The following dramatic reading of the Passion Narrative suitable
for use on "Palm / Passion Sunday" in Year B and is based on the
New Revised Standard Version of the scriptures as found in Mark
14 and 15. It was prepared by Greta Jensen (JGretsiekj@aol.com) and
is presented here by permission (April 22 2000).
The cast of readers:
Narrator Jesus Bystander
Apostles Peter Servant Girl
Crowd / Chief Priest Pilate
Disciples 1 & 2 High Priest Cohort
Judas Council Member 1 Centurion
THE PASSION NARRATIVE ACCORDING TO MARK
Suitable For Use in Year B
Narrator: It was two days before the Passover and the festival of
Unleavened Bread. The chief priests and the scribes were
looking for a way to arrest Jesus by stealth an kill him, for
Chief: "Not during the festival or there may be a riot among the
Narrator: While Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper,
as he sat at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of
very costly ointment of pure nard. She broke open the jar and
poured the ointment on his head. But there were some there
who said in anger,
Disciple 1: "Why was this ointment wasted this way?"
Disciple 2: "For this ointment could have been sold for more than three
hundred denarii and the money given to the poor."
Narrator: And they scolded her. But Jesus said,
Jesus: "Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has performed a
good service for me. You will always have the poor with you
and you can show kindness to them whenever you wish, but you
will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has
anointed my body beforehand for its burial. Truly, I tell
you, where ever the good news is proclaimed in the whole
world, what she had done will be remembered of her."
Narrator: Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the
chief priests in order to betray Jesus. When they heard it,
they were greatly pleased and promised to give him money. So
he began to look for an opportunity to betray Jesus. On the
first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is
sacrificed, the disciples said to Jesus,
Disciple 1: "Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to
eat the Passover?"
Jesus: Go into the city and a man carrying a jar of water will meet
you; follow him and where ever he enters, say to the owner of
the house, 'The Teacher asks, Where is my guest room where I
may eat the Passover with my disciples?' He will show you a
large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations
for us there."
Narrator: So the disciples set out and went to the city and found
everything as he had told them and they prepared the Passover
meal. When it was evening, Jesus came with the twelve. And
when they had taken their places and were eating, Jesus said
Jesus: "Truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me; one who is
eating with me."
Narrator: The disciples began to be distressed and to say to him one
Disciple 1: "Surely not I?"
Disciple 2: "Surely it is not I, my Lord?"
Jesus: "It is one of the twelve, who is dipping bread into the bowl
with me. For the Son of Man will go as it is written of him,
but woe to the one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It
would have been better for that one to not have been born."
Narrator: While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread and after
blessing it, he broke it and gave it to the disciples saying,
Jesus: "Take, this is my body"
Narrator: Then he took a cup and after giving thanks, he gave it to
them and all of them drank from it. The he said to them,
Jesus: "This is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out
for many. Truly, I tell you, I will never drink again of the
fruit of the vine until that day when I will drink it anew in
the Kingdom of God."
Narrator: When they had sung hymns, the went out to the Mount of Olives
and Jesus said to them,
Jesus: "You will all become deserters, for it is written 'I will
strike the Shepherd and the sheep will be scattered." But
after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee."
Narrator: But Peter said to him,
Peter: "Even though all will become deserters, I will not>"
Jesus: "Truly I tell you, this day, this very night, before the cock
crows twice, you will deny me three times.
Peter: "Even though I must die with you, my Lord, I will not deny
Narrator: And all of them said the same. Then they went to a place
called Gethsemane and he said to the disciples,
Jesus: "Sit here while I pray"
Narrator: And he took with him Peter, James and John and he began to be
distressed and agitated. He said to them,
Jesus: "I am deeply grieved, even to death. Remain here and keep
Narrator: And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground
Jesus: "Abba, Father, for you all things are possible. Remove this
cup from me, yet not as I want but what you want."
Narrator: And he went back to where Peter, James and John were and
found them sleeping.
Jesus: "Simon, are you asleep? Keep awake and pray that you many not
come into this time of trial, for the spirit is indeed
willing, but the flesh is weak."
Narrator: Again he went away and prayed, saying the same words, and
once more he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes
were very heavy. They did not know what to say to him. He
went away a third time and upon returning, he said,
Jesus: "Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Enough! The
hour has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of
sinners. Get up. Let us be going. See, my betrayer is at
Narrator: While he was speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived and
with him was a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief
priests, the scribes and the elders. The betrayer had given
them a sign, saying,
Judas: "The one I will kiss is the man. Arrest him and lead him away
Narrator: As Jesus approached the group, Judas went up to him.
Narrator: And he kissed him and the guards laid hands on Jesus and
arrested him. But one of those who stood by drew his sword
and struck the slave of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
Then Jesus said to them,
Jesus: "Have you came out with swords and clubs to arrest me as
though I were a bandit? Day after day I was with you in the
temple teaching and you did not arrest me. But let the
Scriptures be fulfilled."
Narrator: and all the disciples deserted him and fled. A certain young
man was following Jesus, wearing nothing but a linen cloth.
The guards caught him, but he left the linen cloth and ran
off naked. The guards took Jesus to the high priest and all
the chief priests, the elders and the scribes assembled.
Peter had followed at a distance, right into the courtyard of
the high priest and he was sitting with the guards warming
himself at the fire. Now the chief priests and the whole
council were looking for testimony against Jesus to put him
to death. But they found none. Many gave false testimony
against him and their testimonies did not agree. Some stood
up and gave false testimony against him saying,
Member 1: "We heard him say, "I will destroy the temple that is made
with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made
with human hands."
Narrator: But even on this point their testimony did not agree. Then
the high priest stood before the assembled group and asked
High Priest: "Have you no answer? Why is it that they testify against
Narrator: Jesus was silent. Again the high priest asked him,
High Priest: "Are you the Messiah, the Son of Blessed One?"
Jesus: "I am. You will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand
of the Power and coming with clouds of heaven."
High Priest: "Why do we still need witnessed? You have heard this
blasphemy! What is your decision?"
Narrator: And all of them condemned him to death. Some began to spit on
him. They blindfolded him and began to strike him, saying,
Members: "Prophesy! Prophesy!
Narrator: The guards took him away and beat him. While Peter was below
in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest
came by and when she say Peter warming himself by the fire,
she stared at him.
Servant Girl: "You were with Jesus, the man from Nazareth weren't
Peter: "I do not know or understand what you are talking about!"
Narrator: As Peter was walking out into the forecourt, the crock crowd.
The servant girl, on seeing Peter again, began telling those
Servant Girl: "This man is one of them!"
Narrator: Again Peter denied it. This time, one of the bystanders said
Bystander: "Certainly you are one of them, for you are a Galilean."
Peter: "I DO NOT KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT!"
Narrator: At that moment, the cock crowd for a second time and Peter
remembered that Jesus had told him "before the crock crows
twice, you will deny me three times" and Peter broke down and
wept. As soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a
consultation with the elders, scribes and the whole council.
They bound Jesus, led him away and handed him over to Pilate,
who asked him,
Pilate: "Are you the King of the Jews?"
Jesus: "You say so"
Narrator: The chief priests continued to accuse Jesus of many things.
Again Pilate asked him,
Pilate: "Have you no answer? Look at the many charges that have been
brought against you!"
Narrator: But Jesus made no further reply and Pilate was amazed, Now at
the festival, he was accustomed to releasing one prisoner for
them; anyone whom they asked. There was a man named Barabbas
who was in prison with the rebels who had committed murder
during the insurrection. The crowd came and asked Pilate to
do for them as was his custom.
Pilate: "Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?"
Narrator: For Pilate realized that it was out of jealousy that the
chief priest had handed over Jesus. But the chief priests
stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas for them
Pilate: "Then what would you have me do with this man you call the
King of the Jews?"
Crowd: "Crucify him! Crucify him!"
Pilate: "But why? What evil has he done?"
Narrator: But the crowd shouted all the more.
Crowd: "Crucify him! Crucify him!"
Narrator: So Pilate did as the crowd wished. He released Barabbas and
then after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be
crucified. The soldiers led Jesus out in the courtyard of the
palace (that is the governors' headquarters) and they called
together the whole cohort. They stripped him of his clothes
and put a purple cloak on him. They twisted some thorns into
a crown, which they put on his head and they began to salute
Cohort: "Hail King of the Jews"
Narrator: They struck Jesus in the head with a reed, spat on him and
knelt down in homage to him. After mocking him, the stripped
him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes back on him
and then they led him away to be crucified. While in route,
they compelled a passer-by that was coming in from the
country, to carry his cross. It was Simon of Cyrene, the
father of Alexander and Rufus. They brought Jesus to the
place called Golgatha (which means The Place of the Skull).
They offered him wine mixed with myrrh but he did not take
it. Then they crucified him and divided his clothes among
themselves, casting lots to decide what each should take. It
was nine o'clock in the morning when they crucified him. The
inscription of the charge against him read "King of the
Jews". And with him the crucified two bandits, one on his
right and one on his left. And those who passed by derided
People: "Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three
days. Save yourself! Come down from the cross."
Narrator: In the same way the chief priests and the scribes also mocked
Chief Priests: "He saved others and yet he cannot save himself"
Scribes: "Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down from the
cross now, so that we may see and believe."
Narrator: Those who were crucified with him also taunted him. When it
was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in
the afternoon. At three o'clock, Jesus cried,
Jesus: "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?"
Narrator: Which means, "My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?" when
some of the bystanders heard him, they said,
Bystanders: "Listen, he is calling to Elijah."
Narrator: And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a
stick and gave it to Jesus saying,
The Stick: "Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down"
Narrator: Then Jesus gave a loud cry and took his last breath. And the
curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.
When the centurion, who stood facing Jesus saw how he
breathed his last breath, he said,
Centurion: "Truly this man was God's Son"
Narrator: There were also women looking on from a distance. Among them
was Mary Magdelene and Mary the mother of James the younger
and Joses and Solome. They used to follow Jesus and provide
for him when he was in Galilee; and there were other women
who had come up with him to Jerusalem. When the evening came,
Joseph of Arimathea went boldly to Pilate and asked for the
body of Jesus. Pilate, wondering if Jesus was already dead,
summoned the centurion and asked him if Jesus was dead. When
Pilate learned that Jesus was dead, he granted the body to
Joseph. Joseph bought a linen cloth and taking the body,
wrapped it and laid it in a tomb that had be hewn out of the
rock. He then rolled a stone against the door of the tomb.
Mary Magdelene and Mary the mother James saw where the body
copyright - Rev. Richard J. Fairchild 2000, 2003
please acknowledge the appropriate author if citing these sermons.