The Easter Story
By Robert Henderson
Summary: This is a set of six simple scenes which tell the Easter story. We used this for a rather ambitious project: on the Saturday before Easter we ran a childrens holiday club, the idea being to teach the children to perform the play for their parents when they came to collect them. The six scenes were each allocated to a specific year group. We used two teenagers to play the part of Jesus in the different scenes. Doing the play this way is not for the faint hearted.
Bible Reference: Matthew 21:1-11; 26:26-28:10; Mark 11:1-11; 14:22-16:8; Luke 19:28-40; 22:14-24:12; 24:36-49; John 13:1-38; 18:1-20:29
Characters: Scene 1: Narrator, Jesus, Disciples, Andrew, Philip, Crowd. Scene 2: Peter, Jesus, Thomas, John, Judas, James, Disciples. Scene 3: Jesus, Peter, Judas, Priest, Malchus, Disciples. Scene 4: High Priest, Witness One, Witness Two, Witness Three, Witness Four, Jesus, Pilate, Crowd. Scene 5: Centurion, Simon Of Cyrene (non-speaking), Soldier 1, Soldier 2, Soldier 3, Soldier 4, Soldier 5, Soldier 6, Jesus, Bystander 1, Bystander 2. Scene 6: Narrator, Angel, John, Peter, Mary Magdalene, Jesus, Andrew, James, Thomas, Follower 1, Follower 2.
Props: Swords and armour for the soldiers, judges wig, bowl with water and towels, sign This is the King Of The Jews. We produced backgrounds for each scene by setting up a large back-projection screen behind the stage and projecting scanned images onto it.
Setting: Road to Jerusalem, The Upper Room, Gethsemane, Court Room, Golgotha, A Garden.
Scene One : Palm Sunday (Reception)
Narrator: Jesus is coming close to the end of his time on this earth. But his followers dont understand; they think he is going to be like any emperor or ruler in the world, and they expect to be well rewarded when they come into power under his leadership.
Jesus: It is time for us to go into Jerusalem and celebrate the Passover. Who is with me?
Disciples: We are.
(They all push each other in a bid to get closest to him and they wave their fists and hands at each other)
Jesus: Why are you all arguing and pushing each other? Dont you understand that my kingdom is not like the kingdoms of the world? We share everything we have. We must not be jealous of each other. Whoever pushes to the front of the queue must go to the back. Whoever wants to be rich must become poor. But the poorest of you will be the first in my kingdom.
Andrew: Yes Lord, but you must be the greatest.
Jesus: First I must be the least of all and I must be treated like a criminal; you will not see me for a while, but then I will return.
(The Disciples look puzzled and frown at each other)
Jesus: But now we must go into Jerusalem, to have a party for the feast of the Passover.
Philip: But how can we have a party? We have no money for food
(They search their pockets)
Jesus: Go into the town and you will find a young donkey tied up that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here, and if anyone asks What are you doing? tell them the Master needs it and will bring it back.
(They go down the street and find the donkey and untie it. When someone tries to stop them they point animatedly in the direction of Jesus, and they are allowed to take the donkey away. They put their cloaks on it and Jesus climbs on. As they process down the street the crowd cheers.)
Crowd : Hosanna. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna.
(All process round the church singing: Make Way, make Way)
Scene 2 The Last Supper (Years 5 and 6)
(Jesus has a bowl of water and a towel. He begins to wash Peter's feet.)
Peter: It is not the Kings place to wash a servants feet, surely?
Jesus: I am the servant King.
Peter: Then wash all of me. Wash away the grime and the dust, and wash away the sin of pride, which we are all guilty of.
Jesus: You must all serve each other. Follow my example. I give you a new commandment: love one another in the same way as I have loved you. Will you do that?
Thomas: Promises are easy.
John: We will try.
Jesus: One of you will betray the promise one of you will betray me.
Peter: Surely not, Lord.
Jesus: Yes even one of us sitting around the table now, breaking bread and sharing the cup with us.
Peter and the disciples each in turn: Is it I?
Judas: (the last one to speak) Is it I?
Jesus: Yes, Judas, you will go straight from the party to my enemies. You will point me out to them so that they can arrest me.
(Judas shuffles out)
Jesus: Eat this bread it is my body. We are all one body in sharing this bread. Drink this cup it is my blood. This is shed for you to save mankind from sin. Do this to remember me, and to remember our party together (to Peter) Can you share the cup of suffering with me?
Peter: Yes, Lord.
Jesus: Can you keep watch with me for a whole night?
Peter: Yes, Lord, of course.
Thomas: I doubt that.
James: What did he mean by asking us to eat his body?
John: There are some parts I'm not going to eat.
Scene 3 The Garden of Gethsemane (Year One)
Jesus: All of you will say you do not who I am, and you will run away and leave me; but when I have returned to life, I will meet you again in Galilee.
Peter: I will not run away even if all the others do.
Jesus: Oh yes you will; before the cock crows twice you will have already said you dont know who I am three times
Peter: I will stay with you even if I die
(The other disciples all nod their heads vigorously in agreement. They all walk into the garden of Gethsemane.)
Jesus: Sit here, while I pray.
(They sit down as instructed and then Jesus takes Peter, James and John with him a small distance away. They kneel down)
Jesus: I am so full of sorrow. Stay here and keep watch.
(Jesus moves on a bit further and throws himself on to the ground.)
Jesus: My father, all things are possible for you. Take away this cup of suffering from me (Jesus wipes his face several times). But not what I want, but what you want.
(Jesus returns to find the three disciples asleep)
Jesus: Couldnt you keep awake for one hour you sleepy heads? Watch you arent caught out by the devil.
(Jesus goes back to pray again and then comes back once more.)
Jesus: Still asleep? But thats enough. The hour has come for the Son of Man to be betrayed. Look, here comes a crowd.
Judas: (Comes up to Jesus and greets him) Master.
Priest: Thats the signal. The one he greeted is the one we want. Arrest him.
(A large crowd, moves swiftly towards Jesus as the disciples flee in terror, although one of them stays just long enough to cut off Malchus ear).
Malchus: He cut off my ear!
Jesus: Be healed. (He touches Malchus' ear and heals him. Then he speaks to the crowd.) Did you have to come with all these weapons and arrest me like a criminal? You could have arrested me at any time.
(Jesus is led away to face trial)
Scene 4 : The Trial Of Jesus (Year 3)
(The Courtyard. The High Priest is surrounded by the other chief priests all discussing with each other heatedly what charges to bring against Jesus. There is a lot of arm-waving and pointing.)
High Priest: What is the charge against the prisoner?
Witness One: (excitedly) We heard him say he would tear the temple down, and three days later build another one.
Witness Two: He said that men built the first temple, but the new one would not be built by man.
(Four witnesses all speak at once)
Witness Three: He actually said it was on the fourth day that he would ..
Witness One: No, He didnt ..
Witness Two: He meant that ..
Witness Four: There isnt any proof&
High Priest: Shut up, all of you, this is a Court of Law (turning to Jesus) Do you have any answer to these charges?
(Jesus is silent)
High Priest: Are you the Messiah, the son of God?
Jesus: Yes, I am And you will see me at Gods right hand and ..
High Priest: (angry) We dont need any more witnesses. This blasphemy is enough. What do you think? Is he guilty?
Crowd and witnesses: Guilty, guilty, guilty &
(They all mock him and blindfold him and pretend to hit him).
High Priest: Take him to the Roman Governor. Take him to Pilate!
(Troop out. Pilate enters and makes himself comfortable on a grand seat. Then the rest enter)
Pilate: Are you the King of the Jews? (no answer) Well, are you going to answer? (to the Jews the Council and crowd) Around the Passover I normally set free a prisoner. Shall I give you the King of the Jews?
Crowd: We want Barabbas, we want Barabbas, we want Barabbas &
Pilate: (holds up his hand for silence) So what shall I do with Jesus?
Crowd: Crucify, crucify, crucify...
Pilate: (holds up his hand again) Why? What has he done?
Crowd: Crucify, crucify, crucify ..
Pilate: Very well, but it is not my doing. I'm having nothing to do with killing an innocent man. (He washes his hands.) I wash my hands of this.
Crowd: May Jesus' blood be upon us and upon our children
Scene 5: The Crucifixion (Year 4)
(The soldiers beat Jesus, dress him in a purple robe, crown him with thorns and sarcastically chant and bow down before him .)
Soldiers: Hail the King of the Jews, Hail the King of the Jews &
(They carry on taunting him as they push him towards Golgotha; he stumbles and they force Simon of Cyrene to take the cross)
Centurion: Oy, you there, you look a strong fellow; lend the King a hand will you?
Soldier 2: Yes, we cant bear to see the King struggling along now can we?
(Simon carries the cross until they reached Golgotha)
Soldier 3: Here (offers Jesus a drink) have a swig of this. You won't feel a thing when we bang the nails in.
Soldier 4: Lets take his cloak.
Soldier 3: I wouldnt mind that.
Soldier 4: Ill toss you for it. (Rolls a dice the winner grabs the cloak)
Soldier 5: What time is it?
Soldier 1: (Looks at the sky) About nine oclock.
Soldier 5: Do you think hell last till sunset?
Soldier 1: Ive seen them last for days.
(One soldier puts up a sign the King of the Jews as they put Jesus on the cross.)
Jesus: Forgive them, father, they dont know what they are doing.
Bystander 1: Ha, you planned to destroy the temple and build it again in three days.
Bystander 2: Come down from the cross if you can.
Jesus: My God, My God. &
Bystander 1: Listen he's calling someone.
Bystander 2: Lets see if anyone comes to save him.
Jesus: It is finished. (He bows his head and dies.)
Soldier 1: Truly, this man was the son of God.
Soldier 6: (Just arriving) Weve orders to finish him off. The body has to be buried by sun set.
Soldier 1: Therell be no need for that. Look, hes already dead.
Soldier 6: So soon? Pilate has given permission for a man named Joseph to bury it.
Soldier 1: You know, there are rumours that this mans followers are going to steal his body, and pretend he has risen from the dead
Centurion: What a crazy idea. We'll make certain that doesn't happen. When they put the body in the tomb place a very heavy stone in front of the entrance. I want two reliable guards placed on sentry duty all night.
Night descends (lights off)
Another day and night pass (lights on and off)
Next morning (lights on)
Scene 6 : The Resurrection (Year 2)
Narrator: After The Sabbath Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus got up early to visit the place where Jesus was buried. When they arrived they were surprised to find the stone rolled away, and there was a figure dressed in white.
Angel: Dont be afraid; I know you are looking for Jesus. He is not here, but has come back to life. Go and tell the disciples. He wants to meet them.
Narrator: They returned to the disciples, two of whom went straight to the tomb. Peter was in the lead, but John ran faster and got there first.
John: The tomb. It's empty.
Peter: What can this mean?
(They return to the other disciples, who are in a room[another part of the stage] looking sad.)
Mary M: Oh, sir I know you are only the gardener but have you seen the man they call Jesus? They buried him here two days ago, but he is no longer there? Do you know what they have done with him?
Mary M: (Realises it is Jesus and kneels before him) My Lord!
&meanwhile in the upper room.
Peter: It should not have happened like this.
Andrew: We gave up good jobs to follow him.
James: And we couldnt even stay awake for a few hours.
John: And we didnt have the courage to see him die.
Peter: How could we have expected a carpenters son to rule the world?
Thomas: I always doubted it myself.
(Mary M bursts in)
Mary M: I have seen him!
Thomas: You're confused and upset. You're imagining things&
(Two followers breathlessly burst into the disciples meeting)
Follower 1: We have seen him. Jesus...
Follower 2: We saw him on the road to Emmaus.
Thomas: It can't be true.
(Suddenly Jesus is standing amongst everyone)
Jesus: How little faith you have. I had to give my life to save the world.
Thomas: I must feel your wounds.
(Feels them carefully the kneels down before Jesus)
Thomas: My Lord and My God
Peter: How foolish we have been.
Jesus: Even the greatest wisdom of man is foolishness in the eyes of God. But I will give you the wisdom of God, as you go out to tell the whole world about me.
This script is Copyright 2003 Robert Henderson, All Saints Milton. Permission is given to use this drama in non-profit making church events provided the source is acknowledged. Please let us know if you have any comments.