The Road To The Cross

By John McNeil, based on a series of meditations by an unknown author. 


A multimedia presentation which traces the events of Good Friday, from the trial of Jesus to the crucifixion. It is based on the Stations of the Cross, but aims to show that the events of Easter have relationship to today's world. The scenes alternate between scenes filmed/video'd on site in various locations around the city and hills, and live action on stage, using some of the same personnel.

Production notes

The aim of this play is to show that the events of Easter have relationship to today's world.
The scenes alternate between scenes filmed/videod on site in various locations around the city and hills, and live action on stage, using some of the same personnel.
Ideally,  the camera should be Jesus, rather than have him portrayed by an actor. The camera lens becomes the eyes of Jesus, so that through it, every viewer also becomes Jesus, and experiences what he experiences. There is no dialogue during the video\film clips, only the natural ambient sounds. They may be supplemented by appropriate music and/or sound effects.
The lines on stage may be spoken live or done with voice over.
The characters denoted "Everyman" may be played by either male or female, and some parts may be doubled.
The cast may be dressed in modern day clothes, or alternatively in black costume.

Characters on stage

Everyman 1, 2 and 3
Mary, Jesus' mother



(We see the doors to a large civic chamber.
They open, and Jesus is pulled roughshod into the chamber.
At the far end is a figure with his back turned.
During this time, and as the group proceeds,
we hear the voice over.....)

Very early in the mornng, the religious authorities  reached a decision.
They bound Jesus, led him away and turned him over to the governor, Pontius Pilate.

(As the camera approaches, the figure turns.
With raised eyebrow, he surveys the crowd,
and appears to question first the captors, then Jesus.
Unsatisfied with the answers, Pilate gestures with
annoyance and turns his back.
He quickly snaps round again at a comment
from the chief priest and looks arrogantly at him.
Pilate shrugs, gestures his dismissal, and turns again. )

(Jesus is taken roughly away, and as the camera turns,
we see a small group of common people huddled
inside the door.
The camera closes in to a CU (close-up) of Everyman 1,
who flinches and turns away.
As Jesus and the priests exit, we hear the Voice of Christ.)

In Pilate's hands, I see my Father's will.
Though Pilate is unjust, he is the lawful governor, and he has power over me.
And so the Son of God obeys a son of man.
You are my other self, my representative here on earth.
If I can bow to Pilate's rule, because this is my Father's will,
can you refuse obedience to those whom I place over you?

(The video freezes, and lights up reveals
Everyman 1 on stage.)

My Jesus,
obedience cost You your life.
For me,
it costs an act of will -
no more -
and yet how hard it is for me to bend.
Remove the blinkers from my eyes
that I may see that it is You whom I obey
in all who govern me.
Lord, it is You.



(We are in an outside courtyard or precinct
of the same building. Jesus is tied with his
face to a tree or post, and whip blows are
being rained on his back. Roughnecks are
haranguing and taunting him.
The whipping over, they cut Jesus down,
and punch and kick him on the ground.
We see blood run down the camera lens.
Jesus is lifted up, and a rough piece of timber
is thrust over his shoulder. Carrying it heavily,
he is forced out to the roadway. The small
crowd of common people who were in the
hall have moved outside to watch him pass.
The camera zooms in to CU of Everyman 2,
and then moves on.)

This cross, this chunk of tree,
is what my Father chose for Me.
The crosses you must bear
are largely products of your daily life.
And yet my Father chose them, too,
for you.
Receive them from His hands.
Take heart, My other self,
I will not let your burdens grow
one ounce too heavy for your strength.

(The video freezes. Lights up on stage
reveal Everyman 2.)

My Jesus, Lord,
I take my daily cross.
I welcome the monotony
that often marks my day,
discomforts of all kinds,
the summer's heat, the winter's cold,
my disappointment, tensions, setbacks, cares.
Remind me often that
in carrying my cross,
I carry yours with You.
And though I bear a sliver only of Your cross,
in return
You carry all of mine, except a sliver.



(Jesus drags himself along the street,
already at the limit of his ability to
carry the cross. He stumbles several times.
As he passes, passers-by react with a
mixture of feelings. Some jeer or spit at him.
Some are horrified at what is happening.
Most are just confused. Suddenly Jesus falls.
He lies briefly still, then turns his head.
The camera sees in CU the face of
Everyman 3 bending over, bewildered.
The video freezes.)

The God who made the universe,
and holds it in existence by His will alone,
becomes, as man, too weak to bear
a piece of timber's weight.
How human in His weakness is the Son of Man.
My Father willed it thus.
I could not be your model otherwise.
If you would be My other self,
you must also accept without complaint
your human frailties.

(Everyman 3 is seen on stage.)

Jesus, how can I refuse?
I willingly accept my weaknesses,
my irritations and my moods,
my headaches and fatigue,
all my efects of body, mind and soul.
Because they are your will for me,
these "handicaps", of my humanity,
I gladly suffer them.
Make me content  with all my discontents,
but give me strength to struggle after you.



(The camera continues along the street,
wavering, dipping, often out of focus,
mirroring the increasing exhaustion of Jesus.
A woman's figure is seen, at first very blurred,
then gradually coming into focus. It is the
mother of Jesus. She is in agony as she watches.
She bursts through the crowd to go to Jesus,
but is beaten back. The video freezes on a
CUof her face.)

My mother sees Me whipped.
She sees me kicked and driven like a beast.
She counts my every wound,
and her soul cries out in agony.
She shares my martyrdom,
and I share hers.
We hide no pain,
no sorrow,
from each other's eyes.
This is My Father's will.

(The figure of Mary is seen on stage.)

My Jesus, Lord,
I know what You are telling me.
To watch the pain of those we love
is harder than to bear our own.
To carry my cross after You,
I, too, must stand and watch
the sufferings of my dear ones...
the heartaches, sicknesses and grief
of those I love.
And I must let them watch mine, too.
I can only hold on to the belief
that for those who love You
all things work together for good.
They must!!



(Jesus stumbles, falls, rises, then falls again.
This time he cannot rise. Legs try to kick him back
onto his feet, and arms try to drag him up, but to
no avail. The crowd jeer. Soldiers suddenly point
to a man in the crowd. He is startled, but before he
can protest, he is grabbed and pulled out. He is
forced to pick up the cross, and shoulder it.
Helped along by blows, he stumbles on, followed
by Jesus.)

My strength is gone.
I can no longer bear the cross alone.
And so the soldiers
make Simon give me aid.
This Simon is like you,
My other self.
Give me your strength.
Each time you lift some burden from
another's back,
you lift as with your very hand
the cross's awful weight
that crushes Me.

(The figure of Everyman 1 is seen on stage.)

Lord, make me realise
that every time I wipe a dish,
pick up an object off the floor,
assist a child in some small task,
or let someone go ahead
in traffic or the store;
each time I feed the hungry,
clothe the naked,
teach the ignorant,
or lend my hand in any way -
it matters not to whom -
my name is Simon.
And the kindness I extend to them
I really give to You.



(The  party passes a crowded sports ground.
Blood is running down the camera lens.
A St John's volunteer first aider on the edge
of the crowd turns to see what is happening.
He/she is first horror-stricken, then picks up their
kit and runs towards the camera. Kneeling down,
they try to clean up some of the wounds.)

Can you be brave enough, My other self,
to wipe My face,
bloodied and battered almost beyond recognition?
Where is my face, you ask?
At home whenever eyes fill up with tears,
at work when tensions rise,
on playgrounds, in the slums,
the courts, the hospitals, the jails -
wherever suffering exists -
My face is there.
And there I look for you
to wipe away My blood and tears.

(The figure of Everyman 2 is seen on stage.)

Lord, what you ask is hard.
It calls for courage and self-sacrifice,
and I am weak.
Please, give me strength.
Don't let me run away because of fear.
Lord, live in me,
and act in me,
and love in me.
And not in me alone,
but in all of us together,
so that we may reveal
no more your bloody but your glorious
face on earth.



(Jesus, Simon and others are now beginning to
climb a hill path. A group of mothers are playing
with their children on the track. When they see the
approaching group, they quickly round up the
children and hustle them off to the side, protecting
them as best they can. One of the women
recognises Jesus, and cries out. She tries to go
to him, but is pushed back, weeping.)

How often had I longed to take
the children of Jerusalem
and gather them to Me.
But they refused.
But now these women weep for Me
and my heart mourns for them -
mourns for their sorrows that will come.
I comfort those who seek to solace Me.
How gentle can you be, My other self,
How kind?

(We see the figure of the woman on stage.)

My Jesus,
your compassion
in your passion
is almost beyond understanding.
Lord, teach me,
help me to learn,
when I would snap at those
who hurt me with their ridicule,
those who misunderstand,
or hinder me with some misguided helpfulness,
those who intrude upon my privacy.
Help me curb my tongue,
may gentleness become my cloak.
Lord, make me kind like You.



(The group reaches the top of the hill.
We see three poles lying on the ground,
alongside three freshly dug holes.
Exhausted, Simon drops his cross bar, and is
pushed to one side. He joins the remaining
few onlookers who have lasted the distance.
Jesus is hauled upright, but can stand only
held up by a soldier. They none too gently
strip him of his clothes, which they flourish.
Standing back, they laugh and jeer at His

Behold, my other self,
the poorest king who ever lived.
Before my creatures I stand stripped.
The cross - my deathbed -
even this is not my own.
Yet who has ever been so rich?
Because this is the path
I have chosen to follow.
Know this -
your body may be broken,
but no force on earth
and none in hell
can deprive you of your will, your choice.
Do not care about your food,
your clothes, your life.
Follow the will of My Father,
and you will have all these when they are needed.

My Lord, I offer you my all,
whatever I possess, and more,
my self.
Detach me from the craving for
prestige, position, wealth.
Root out of me
all trace of envy of my neighbour
who has more than I.
Release me from the vice of pride,
my longing to exalt myself.
May I be poor in spirit, Lord,
so that I can be rich in you.



(Jesus is hauled against the cross pole.
The nails are hammered in, and at blow
we see the onlookers flinch and turn away,
only to turn back again. They want to run,
but the horror of the scene compels them
to remain.
The poles are hauled upright, and the earth
rammed into place to hold them. From the
cross, we look down on the crowd through
the camera's eye. Some are still standing,
but supporting each other in their pain,
some have turned, unable to bear the sight,
others are kneeling weeping.)

Can you imagine what a crucifixion is?
My executioners stretch My arms;
they hold my hand and my wrist against the wood,
and press the nail until it stabs My flesh.
Then with one heavy hammer smash
they drive it through,
and pain
bursts like a bomb of fire in my brain.
They seize the other arm;
and agony again explodes.
Then raising up my knees
so that my feet are flat against the wood,
they hammer them fast, too.

(We see the figure of Simon on stage.)

My god,
I look at you and think:
Is my soul worth this much?
What can I give you in return?
I here and now accept
for all my life
whatever sickness, torment,
agony may come.
And as each arrives,
this picture will burn itself afresh
into my mind,
reminding me
that no suffering you allow
will be more than I can bear.



(The camera rises and falls as Jesus tries to
relieve the pressure on his lungs and gasp some
air. His vision is blurred. He looks down at the
roughnecks gambling away his clothes. He sees
others mocking and jeering. And finally he sees
those of his friends who have remained to the end.
His mother and John are to one side, comforting
each other. During all this, we hear the voice of Jesus.)

To speak, I have to raise myself
by pressing on my wrists and feet,
and every move engulfs me in
new waves of agony.

Forgive them Father,
they don't know what they are doing....

Today, you will be with me in paradise......

Son, there is your mother.
Mother, there is your son.....

I thirst.....

And then, when I have borne enough,
have emptied my humanity,
I let my mortal life depart.

It is done!

(The video freezes.
The stage goes to black. There is a sound of wailing.,
then silence. A drum beats briefly. A bell tolls a couple
of times.
(Everyman 1, 2 and 3, Simon, and Mary
enter on stage, carrying the body of Jesus.
As they process across the stage, we hear the
voice of Jesus.)

The sacrifice is done.
But not my mother's,
not yours.
My mother must still cradle in her arms
the lifeless body of the son she bore.
You, too, must part from those you love,
and grief will come to you.
In your bereavements, think of this:
A multitude of souls were saved,
and more yet will be saved
as you continue to share
in my suffering.
That is the price of a soul.

(The group lay the body of Jesus down.
Mary kneels, and takes him into her arms,
rocking and weeping. The others leave slowly,
looking back over their shoulders one at a time.
As they go, we hear the Voices.)

Help me to accept the partings that must come -
 friends who go away,
children leaving home,
and most of all,
loved ones who die,
some in peace,
some in tragedy.
Then, give me grace to say:
"As it has pleased you, Lord,
to take them home,
I bow to your most holy will."
Help me to bear the pain,
 to know that
no matter how the separation comes,
both of us
are held in your hand of love.

© Copyright John McNeil 2001, all rights reserved.
This play may be performed free of charge, providing that no charge is made for admission. In return for free performance, the author would appreciate being notified of any performance. He may be contacted at:
Or at: 36B Stourbridge St, Christchurch 8024, New Zealand..