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CROSS    3'1m0f Legend: Jesus built the cross that killed him

CENTURION -- (enters, notices audience, hesitates, looks back to 
exit, makes a gesture of helplessness, continues to DC)

They (points to exit) tell me that I might be the first Roman 
Christian here in Jerusalem. They asked me to give my testimony. 
Roman soldiers are not supposed to get involved with matters of 
politics or religion. So, you'll pardon me if I'm not very 
enthusiastic about this.

You may not be terribly enthusiastic about me being here after I 
tell you that I was the one who beat Jesus thirty-nine times 
with a cat-of-nine-tails. That wasn't my idea. That was Governor 
Pilate's idea. The other rabbis were jealous of Jesus and wanted 
him dead. But Governor Pilate couldn't find anything to hang him 
for. He thought a beating would satisfy them. I was just 
following orders! I kind of liked the guy. He was the most well 
behaved prisoner I ever whipped. He was so calm. He never even 
cursed at me like they always do when I rip their backs open 
with my whip. By the time I finished, he was a mess. I thought 
he was going to die, but I was able to revive him with a bucket 
of cold water.

Then, to my surprise, a few minutes later, the governor gave the 
order to take him away and crucify him. I told the governor 
right to his face. I said, "That's not fair! First of all," I 
said, "The guy hasn't been convicted of anything! And second, 
you don't give a guy thirty-nine lashes and then crucify him 
too!"

Pilate said, (whispering) "Just do it! The rabbis are stirring 
up the crowd. If we don't get rid of him, we're going to have a 
riot on our hands!"

What was I going to do? Disobey? So, I mounted the cross on 
Jesus and led him out of the palace.

By now, there were thousands of people lining the streets on the 
route to Golgotha that day, almost as many people as showed up 
the previous Sunday to welcome him as messiah the king. I don't 
know how they all found out about the execution. The other 
rabbis tried to keep the trial a secret. But the people found 
out anyway. Most of the people were crying and trying to reach 
out and touch Jesus one last time. I had to crack the whip to 
keep them out of the way.

Then something happened that changed my life forever. Jesus 
fell. When I was helping him back up to his feet, I just 
happened to see that the name "Jesus" was carved into the 
underside of the cross.

I said, "Hey, Jesus, the guy who made this cross has the same 
name as you."

Jesus said, "When I was a carpenter, I made this cross myself."

I said, "That's ironic."

Jesus said, "There's no irony. I knew I would die on this 
cross."

"Wait a minute." I said. "I heard you were a carpenter. But that 
was over three years ago. You mean to tell me that you knew 
three years ago that the cross you were making was going to kill 
you?"

"Yes." He said.

"And you made it anyway?"

"Yes." He said.

"Why?"

"I came to die." He said.

"You really are the King of the Jews, aren't you."

"Yes." He said.

Well, I couldn't let a king carry his own cross! So, I chose the 
biggest man I could find from the crowd and made him carry the 
cross the rest of the way to Golgotha. It was the least I could 
do for a visiting king.

Then, three days later... Well, you know the rest. (exits)

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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