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The following dramatic reading of the Passion Story from the Gospel According To Mark (short version) and is especially suitable for Palm/Passion Sunday in Year B, but of course can be used at other times. It was prepared from "The Message" by Eugene Peterson by the Rev. John Borthwick of Guelph, Ontario - St. Andrew's Charge in 2003 and was formatted for the Net and placed here with permission. It requires only three readers and the interaction of the choir/congregation. Reader Two is the reader who does the part of Jesus. (Mark 15:1-39)
Narrator         At dawn's first light, the high priests, with the religious
                 leaders and scholars, arranged a conference with the entire
                 Jewish Council.  After tying Jesus securely, they took him
                 out and presented him to Pilate.  Pilate asked him,

1st Reader       "Are you the 'King of the Jews'?"

Narrator         He answered,

2nd Reader       "If you say so."

Narrator         The high priests let loose a barrage of accusations. Pilate
                 asked again,

1st Reader       Aren't you going to answer anything?  That's quite a list of

Narrator         Still, he said nothing.  Pilate was impressed, really
                 impressed.  It was a custom at the Feast to release a
                 prisoner, anyone the people asked for.  There was one
                 prisoner called Barabbas, locked up with the
                 insurrectionists who had committed murder during the
                 uprising against Rome.  As the crowd came up and began to
                 present its petition for him to release a prisoner, Pilate
                 anticipated them:

1st Reader       "Do you want me to release the King of the Jews to you?"

Narrator         Pilate knew by this time that it was through sheer spite
                 that the high priests had turned Jesus over to him.  But the
                 high priests by then had worked up the crowd to ask for the
                 release of Barabbas.  Pilate came back,

1st Reader       "So what do I do with this man you call King of the Jews?"

Narrator         They yelled,

Choir &          "Nail him to a cross!"

Narrator         Pilate objected,

1st Reader       "But for what crime?"

Narrator         But they yelled all the louder,

Choir &          "Nail him to a cross!"

Narrator         Pilate gave the crowd what it wanted, set Barabbas free and
                 turned Jesus over for whipping and crucifixion.  The
                 soldiers took Jesus into the palace (called Praetorium) and
                 called together the entire brigade. They dressed him up in
                 purple and put a crown plaited from a thorn bush on his
                 head.  Then they began their mockery:

Choir &          Bravo, King of the Jews!"

Narrator         They banged on his head with a club, spit on him, and knelt
                 down in mock worship.  After they had had their fun, they
                 took off the purple cape and put his own clothes back on
                 him.  Then they marched out to nail him to the cross.  There
                 was a man walking by, coming from work, Simon from Cyrene,
                 the father of Alexander and Rufus.  They made him carry
                 Jesus' cross.  The soldiers brought Jesus to Golgotha,
                 meaning "Skull Hill."  They offered him a mild painkiller
                 (wine mixed with myrrh), but he wouldn't take it.  And they
                 nailed him to the cross.  They divided up his clothes and
                 threw dice to see who would get them.  They nailed him up at
                 nine o'clock in the morning. The charge against him - THE
                 KING OF THE JEWS - was printed on a poster.  Along with him,
                 they crucified two criminals, one to his right, the other to
                 his left.  People passing along the road jeered, shaking
                 their heads in mock lament:

Choir &          "You bragged that you could tear down the Temple and then
Congregation     rebuild it in three days - so show us your stuff!  Save
                 yourself!  If you're really God's Son, come down from that

Narrator         The high priests, along with the religious scholars, were
                 right there mixing it up with the rest of them, having a
                 great time poking fun at him:

Choir &          "He saved others - but he can't save himself! Messiah, is
Congregation     is he?  King of Israel?  Then let him climb down from that
                 cross. We'll ALL become believers then!"

Narrator         Even the men crucified alongside him joined in the mockery. 
                 At noon the sky became extremely dark.  The darkness lasted
                 three hours.  At three o'clock, Jesus groaned out of the
                 depths, crying loudly,

2nd Reader       "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"

Narrator         Which means,

2nd Reader       "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?"

Narrator         Some bystanders who heard him said,

Choir &          "Listen, he's calling for Elijah."

Narrator         Someone ran off, soaked a sponge in sour wine, put it on a
                 stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying,

Choir &          "Let's see if Elijah comes to take him down."

Narrator         But Jesus, with a loud cry, gave his last breath.  At that
                 moment the Temple curtain ripped right down the middle. 
                 When the Roman captain standing guard in front of him saw
                 that he had quit breathing, he said,

1st Reader       "This has to be the Son of God!"

copyright - Narrative divisions by Rev. John Borthwick
            Page by Rev. Richard J. Fairchild - Spirit Networks, 2003 - 2006
            please acknowledge the appropriate author if citing these sermons.

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