By Neil Dodgson
Two business people stand some distance from the crucifixion site,
watching what is going on.
Both characters are business people. They know each other quite
well. A travels a lot and has just returned to Jerusalem. S/he
doesn't know much about what has been happening in the last week, but
has seen Jesus on a number of previous occasions in a variety of
places. S/he is fairly sympathetic towards Jesus. B is more of a
cynic, but has been in Jerusalem for all of the preceding week and
hence knows all of the gossip. S/he has, however, never actually met
The crucifixion can be imagined to be somewhere behind the audience, slightly off to one side.
(B is standing on stage, perhaps eating an apple, A walks in)
A: It's a good day for a hanging.
B: Yeah I didn't have much on so I came down for the fun.
A: Who is it today?
B: Three of them. (points) The one in the middle is that guy, Jesus-somebody. Have you heard of him?
A: Yeah, he was a big name up in Galilee.
B: Was, but not now, they all hate him now.
A: Why, what did he do?
B: I don't know, but it must have been something pretty bad.
A: Why's that?
B: It was one of his mates that dobbed him in.
A: Oh. Do you know who it was?
B: Yeah.....Judas...Is-a-chariot, or something.
A: Judas Iscariot?!
B: Oh, do you know him?
A: (with feeling) Oh yes! He's a jerk from way back. I heard he wanted to be a king or something himself, and then he got in with Jesus and started telling Jesus he was doing it all wrong and that Jesus should do things his way.
B: Then how come Jesus put up with him?
A: Well, they reckon that Jesus will put up with anyone. That he's taken in all sorts of wierdos and he makes them his friends.
B: Some friends, they all took off when he was arrested.
A: I suppose they're scared that they'll get the same treatment.
B: I guess so.
A: But there were lots of people around Jesus the few times that I saw him. Must have been a couple of thousand one time. Where are they now? They were pretty keen about him then!
B: If they were they've changed their tune - they're wanting to stone him now.
B: Mind you, I heard that the Roman Governor said that he didn't think that Jesus was all that guilty.
B: I tell you the truth: I've only been working in this city for a couple of years and I don't know much about the Jews, but I heard people saying that the Jewish authorities wanted him to be crucified so that all the Jews would think he was cursed and that the Roman Governor washed his hands of the whole thing. He didn't want to be responsible for it. And one thing I have to say about the Romans, where the law is concerned they're straight down the line. Now I don't want to give the Romans any more than they're due, but I have to say they know the law and if the Governor says this man's not guilty then he's not guilty.
A: If he's not guilty, what they are wanting to kill him for?
B: I think he's upset a few people.
A: Why? What did he do? Now, I only saw him a couple of times myself. But, one of the times he was speaking out on a hill, big crowd, very big crowd (as though to emphasise the point). Talked to them about loving your neighbour, stuff like that. Can't see anything wrong with that. And another time there were all these crippled guys - lame and blind - and he was healing them, actually physically healing them.
B: We can't have that.
A: It was strange.
B: I'll tell you what else is strange. Look at the three of them hanging there. (points) The other two've got A: lot of family about, come to support them in their final hours. I mean my family isn't much but if I was going to be crucified you'd think they'd turn up, even if it was just to make sure I went. But Jesus came up on his own. I'd have thought there'd be someone. Mind you, you know what the Romans are like: they've probably lifted anyone who was near him, just in case.
A: Obviously they're scared of something.
B: Tell me, what can he have done to get them all so fired mad?
A: I don't know.
B: You know what I heard, and it was pretty old by the time it got to me, I heard that there was this bloke and he was in his grave and everything - dead - and this man Jesus spoke into the grave and up he popped!
A: It happened, it happened!!
B: It did not.
A: It did. I was there. I saw it.
B: You did not.
A: I did.
B: Up out of the grave again?
B: I couldn't believe that.
A: But I can't see why people would be upset about it - well, undertakers maybe, but not anyone else.
B: Well yeah... Say, there's comthing I don't understand, and you may be able to help me with this. You see, in my line of work you have to talk to all sorts. They tell me that the Jews are waiting for this, what do they call it, Messiah, something like that. A king of some type. Top man, and he is supposed to do all these things, you know heal people and stuff like that. Now, the bit I can't understand is this: if this Messiah is supposed to do all these things and then this Jesus man comes and does them all, what do they want to kill him for?
A: (ironic) Then they'd have nothing to wait for.
A: I mean, he's not really the Messiah. If you are expecting a king or something to come along then he'd be some really amazing guy that everybody would look at think "wow this is the king". Whereas this Jesus just looks like everyone else.
B: You know what I heard too. You weren't in town a week ago, were you?
A: No, just got back yesterday.
B: Well, I should have gone down to the city gates myself 'cause you only hear the half of it. I heard that this Jesus came into the city in a big procession, riding on a donkey. Big day out, everyone cheering, the works. And there he comes, riding a donkey! I mean does no one have a horse or chariot or something?
A: No, he doesn't seem to care about those sorts of things.
B: Tell you one thing he does care about, and he really upset some people with this one. He went around and kicked all the tables of the money changers and people who were selling stuff in the temple.
A: He did what?
B: Yeah, he knocked over all the tables, made a great fuss, coins everywhere, it was funny. I'm sure a few people lost a fair bit of money on deals that day.
A: Do you know, there's one bloke I know, runs a stall there. He buys the doves and pigeons real cheap, and then sells them on at a nice profit. He says that if someone looks half wealthy at all coming in, the price goes up. And if they look really well off they charge three or four times for the same pigeons and doves and things. And they never know they're being done. I tell you he makes a lot of money. He's building a new house I believe, very nice, makes a lot of money, a lot of money.
A: You see that's the thing about this Jesus man. He doesn't like that.
(A rattle is heard off stage.)
B: What was that rattle?
A: It felt like a wee earthquake.
B: Do you think so?
A: It's getting a bit dark isn't it. Do you think well have thunder tonight.
B: The forecast didn't say that there was going to be thunder.
A: It is getting dark, maybe we better get inside before it rains.
B: Yeah, we can always come back up later in the afternoon and see how long he lasts up there.
(They start to walk off.)
A: You know, it's a shame he's being crucified. I mean, if he'd been made king, at least he'd know how tough life gets.
©1988, The Terrace, Palmerston North, New Zealand.
Permission is given for any Christian group to use this play provided it is not used in order to make money. Permission to use this play in any other way must be sought from Neil Dodgson. He may be contacted by email at Neil.Dodgson@cl.cam.ac.uk .