Three Days In Jerusalem

  • Cast Number: 17
  • Run-time: 90 minutes
  • Bible Reference: Luke 22 - 23

Theme:           Tracing the final three days of Jesus’ earthly life in an easily staged 8 scene drama. Centers on the involvement of Caiaphas, Herod and Pilate and of how the conflict between the forces of Rome and the Jewish people played into the entire encounter.

 

Bible reference:          Luke 22 & 23

 

Cast:               17 speaking parts plus offstage voices and crowd (any number as available)
(Some could be combined)

 

Set:                  Scene I - Pilate’s Palace, very rich and opulent
Cornelius, Pilate, Herod, Judas

Scene II – Prison, very plain
Elishua, Benaiah, Ishpan, Guard

Scene III - Upper Room, table, chairs, cups, basin, towel moves to Gethsemane
Peter, John, Disciples, Jesus, Caiaphas, Herod, Pilate, crowd

Scene IV - Prison
Elishua, Benaiah, Ishpan

Scene V – Outside the temple
Judas, Guard, Offstage Voices Annas, Caiaphas, Others

Scene VI – Prison
Elishua, Benaiah, Ishpan, Guard1, Guard2, Caiaphas, Pilate, Herod, Narrator

Scene VII – Golgotha
3 Soldiers, Woman, Mary, Herod, Pilate, Caiaphas, Crowd

Scene VIII – On the road
Cornelius, Pilate, Herod, Caiaphas

 

Props:             Table & chairs
Purse for Judas
Basin and towel for washing feet
Cups, towels, robes, bread
Swords, clubs

 

Costumes:      traditional costumes

 

Run-time:       90 minutes (some scenes could be eliminated)

 

Sample of script:

 

SCENE I – PILATE’S PALACE

 

Pilate is pacing, upset.  After a few seconds Cornelius comes on stage followed by Herod Antipas

 

Cornelius:        Your excellency, King Herod is here for his appointment.

 

Pilate, mock bow to Herod:    
Yes, yes, so indeed he is.  Thank you Cornelius, that will be all. (Cornelius leaves stage)  Almost the hour late, but here nonetheless!  Finally, after begging an audience with us, our esteemed friend Herod Antipas sees fit to grace our chambers.

 

Herod, slight bow in return:   
May we take the liberty to correct you, friend Pontius Pilate.  King Herod does not beg, for “audiences” as you put it, or for any other matter.  And as to us being regrettably detained, you may thank Caiaphas and his lot for that!

Pilate:              Well, well, “Caiaphas and his lot” is it?  Are not “Caiaphas and his lot” really “your lot” dear Herod Antipas!  On the one hand you claim, nominally at least, to be a Jew. Now you are saying that you are not part of “Caiaphas and his lot.”  Are you Jewish only at times when being Jewish benefits your cause?  King Herod, King of the Jews!  Oh my yes, that truly has a definite ring to it!  (thinks)  However, there appears to be a new Jewish king on the horizon, the Nazarene carpenter.  (mocking)  Beware King Herod lest King Jesus topple you from your royal Jewish throne!  (laughs uncontrollably)

 

Herod, furious:           
May we suggest Pontius Pilate not waste time flexing his own muscle until he determines what, if any, influence remains now the power structure in Rome has changed!

 

Pilate:              Our future has never been tied to anyone, not Tiberius or anyone else!

 

Herod:             Dear man, you are too, too modest.  Time was you, Pontius Pilate, were the fair haired boy. But your current influence in Rome is in question, I suggest you don’t overestimate your current influence.

 

Pilate:              We will handle the ups and downs of our own career.  Take care, Herod Antipas, that you not say something which one day you might regret.

 

Herod:             Discretion is ever our byword, fear not.  But enough of this senseless bickering, we have greater concerns, both of us, outside these walls.

 

Pilate:              Really?  And just what outside these walls might possibly be of concern to Pontius Pilate?

 

Herod:             Enough of this, you know very well with the Nazarene on the one side and the temple lot on the other side both of us squarely exposed and in the middle.  And I fear that not Tiberius himself could bail us out if that happens.

 

Pilate:              Caiaphas is your friend, talk with him then!

 

Herod:             Exactly the cause of my delay today.  Just a short time ago Caiaphas paid us a visit demanding that we do this and that for his cause!

 

Cornelius enters

 

Cornelius:        Your Excellency, chief priest Caiaphas asks to see you, I told him you were engaged Excellency but he . . . . .

 

Caiaphas barges on stage, brushing Cornelius out of the way, Judas trailing behind

 

Pilate:              Cornelius what interruption now?  And to what exactly do we owe this intrusion?  Dear Caiaphas, we make every attempt to put ourselves at your disposal however at this moment we are predisposed.  Perhaps tomorrow we can . . .

 

Caiaphas:         What we have to discuss will not wait a day or an hour.  And since my news concerns us all, it is well that Herod Antipas and yourself are here together.

 

Herod:             And this earthshaking news of yours would be . . . .

 

Caiaphas:         A resolution to a common problem, one Jesus of Nazareth.

 

Herod:             Problem?  Just who is this problem?  What did you call him . .  Jesus?  No, no, I don’t believe I know he to whom you refer.

 

Caiaphas:         Time runs short, let’s not waste time with senseless idle chit-chat.  Now then, in the matter of the disposal of the carpenter of Nazareth.

 

Pilate:              And your friend here, rather ill at ease it would seem.  Hardly dressed to the standards of you and your temple friends.

 

Caiaphas:         He is not “one of us” he is one of “them”.

 

Pilate:              “Them”?

 

Caiaphas:         He is, or was, a disciple of the Nazarene prophet.

 

Herod:             What’s your name, disciple?

 

Judas says nothing, looks around frightened

 

Caiaphas:         His name is Judas, not that it matters.  He is offering to deliver the Nazarene to us.

 

Herod:             And who is saying we somehow need assistance in capturing the Nazarene.

 

Pilate:              Oh yes, of course, leave it to Herod Antipas to capture the Nazarene!  Mighty Herod, whose soldiers have been led on a merry chase throughout Galilee, never once have they come close enough to the Nazarene to lay a finger on him.

 

Herod:             Perhaps we should take lessons from your soldiers who bludgeoned hundreds of Jews in the temple, creating a reputation from which you will never recover.

 

Pilate:              The mob simply got out of hand.  At any rate, just how will you deliver your leader, Judas?

 

Judas:              He must not be hurt.

 

Herod:             What drivel is this?  Caiaphas I thought you said that this man was a former disciple.  Seems to me he is only concerned that this Nazarene be hurt!

 

Pilate:              Hurt?  Surely you don’t think for one moment we would harm a single hair on his royal head!

 

Pilate and Herod laugh uproariously

 

Caiaphas:         Leave it in my hands Judas, we will see to the welfare of the Nazarene.

 

Pilate, takes Caiaphas’ hands, examines them:          
Yes, Judas, surely you know you can place your leader in these soft, gentle hands.  After all, if you can’t trust the chief priest, who can you trust?

 

Judas:              He must not be hurt.  He must be . .  be . .  refocused.  He has so much to offer, but he must be refocused.

 

Caiaphas:         And refocused shall he be. Leave it to me. Go on ahead, rejoin your group before questions are asked. Meet us at sunup outside the city walls, just as we discussed.  We will look after it all from there.

 

Judas:              You promise he will not be hurt.

 

Herod, nudges Pilate with elbow, winks:        
Everyone knows Caiaphas is a man of his word.

 

Caiaphas:         Go along then. Oh and here is the payment as agreed upon.

 

Judas takes the small purse from Caiaphas, makes as if to take the money out

 

Caiaphas:         Don’t worry, it is all there, ever penny.

 

Judas:              Remember, . . . .

 

Caiaphas:         Go along now, he will not be hurt if you do your part.

 

Judas looks about him, hesitatingly goes to the door, looks back, Caiaphas gently motions him to leave, Judas leaves stage

 

Herod:             Can he be trusted?

 

Pilate:              Can anyone be trusted?  Certainly none of us here.

 

Caiaphas:         Judas will do his job as he has been paid to do.

 

Pilate:              Paid?  Seemed a very light purse.  What is the going price for selling out on a Messiah nowadays?

 

Caiaphas:         We agreed on a fair price, thirty pieces of silver.

 

Herod:             Caiaphas, you amaze me!  Such a bargain!  I would have been prepared to offer 10, no, 100 times that amount!

 

Caiaphas:         We will make the arrest at sunup tomorrow, just outside the walls, at Gethsemane.  I want both of you provide troops.

 

Pilate:              Troops?  To capture an unarmed man among a handful of deranged and unarmed idiots and fools?  Use your own temple police.

 

Caiaphas:         My temple police will be there.  As will your troops.  The Nazarene must be captured and killed.

 

Herod:             Killed?  Why have him killed?  Have him beaten, dumped out in the desert.  His disciples will scatter and he will never be heard of again.

 

Caiaphas:         I said, he must be captured and killed!  And it must be done now, but not during the feast, lest the people riot.

 

Pilate:              Dear Caiaphas, you act as though all you have to do is speak and we will support your every wish.

 

Herod:             Exactly, I will have you know Caiaphas, that . .

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