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
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
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.