Summary: Sunrise Service - He's Alive by Don Francisco - a perfect blend of words and music that communicates powerful truths.

There is a new, old song that I have loved ever since the first time I heard it. It’s new in the sense that’s it’s not a hymn of yesteryear but it’s old b/c it was first released in 1977 & some of you weren’t even alive then – 41 years ago.

I wish I could play the guitar & sing it for you b/c I think it is such a powerful & moving song. But I can’t; I don’t have that kind of voice & even if I did, I probably wouldn’t be able to get through it b/c it usually brings tears to my eyes b/c I am so drawn into the story. Instead, I going to read it to you, which is an injustice b/c it is such a great blend of words & music & the swelling & diminishing of the music just adds to its force & draws you into its story & message. So I apologize for just reading it.

Go ahead & pull up in your minds the story of Peter from his great boast about never denying the Lord even if everyone else did, to the actual denying of Jesus, to the death of Jesus this One he had been so attached to for 3 years, to what it must have been like for Peter from Friday evening after Jesus’ death through the Sabbath the next day, then to the hearing early Sunday morning from the women that Jesus’ body was gone & the tomb being empty, to running there with John but then leaving with questions but no answers. And if by chance Jesus had risen from the dead, what it would have been like for him since Jesus had seen him deny Him. Remember we’re told that after Peter’s third denial Jesus looked straight at him & Peter remembered Jesus’ prediction & he went out & wept bitterly. Well, that’s the story this song is based on. It is Don Francisco’s “He’s Alive!” & it’s told from Peter’s perspective:

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 half in fear the day,

Would find the soldiers crashing through to drag us all away.

Then just before the sunrise I heard something at the wall,

The gate began to rattle & a voice began to call,

I hurried to the window & looked down to the street,

Expecting swords & 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 were she'd been,

She said they moved Him in the night and none of us knows where,

The stone’s been rolled away & now His body isn't there.

We both ran toward the garden then John ran on ahead,

We found the stone & 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.

Something strange had happened there but what I did not know,

John believed a miracle but I just turned to go,

Circumstance & speculation couldn't lift me very high,

Cause I'd seen them crucify Him and then I'd watched Him die,

Back inside the house again all the guilt & anguish came,

Everything I'd promised Him just added to my shame,

But when at last it came to choices I denied I knew His name,

Even if He was alive it wouldn't be the same.

But suddenly the air was filled with a strange and sweet perfume,

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 clung to Him and cried,

He raised me to my feet and as I looked into His eyes,

Love was shining out from Him like sunlight from the sky,

Guilt and my confusion disappeared in sweet release,

And every fear I'd ever had just melted into peace.

He's alive, He's alive, He's alive and I'm forgiven,

Heaven’s gates are open wide.

He's alive, He's alive, He's alive and I'm forgiven,

Heaven’s gates are open wide.

He's alive, He's alive, He's alive and I'm forgiven,

Heavens gates are open wide.

He's alive!

Now of course, we don’t know what transpired when Jesus appeared privately to Peter (Lk.24:34; 1 Cor. 15:5) so yes, that part of the song is speculation but I sure can picture it being something like the song describes. And I also can just see Peter, after Jesus leaves, walking around his house, saying out loud, “He’s alive & I’m forgiven! He’s alive & I’m forgiven!” I don’t think that’s pushing it too much to imagine that b/c I could see myself having the same response.

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