Awaiting the Lamb

A Visit from Malachi

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 again.

(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 many missed the Lord, when He came as a servant (change direction of "sword") a man of the cross. (Hold high.)

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 Messiah.

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 right here...

(Pick up long scroll with a flourish.)

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 know Him.

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 the author!)

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... = "Surely 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 Lord." 
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.)


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