Margin notes: Lazarus Laughed


John 12:9–11 (ESV) — 9 When the large crowd of the Jews learned that Jesus was there, they came, not only on account of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, 11 because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.

Forgive my going back to repost this, but in reading this portion again today, I was once again so tickled by the irony of the chief priests making plans to put Lazarus to death after Jesus had raised him. Can you imagine how the threat of death was useless, so empty to Him? It would be so utterly absurd to try and strike fear into this man’s heart as to be laughable in every sense of the word. And so I repeat a poem written quite a while back and shared before. But I trust it cheers your own soul today as you contemplate that the physical death which awaits us (should Christ tarry) is nothing compared to the death in trespasses and sins He has already raised the Believer from. Fear not beloved, the Mater of Life and Death reigns.

Killing Lazarus

Laz’rus! Have you heard the news?

The word’s all over town

The Priests, the Scribes and Pharisees

all want to bring you down

 

They’re plotting when and planning where

it’s best to take you out

Their minds are set, their hearts are hard

They’ll move without a doubt

 

The more I squawked and stammered on

the more his face would shine

And leaning back in perfect peace

He said “son, pay no mind”

 

“They’re scheming what? Now think with me

To kill me? That’s the plan?

Now hear me son, I’ve walked that path,

and walked it back again

 

“They really think that’s going to throw

a panic into me?

I’ve stared at death from inside out

and that’s some sight to see!

 

“Now I’m supposed to shake and quake

at threats from mortal men,

And hold my tongue from telling all

Christ raised me up again?

 

“You’ve got…, you’ve got…”, he started out

in trying to explain

“You’ve got to just be kidding me!”

Then, like bursting from some pain –

 

He let a howl from deep inside

escape with such a roar

I’m sure they heard him miles away

Or three or maybe four

 

The loudest, deepest, grandest laugh

that ever man has heard

erupted till the rafters shook.

A laugh the whole world heard.

 

As tears were streaming down his cheeks

he heaved and gasped for air

Then thinking he had stopped himself

broke out again and blared

 

“They’re going to try and kill me!

The man who Jesus raised!

Like death could ever scare me now –

Christ’s precious name be praised!”

 

And then he laughed, and laughed some more

Till all of us laughed too

in joy too deep for human words

Though shared by all too few

 

The promise of eternal life

Came crashing in on all

That Jesus truly conquered death

And triumphed o’er the Fall

 

No fear of death bound Lazarus

No threat could make him doubt

He’d known the power of Christ our Lord

Though buried – he came out

 

At just a word from Jesus’ lips

the power of death was gone

and life returned to lifeless flesh

The Kingdom Light had dawned

 

The day will come when we’ll laugh too

The trump of Christ will sound

And all the dead in Christ the Lord

will rise up from the ground

 

And meeting Jesus in the air,

with all who still remain

With Lazarus and all the rest

We’ll laugh at death and pain

 

In raptured sobs of joy and glee

We’ll reign with Him on high

And never feel the whispered lisp

Of pain or grieving’s sigh

 

We’ll shake our head like Lazarus did

at the foolishness of fear

To think – we’re loved by Christ the King

No joy, can be so dear

 

No doubt when Lazarus heard the news

that men sought his dispatch

He just lit up and shook his head –

Don’t doubt it, Laz’rus laughed

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2 thoughts on “Margin notes: Lazarus Laughed

  1. Wow! You did it again Reid! This is fantastic. What I call “hittin’ on all 8 cylinders.” I am passing this along for others to marvel at. I preached a sermon on this passage in 2011 along a similar vein of thought as part of my series “Men Who Died With a Smile on Their Face.” This one was subtitled “Once More Through the Tomb.” I began with some of the concluding lines from the movie “Cool Hand Luke” (Paul Newman as Luke) that came to mind again while reading your poem.
    “Dragline (George Kennedy): He was smiling… That’s right. You know, that, that Luke smile of his. He had it on his face right to the very end….if they didn’t know it ‘fore, they could tell right then that they weren’t a-gonna beat him. That old Luke smile. Oh, Luke. He was some boy. Cool Hand Luke….he’s a natural-born world-shaker.” You turned the smile into a laugh in your poem, and it really resonates with me, as I’m sure it will with others. P.S. Three other examples of “Men Who Died With a Smile on Their Face” already preached in my planned 12 sermon series are: Samson, One Push From Glory; The Thief on the Cross, The Last Old Covenant Saint; and Stephen, First New Covenant Martyr.

  2. By the way, I am reminded that I first encountered this great poem of yours on 2 AUG 2007 in an email to a list we both were part of. You mentioned this being a “repost.” Was the poem presented earlier on ResponsiveReiding?

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