dialed the phone by his bed
To call an old faithful friend, who’d know for sure if He was dead
“Hey Grave,” Satan said, “tell me, did my plan fail?”
Old Grave just laughed and said, “Hah, the dude is dead as nails”

Oooooh, on Friday night, they crucified the Lord at calvary
But He said, “Don’t dread,
In three days I’m gonna live again, you’ll see!”
When problems try to bury you, and make it hard to pray,
It may seem like Friday night, but Sunday’s on the way!

A tranquilizer and a horror flick didn’t calm Satan’s fear
So Saturday night, he called up Grave
Scared of what he’d hear
“Hey, Grave, what’s going on?”
Grave says, “Man, you’ve called me twice,
and I’ll tell you one more again boss, the Jew’s on ice.”

Devil said, “Man, remember when,
Lazarus was in his grave?
You see everything was cool, then four days later
BOOM, he was raised!
Now, this Jesus is much more trouble
Than anyone has been to me
And it’s got me shook, cause He says
He’ll only be there three!”

On Friday night, they crucified the Lord at calvary
Oh, but He said, “Don’t dread,
In three days I’m gonna live again, you’ll see!”
Yeah, when problems try to bury you, and make it hard to pray,
It may seem like Friday night, but Sunday’s on the way!

Sunday morning Satan woke with a jump,
Ready to blow a fuse
He was shaking from the tips of his pointed ears,
To the toes of his pointy shoes
He said, “Grave, tell me, is He alive? I don’t wanna lose my neck!”
The Grave said, “Your evilness, maintain your cool; you a wreck!”

Grave said, “Ah, now, cool your jets, Big D;
my sting is still intact
You see Jesus is dead forever
Man, He ain’t never coming back
So just mellow out man, go drink up or shoot up,
But just leave me alone
And I’ll catch you la… eh,
Oh no, man! Oh no! OH NO!
Somebody’s messin’ with the stone!”

And the stone was pushed away,
And it bounced a time or two,
And an angel stepped inside,
Said, “Hey, I’m Gabriel, who are you?
If you’re wondering where the Lord is,
At this very hour,
I tell you he’s alive and well, with resurection power!”

Oh, on Friday night they crucified the Lord at Calvary
Oh, but He said, “Don’t dread, in three days, you count em boys,
I’m gonna be kickin’ again, you’ll see!”
When problems try to bury you and make it hard to pray,
It may seem like Friday night
But I say Sunday
I’m here to tell you Sunday’s on the way!



Roll Call

Featured song: Lazarus Come Forth, from the 1984 album by Carman, Comin’ On Strong

The Raising Of LazarusAnyone 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
Oh, Lazarus,
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,
Oh, 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…?”

“Hey, Jesus!”

“Lazarus, come forth!
Come forth!
I command you,
Come forth!!”

Whoa, Lazarus,
Hey Lazarus,
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.”

Comin' On Strong, 1984, Carman


Back in this post, I made mention that for some reason, Jesus was best recognized by his disciples not by the shape of His face, or even by His voice, but rather that he was known by his scars, those on His hands and feet. It was very important to God the Father that the marks of Jesus’ suffering and sacrifice would be the means by which He would be best identified.

Picture credit--William Hole

However, this little detail was not known to the disciples of Jesus in those first few days after his death on the cross. When Jesus began to make known that He was indeed alive, He did not chose to announce His resurrection from the dead to the world at large. Instead, He focused on those friends of His. And He did not use His credentials of the scars as His calling card each time. On Easter morning, Mary the mother of James and Mary Magdalene went to the tomb, and had an angel tell them that Jesus was risen. Mary Magdalene stayed behind, and did not recognize Him until He spoke her name to her. In a later appearance to Peter, Jesus was recognized in the large catch of fish they had at His command, a reminder of how He had first met them.

And in today’s story, from Luke 24:13-40, it tells how Jesus encountered two of His followers who had to travel to a nearby town. While they were walking there, they talked about what had happened to Jesus, and during the conversation, Jesus came and joined them in their walk, and yet they somehow did not recognize Him. It was not until he broke bread with them that His identity was revealed to them.

Today’s song by Don Francisco, the last in the series of stories of Jesus, tells of that meeting on the road. It is the title song from the 1981 album The Traveler. Be ready yourself for Jesus to appear to you in the meetings that you have each day with people that you come across, and when you do, serve them as you would serve Jesus Himself!

The day dawned in confusion, like a nightmare with no end
Tired and dreary colors, ragged hopes that wouldn’t mend
The grief and fear of death just seemed to hang across the sky
And the pain just kept on burning, though the tears had all been cried

We were talking, as we journeyed toward a quiet country town
When another traveler asked us why we seemed so sad and down
It was like a dam had burst inside as I spoke my grief and woe
Amazed that someone leaving there could somehow still not know

But the Traveler called us foolish men, and dull and slow of heart
Then He showed us from the Scriptures, God had planned it from the start
But it wasn’t till the evening, that our eyes were opened there
And we knew that it was Jesus, but He vanished in the air!

We rushed back to Jerusalem to tell the others there
They said, “Peter’s seen Him too!” There was excitement everywhere
Nearly shouting to each other, as the realization grew
When all at once He spoke to us, “Peace be unto you.”

We started back in terror, for His radiance filled the place
The light was all around him, and was shining from His face
Then He smiled a smile of love that left no cause for doubt
And then because He knew our hearts He spoke our feelings out

“Why are you so troubled? Why are you in fear?
See my hands and see my feet; I myself am here
Reach out now and handle me, until you’ve all been shown
My life is more than spirit, for I’m here in flesh and bone.”

Some lifted hands toward heaven and then knelt without a sound
Some just stood and stared at Him as if rooted to the ground
But I could not contain the joy that flooded heart and soul
It came rushing out in praises I had no wish to control!

Joy! Joy! Joy! Joy!
Joy! Joy! Joy! Joy!

Jesus is the Lord of all!
Jesus is the Lord of all!
Jesus is the Lord of all!
We have been redeemed!


The Traveler, Don Francisco, 1981 You can purchase this music  from the artist’s web site here.


Journey's End by Derek HegstedJesus told his disciples many times why He had come to earth, and what He ultimately had to do. Despite this, it is remarkable how in this most important of His actions, the death of Jesus on the cross seems to have taken them all by surprise. The writers of the Gospel accounts don’t explain or defend the cluelessness of even Jesus’ closest friends; they simply document it. 

For one of these friends, Peter, the magnitude of his own failure was particularly painful. He had been one of Jesus’ most vocal supporters, and one most likely to take a chance (remember the walking-on-the-water miracle?) And just before the arrest of Jesus, Peter loudly proclaimed his refusal to leave Him, even if it meant death. When the time actually arrived and the soldiers came to apprehend Jesus in the garden, Peter even took his sword and attacked a member of the company (a slave, not a soldier). But rather than giving His followers the word to continue to defend Him, and instead of performing one of His many miracles of just avoiding those who were trying to captures, Jesus criticized Peter, healed the servant Peter had injured with his sword, and simply gave Himself up to the guard. The result was that even Peter turned tail and ran off, as did all of the other disciples.

Still not understanding what was going on, Peter didn’t go into hiding. He sneaked into the courtyard near where the trial of Jesus was held, and tried to get some information on what was going on, perhaps planning on how he could bring about a rescue. When he was recognized by others in that area, he tried to maintain his cover by denying any connection to Jesus. But as dawn approached, and after his third refusal to acknowledge an association with Him, a rooster crowed. This caused Peter’s world to cave in on him; he was reminded of Jesus’ prediction that Peter would disown Him three times. And to make it worse, Jesus was being brought through that courtyard at that very moment, and caught Peter’s eye. The enormity of his failure then overwhelmed him completely, and Peter ran off. He was so distraught by these events that he totally disappeared; he is not reported in any of the four Gospels as being in attendance at the crucifixion of Jesus. 

And that brings us to today’s song. This is Easter Sunday, 2009, when we celebrate that fact that the cross was not the end of the story of Jesus. He did not stay dead; on the third day after his execution, Jesus rose from the dead, just like He said He would to! He fulfilled His purpose for coming to earth, defeated the schemes of Satan, and won back rulership of the earth that Adam had lost to Satan. Jesus had achieved the greatest victory of all time!

And yet, in the midst of His victory, Jesus did not immediately take up rulership of the earth. His plans for the world involved much more yet to come before that time would be ready. What He did do was to make His resurrection known to just a few at a time. He started with the women who had helped in His ministry on earth, those who came to take care of His body in the tomb. Later He also appeared to His disciples in several instances that are documented in the Gospels. And although the scene with Peter described in today’s song is not in the Bible directly, it is entirely consistent with the heart of Jesus to seek out those who needed forgiveness. And Peter certainly did need that. Luke 24:34 mentions that Jesus appeared to Peter, and 1 Corinthians 15:4 states that of all the disciples, Peter was the first to see the risen Lord. So, here is Don Francisco’s vision of this encounter, inspired by John 20:1-8. He’s Alive appeared on his 1977 album, Forgiven, and is one of most famous songs of the Jesus movement.

The gates and doors were barred,
And all the windows fastened down
I spent the night in sleeplessness
And rose at every sound
Half in hopeless sorrow
And half in fear the day
Would find the soldiers breaking through
To drag us all away

And just before the sunrise
I heard something at the wall
The gate began to rattle
And a voice began to call
I hurried to the window,
Looked down into the street
Expecting swords and torches
And the sound of soldiers feet

There was no one there but Mary
So I went down to let her in
John stood there beside me
As she told us where she’d been
She said “They’ve moved Him in the night
And none of us knows where.
The stone’s been rolled away
And now His body isn’t there!”

We both ran t’ward the garden
And then John ran on ahead
We found the stone and the empty tomb
Just the way that Mary said
But the winding sheet they wrapped Him in
Was just an empty shell
And how or where they’d taken Him
Was more than I could tell

Well, something strange had happened there –
Just what, I did not know.
John believed a miracle,
But I just turned to go;
Circumstance and speculation
Didn’t lift me very high
‘Cause I’d seen them crucify Him,
And then I saw Him die

Back inside the house again
The guilt and anguish came
Everything I’d promised Him
Just added to my shame
When at last it came to choices,
I denied I knew His name!
And even if He was alive,
It wouldn’t be the same

Suddenly the air was filled
With strange and sweet perfume
A light that came from everywhere
Drove shadows from the room
Jesus stood before me
With His arms held open wide
And I fell down on my knees
And just clung to Him and cried!

He raised me to my feet
And as I looked into His eyes
Love was shining out from them
Like sunlight from the skies
Guilt and my confusion
Disappeared in sweet release
And every fear I’d every had
Just melted into peace!

He’s alive!
He’s alive!
He’s alive and I’m forgiven,
Heaven’s gates are opened wide

He’s alive!
He’s alive!
He’s alive and I’m forgiven
Heaven’s gates are opened wide

He’s alive!
He’s alive!
He’s alive and I’m forgiven
Heaven’s gates are opened wide

He’s alive!
He’s alive!
He’s alive!

Forgiven, Don Francisco, 1977