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    The following dramatic reading of the Passion Narrative suitable
     for use on "Palm / Passion Sunday" in Year C and is based on the
     New Revised Standard Version of the scriptures as found in Luke
     22 and 23.  It was prepared by Greta Jensen ( and
     is presented here by permission (April 22 2000).

The cast of readers:

     Narrator                      Jesus                    Peter 
     Apostles                      Speakers (3)             Servant Girl
     Crowd / People                Council Members (3)      Pilate
     Criminals 1 & 2               Centurion  

                       Suitable For Use in Year C
Narrator:        Now the festival of Unleavened Bread, which is called the
                 Passover, was near. The chief priests and the Scribes were
                 looking for a way to put Jesus to death, for they were
                 afraid of the people. 
                 Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was one
                 of the twelve; he went away and conferred with the chief
                 priests and officers of the temple police about how he
                 might betray him to them. They were greatly pleased and
                 agreed to give him money. So he consented and began to look
                 for an opportunity to betray him to them when no crowd was
                 present. Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which
                 the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. So Jesus sent Peter
                 and John saying: 
Jesus:          "Go and prepare the Passover meal for us that we may eat

Peter:           "Where do you want us to make preparations for it?" 

Jesus:           "Listen, when you have entered the city, a man carrying
                 ajar of water will meet you; follow him into the house he
                 enters and say to the owner of the house, "The teacher asks
                 you, "Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover
                 with my disciples?" He will show you a large room upstairs,
                 already furnished. Make preparations for us there. " 
Narrator:        So they went and found everything as he had told them and
                 they prepared the Passover meal. When the hour had came, he
                 took his place at the table and the apostles with him and
                 said to them: 
Jesus:           "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you
                 before I suffer; for I tell you, I will not eat it until it
                 is fulfilled in the kingdom of God. 
Narrator:        Then he took the cup and after giving thanks he said, 
Peter:           "Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I tell you
                 that from now on I will not drink from the fruit of the
                 vine until the kingdom of God comes." 
Narrator:        Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks,
                 he broke it and gave it to them, saying, 

Jesus:           This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in
                 remembrance of me. 
Narrator:        And he did the same thing with the cup after supper,
Jesus:           This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in
                 my blood. But see, the one who betrays me is with me and
                 his hand is on the table. For the Son of Man is going as it
                 has been determined, but woe to that one by whom he is
Narrator:        Then they began to ask one another, which one of them it
                 could be who would do this. A dispute also arose among them
                 as to which one of them was to be regarded as the greatest.
                 But Jesus said to them, 
Jesus:           "The Kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those in
                 authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with
                 you; rather the greatest among you must become like the
                 youngest, and the leader like one who serves. For who is
                 greater, the one who is as the table or the one who serves?
                 Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one
                 who serves. You are those who have stood by me in my
                 trials; and I confer on you, just as my Father has
                 conferred on me, a kingdom, so that you may eat and drink
                 at my table in my kingdom, and you will sit on thrones
                 judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Simon, Simon, listen!
                 Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat, but I
                 have prayed for you that your own faith may not fail; and
                 you, when once you have turned back, strengthen your
Narrator:        And Simon said to him, 
Peter:          "Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death! " 
Narrator:        But Jesus said, 
Jesus:           "I tell you Peter, the cock will not crow this day, until
                 you have denied three times that you know me." 
Narrator:        And then Jesus said,
Jesus:          "When I sent you out without a purse, bag, or sandals, did
                 you lack anything? 
Apostles:        "No, not a thing. 
Narrator:        And Jesus again said to them, 
Jesus:           "But now, the one who has a purse must take it and likewise
                 a bag. And the one who has no sword must sell his cloak and
                 buy one. For I tell you, this scripture must be fulfilled
                 in me. 'And he was counted among the lawless'; and indeed
                 what is written about me is being fulfilled." 
Narrator:        The Apostles responded saying,
Apostles:        "Lord, here are two swords."

Narrator:        And Jesus replied:
Jesus:           "It is enough"
Narrator:        He came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of
                 Olives; and the disciples followed him. When he reached the
                 place, he said to them,
Jesus:          "Pray that you may not come into the time of trial."
Narrator:        Then he withdrew from them about a stones throw away, and
                 knelt down and prayed.
Jesus:          "Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me, yet
                 not my will but yours be done."
Narrator:        Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and gave him
                 strength. In his anguish he prayed more earnestly and his
                 sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the
                 ground. When he got up from prayer, he went to the
                 disciples and found them asleep because of grief and he
                 said to them,
Jesus:           "Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not
                 come to this time of trial"
Narrator:        While he was still speaking, suddenly a crowd came and the
                 one called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He
                 approached Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus said to him,
Jesus:           "Judas, is it with a kiss that you are betraying the Son of
Narrator:        When those who were around him saw what was coming, they
Speaker 1:      "Lord, should we strike with the sword?"
Narrator:        And one of them struck the slave of the High Priest and cut
                 off his right ear. But Jesus said to them,
Jesus:           No more of this!
Narrator:        And he touched the ear and healed him. Then Jesus said to
                 the Chief Priest, the officers of the temple police and the
                 elders who had come for him,
Jesus:           Have you come out with swords and clubs as if I were a
                 bandit? When I was with you day after day in the temple,
                 you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour and the
                 power of darkness!
Narrator:        Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him to the
                 high priests house. Peter followed at a distance. When they
                 had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat
                 down together, Peter sat among them. A servant girl, seeing
                 him among them, said
Servant Girl:    "This man was also with him." 
Narrator:        But Peter denied it, saying, 
Peter:           "Woman, I do not know him. 
Narrator:        A little later someone else, on seeing him, 
Speaker 2:       "You also are on of them," 
Narrator:        But Peter insisted, 
Peter:           "Man, I am not!"
Narrator:        Then about an hour later, still another kept insisting, 
Speaker 3:       "Surely, this man also was with him; for he is a Galilean." 
Narrator:        Again Peter insisted, 
Peter:           "Man, I do not know what you are talking about!" 
Narrator:        At that moment, while he was still speaking, the cock
                 crowed. The Lord turned and looked at Peter, and Peter
                 remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, 
Jesus:           "Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.
                 And Peter went out and wept bitterly. Now the men who were
                 holding Jesus began to mock him and beat him; they also
                 blindfolded him and kept asking him, 
Crowd:           "Prophesy! Who is it that struck you?" 
Narrator:        They kept heaping many other insults on him. When day came,
                 the assembly of the elders of the people, both chief
                  priests and scribes, gathered together, and they brought
                 him to their council. They said, 

Members:         "If you are the Messiah, tell us"
Narrator:        And Jesus replied,
Jesus:           "If I tell you, you will not believe; and if I question
                 you, you will not answer. But from now on the Son of Man
                 will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.
Narrator:        All of them asked him,
Members:         "Are you, then, the Son of God?"
Narrator:        Jesus responded
Jesus:          "You say that I am"
Narrator:        Then they said,
Members:         What further testimony do we need? We have heard it
                 ourselves from his own lips.
Narrator:        Then the assembly arose as a body and brought Jesus before
                 Pilate. They began to accuse him saying,
Member 1:        We found this man perverting our nation, forbidding us to
                 pay taxes to the emperor, and saying that he himself is the
                 Messiah, a king."
Pilate:          "Are you the King of the Jews?"
Jesus:           "You say so!"
Narrator:        Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds,
Pilate:          "I find no basis for an accusation against this man"
Narrator:        But they insisted and said,
Member 2:        "He stirs us people by teaching throughout all Judea from
                 Galilee where he began, even to this place.
Narrator:        When Pilate heard this, he asked,
Pilate:          "Is this man a Galilean?"
Narrator:        And when he learned that Jesus was under Herod's
                 jurisdiction, he sent him off to Herod, who was himself in
                 Jerusalem at the time. When Herod saw Jesus, he was glad,
                 for he had been wanting for a long time to see him, because
                 he had heard about him and was hoping to see him perform
                 some sign. He questioned Jesus at some length, but Jesus
                 gave no answer. The chief priest and scribes stood by,
                 vehemently accusing him. Even Herod with his soldiers
                 treated him with contempt and mocked him, and sent him back
                 to Pilate. That same day Herod and Pilate became friends
                 with each other; before that day they had been enemies.
                 Pilate then called together the chief priests, the leaders
                 and the people and said to them,
Pilate:          "You brought me this man as one who was perverting the
                 people; and here I have examined him in your presence and
                 have not found this man guilty of any of your charges
                 against him. Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us.
                 Indeed, he has done nothing to deserve death. I will
                 therefore have him flogged and release him. 
Narrator:        But the chief priest, leaders and people shouted, 
People:          "Away with this fellow! Release Barabbas for us!" 
Narrator:        Barabbas was a man who had been put in prison for an
                 insurrection that had taken place and for a murder. Pilate,
                 wanting to release Jesus, addressed the people again but
                 they kept shouting, 
People:          "Crucify him! Crucify him! 
Narrator:        A Third time he said to them, 
Pilate:          "Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no ground
                 for the sentence of death; I will therefore have him
                 flogged and release him. 
Narrator:        But they kept urgently demanding with loud shouts that he
                 should be crucified; and their voices prevailed. So Pilate
                 gave his verdict that their demand should be granted. He
                 released the man they asked for, the one who had been put
                 in prison for insurrection and murder, and he handed Jesus
                 over as they wished. As they led him away, they seized a
                 man, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming from the country, and
                 they laid the cross on him, and made him carry it behind
                 Jesus. A great number of the people followed him, and among
                 them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing
                 for him. But Jesus turned to them and said, 
Jesus:           "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for
                 yourselves and for your children. For the days are surely
                 coming when they will say, 'Blessed are the barren, and the
                 wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.'
                 Then they will begin to say to the mountain, 'Fall on us'
                 and to the hills, 'Cover us." For is they do this when the
                 wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?" 
Narrator:        Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be
                 put to death with him. When they came to the place that is
                 called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the
                 criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Then Jesus
Jesus:          "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are
Narrator:        And they cast lots to divide his clothing. And the people
                 stood by, watching but the leaders scoffed at him saying,
Speaker 1        "He saved others; let him save himself is he is the Messiah
                 of God, his chosen one! 
Narrator:        The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him
                 sour wine and saying 
Speaker 2:      "If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself " 
Narrator:        There was also an inscription over him that read, "This is
                 the King of the Jews. One of the criminals who were hanged
                 there kept deriding Jesus and saying, 
Criminal 1:      "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!" 
Narrator:        But the other rebuked him, saying, 
Criminal 2:      "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence
                 of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly,
                 for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this
                 man has done nothing wrong." 
Narrator:        Then he said to Jesus, 
Criminal 2:      "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
Narrator:        And Jesus replied, 
Jesus:           "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise." 
Narrator:        It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole
                 land until three in the afternoon, while the sun's light
                 failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then
                 Jesus, crying in a loud voice, said, 
Jesus:          "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit. Having said
                 this, he breathed his last. When the centurion saw what had
                 taken place he praised God and said, 
Centurion:      "Certainly this man was innocent." 
Narrator:        And when all the crowds who had gathered there for this
                 spectacle saw what had taken place, they returned home,
                 beating their breasts. But all his acquaintances, including
                 the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a
                 distance, watching things. Now there was a good and
                 righteous man name Joseph, who though a member of the
                 council, had not agreed to their plan and action. He came
                 from the Jewish town of Arimathea and he was waiting
                 expectantly for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate
                 and asked for the body of Jesus. He took it down and
                 wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid it in a rock-hewn
                 tomb where no one had ever been laid. It was the day of
                 Preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning. The women who
                 had come with Jesus from Galilee followed, and the saw the
                 tomb and how his body was laid. Then they returned and
                 prepared spices and ointments. On the Sabbath day they
                 rested according to the commandments.

copyright - Greta Jensen & Rev. Richard J. Fairchild,  2000 - 2006
            please acknowledge the appropriate author if citing these sermons.

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