|A short presentation
for Palm Sunday, 2001. I love the Dean Jones one-man show "St. John in
Exile." (It is drama at its best, go and rent the video today!) I wanted
to do something with that flavor for my church, but I have a notoriously
bad head for memorization. I was able to do this short seven-minute show,
and paste the first half of the script behind a "rock" and read the rest
from a "scroll". Go to it!
|Although it is technically
(C) 2001, Andrew Bartmess, performance rights are freely granted provided
all Glory is given to God, and this boxed message is visible on any printed
hardcopy or electronic reprint.
(Enter with waves of greeting.)
Well! Shalom! Good morning!
I can't tell you how happy I
am to see you on this wonderful holy day! You're all looking well! I am
amazed that no one is surprised to see me, though! You get a lot of Old
Testament prophets in here, do you?
Well, for you young ones, my
name is Malachi. I was blessed to be the last of the Prophets to whom the
High One gifted with the foretelling of Jesus, the Christ. Of course in
our time, we didn't know of exactly whom we spoke, nor when He would arrive.
Sadly, so many of His people weren't prepared when He did come...I hope
that you, brothers and sisters, won't make the same mistake, when he comes
(Pick up wooden cross made
of twigs; hold long end up, as "sword".)
You see, when he rode in on that
long ago Palm Sunday, His people were waiting for a warrior. A fierce and
powerful fighter, yes, who would slay the hated oppressors, the Romans,
and drive them away from Israel, putting His people on the throne. Israel
wanted a slayer, a man of the sword...so many missed the Lord, when He
came as a servant (change direction of "sword") a man of the cross.
My what? My prophecies? Ah, there
you are wrong...they were almighty God's prophecies. And mine were only
a small part. God commanded me to speak to His people shortly after the
Temple had been rebuilt in Jerusalem, four hundred years before the arrival
of the Christ. I was sent first as Judge: the people had become proud and
lazy once the temple was rebuilt and finished. I told them that it wasn't
enough to be proud of raising the temple, that they had to listen and revere
God, and do His will. And to that message, God added the news of the coming
The Holy Spirit asked me to stop
in to see you today, that I might remind you of the many prophecies that
were related to man in the Torah, that you might be reassured of His Grace
in the...New Testament, is that what you youngsters call it? I've got them
(Pick up long scroll with
Now, there are over three hundred
such foretellings in the Old Testament, so you'd better get = comfortable.
What? Twenty? Now pastor, be
fair, how can I pick and choose from God's manifold greatness, all His
power and glory, and tie myself to such a small telling of Christ's coming?
Surely four or five hours is not...twenty. All right, twenty.
Now the prophecies were many,
not just from the Prophets, large and small, no, but from Genesis, and
the Psalms. The Scriptures are filled with the bits and pieces that pointed
to Christ, the high one. Not just of a Kingly Messiah, for which my people
cried to God, but also for the Suffering Messiah, as you are blessed to
And beloved, He did suffer. Hardly
a day goes by that I don't reflect on what He did; on the price He paid
for us. And He didn't have to pay it...He chose to, in love. At any time
Jesus could have listened to the Devil and stepped down from the Cross.
But He paid that death, in His blood...because He knew it was for you.
The Scriptures spoke thus in my time about the Messiah to come:
(Walk among the crowd, up
the aisles and across the sanctuary, with dramatic intent. Quotes may be
clearly read from the scroll, if you have trouble with memorization, like
He was to be the "Offspring of
a woman." The fruit of Abraham's vine, yes, and of Isaac. The Prophets
record that Christ would be born in Bethlehem, and be heir to the Throne
of David. And Isaiah proclaimed that He would be born of a virgin:
"Therefore, the Lord himself
will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth
to a son, and He will be called Immanuel." God with us! And what could
be truer than that?
The prophet Jeremiah proclaimed
that the young Holy One would escape a "slaughter of infants", that which
you now know as Herod's attempt to stop God's rising Prince of Peace. He
would escape into Egypt, just as Hosea wrote down.
In Isaiah 53:3, God spoke through
man, describing this very day in Jerusalem, so long ago: "Rejoice greatly,
O Daughter of Zion! See, your king come to you, righteous and having salvation,
gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey." He came
not on a horse, as a warrior king, but on a foal, bringing = peace.
And so, his last physical week
on earth began, as He came into Jerusalem to Hosannas and praise. We prophets
knew He would come, and wrote down what God revealed to us, but how could
we truly know God's power, and His sacrifice?
"The Spirit of the Lord will
rest upon Him," said the Psalms, and related that He would be betrayed
by a friend. He would have wisdom, yes, and be a teacher and a rabbi. But
with all his power, this glory...He let himself be sold out for thirty
pieces of silver, as Zechariah wrote down.
False witnesses would accuse
Him, and He would stand silent, said Isaiah, and He would be struck and
spit on. He would suffer horribly. "He was despised and rejected by
men, a man of sorrow, and familiar with suffering." The Psalms are
in accord with Isaiah: He was hated without cause, crucified with sinners,
hands and feet pierced, jeered and insulted. His own people mocked Him
with words from the Scriptures, and as the Romans pierced His side as it
was foretold, He prayed for them. And He prayed for his people. And he
prayed...for you. Isaiah, one of my favorites, even now... =
He took up our infirmities, and carried our sorrows...But He was pierced
for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities, the punishment
that brought our peace was upon him, and by his wounds, we are healed."
For you know that, don't you?
For all our shortcomings, as we walk around in the frail flesh, He is our
redeemer. When we strive on our own, and fail, and fall, only to kneel
at his feet, He remakes us every time we ask Him. He destroyed the power
of death, not just for my people the Hebrews, but for you, the gentiles.
From your book of John, He said: "I am the way, the truth and the life,
and no man comes to the Father, except by me." Are you not blessed
that you know the fulfillment of these prophesies, as the Chosen of my
day did not! That you know and receive the Christ, as the one whom all
the Scriptures foretold.
Because that is the message that
the Prophets repeated, that God spoke through men. And as you move towards
Easter, recall it! He came, that yhou might receive Him. He has destroyed
death, rebuked the devil of any claim to you, not because of your power,
but of His. And if you will ask Him into your hearts, nothing can separate
you from the love God has for you.
"Who shall separate
us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution,
of famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? We are accounted as no more
than sheep for the slaughter. But in all these things we are more than
conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither
death, nor life, no angels nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present,
nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall
be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our
From your book of Romans; a witness
even to those who took his earthly life.
So Hosanna! Glory and praise
to the High One! And may we all greet each other one day in that New Jerusalem,
when we will praise His entry into his eternal kingdom, and sing Hosannas
that will never end. Shalom!
(Rise and Exit.)