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EASTER   *'?m*f A one-hour play about Easter for ten girls

                            SUMMARY

Pontius Pilate was rumored to have executed an innocent man.
The daughter of Pontius Pilate's boss, is sent to Jesusalem on
Easter morning to do a low-key investigation of the execution.
During the investigation of the charges against Jesus, his
tomb is discovered to be empty.

Character  Daughter of          Suggested costume
---------  -------------------  -----------------------------
Aramathia  Joseph of Arimathea  long colored tunic, headdress
Bartimaia  a healed blind man   long patched tunic, headdress
Caiapha    Chief Priest         long colored tunic, headdress
Heroda     King Herod           belly dancer or harem outfit
Judasa     Judas                long drab tunic, headdress
Maria      Mary Magdalene       long patched tunic, headdress
Petra      Peter                long drab tunic, headdress
Pontia     Pontius Pilate       short tunic with edge piping
Romana     Pilate's Boss        short tunic with edge piping
Sadducia   A sadducee           long colored tunic, headdress


TECH NOTES: a bare stage or minimal set pieces, no scene
changes, no light cues, no sound cues. Because there are no
scene changes or acts, I've divided the play artificially into
plot points for reference purposes:

                          PLOT POINTS

INTRODUCTION
JESUS ACCUSED OF CAUSING A RIOT IN THE TEMPLE
JESUS ACCUSED OF PLOTTING TO DESTROY THE TEMPLE
JESUS ACCUSED OF PLOTTING TO OVERTHROW THE ROMANS
JUDAS BETRAYS JESUS TO THE CHIEF PRIEST
PONTIUS PILATE FINDS JESUS BROKE NO ROMAN LAWS
A TRIAL TO PROVE THAT JESUS BROKE JEWISH LAWS
JESUS ACCUSED OF BEING A FALSE PROPHET
JESUS ACCUSED OF VIOLATING THE JEWISH SABBATH
JESUS ACCUSED OF USURPING THE THRONE OF HEROD
JESUS ACCUSED OF USURPING THE TITLE "SON OF MAN"
JESUS ACCUSED OF CLAIMING TO BE GOD
JESUS ACCUSED OF WITCHCRAFT
JESUS' BODY IS MISSING FROM THE TOMB
WITNESSES HAVE SEEN JESUS ALIVE



                    THE DAUGHTERS OF EASTER


PLOT POINT - INTRODUCTION

ROMANA -- (enters wearing large pouch over shoulder, examining
small parchment map, looking in all directions)

PETRA -- (enters looking back, sees Romana, stops, turns, tries
to exit quietly)

ROMANA -- You there!

PETRA -- (tries to look inconspicuous)

ROMANA -- Hey, you, I'm talking to you.

PETRA -- (turns) Me?

ROMANA -- Yes. I need help.

PETRA -- (looks in all directions) You're not from around here,
are you?

ROMANA -- You Jews are so perceptive. If I was from around here,
would I need a map?

PETRA -- You're a Roman citizen, aren't you?

ROMANA -- Are you saying you're not going to help me if I'm not
a Jew?

PETRA -- No. I'll help you. It's just that you Romans don't
usually have much to do with us Jews. Maybe you'd be more
comfortable asking a Roman.

ROMANA -- Look around. The streets are empty. (looks both ways)
Hey, wait a minute. Sunday is a work day for you Jews, isn't it?

PETRA -- Yes, but...

ROMANA -- Where is everybody?

PETRA -- Well, NORMALLY Sunday is a work day for us. But today
is a Holy Day.

ROMANA -- A Holy Day.

PETRA -- It's the last day of the feast of unleavened bread.

ROMANA -- You Jews and your holy days! How do you get any work
done?

PETRA -- Well, I...

ROMANA -- (points to map) Show me where I am so I can get to
where I'm going.

PETRA -- (studies map, looks left and right, points to map)
You're Here. The Governor's palace is... (points) here.

ROMANA -- Here. (looks left and right) So, the Governor's palace
is... (turns map 90 degrees, points offstage) there.

PETRA -- Yes. May I go now?

ROMANA -- What's you're hurry. You in trouble with the law?

PETRA -- Me? (fakes indifference) Naw. I'm just... I'm just...

ROMANA -- You're in trouble with the law.

PETRA -- Listen, I don't want any trouble.

ROMANA -- You may be just the person, I'm looking for.

PETRA -- Me? I doubt it.

ROMANA -- I came to Jerusalem to do a confidential
investigation. I need the help of someone who is going to keep
it confidential. If you're in trouble with the law, I assume you
will keep your mouth closed.

PETRA -- What's this all about?

ROMANA -- My father is Governor Pilate's boss. And he...

PETRA -- Pontius Pilate?! (looks both ways)

ROMANA -- Don't get all paranoid. I'm not here to arrest anyone.

PETRA -- So, you came here all the way from Caesarea?

ROMANA -- Yes. I've been traveling all day and all night.

PETRA -- So, what are you investigating?

ROMANA -- Rumors have been flying at Caesarea that some Jewish
leaders were plotting to kill their own prophet and that
Governor Pilate conspired with them. Papa sent me here to ask
around and find out if the Governor should be relieved of duty.

PETRA -- Why didn't your father come here himself?

ROMANA -- He says an official hearing would stir up too much
dust.

PETRA -- I don't understand.

ROMANA -- If Papa comes himself, he rides into town accompanied
by a hundred Roman soldiers and a dozen chariots. The people can
see them coming for miles. People scurry around trying to cover
up their misdeeds. The guilty people head for cover and the
innocent people are coerced into covering up the misdeeds of the
guilty. It takes forever to get at the truth. So, Papa wants me
to come in through the back door. He thinks we would get at the
truth much faster if I ask the kids what their parents know.

PETRA -- So, what do you want from me?

ROMANA -- I need you to fetch me the children of the more
prominent Jews and Romans who might have been involved in any
way with the prophet, so I can ask them what they know.

PETRA -- (backs toward exit) I don't know what prophet you're
talking about and I don't know anybody who would be involved
with such a thing. Maybe you should find someone else. (turns)

ROMANA -- (pulls small money bag from pouch, jingles coins) I
pay really well.

PETRA -- (turns, approaches) As luck would have it, my next
appointment is not for a few hours. (reaches for money, but
turns away) On the other hand, today is a sabbath. We Jews are
not allowed to work for money on a sabbath day.

ROMANA -- On the other hand, maybe you'd rather be flogged.

PETRA -- (turns) On the other hand, I need to do my civic duty.
(points, crosses by Romana) As luck would have it, I see a
person who might help you with your investigation. Wait right
here. I'll be right back. (exits, shouts) You there!

ROMANA -- That's more like it.


PLOT POINT - JESUS ACCUSED OF CAUSING A RIOT IN THE TEMPLE

CAIAPHA -- (enters reluctantly) You've got a lot of nerve
jerking me around like this! Who do you think you are?!

PETRA -- (enters dragging Caiapha by the elbow) Romana, this is
the chief priest's daughter, Caiapha, she can tell you about
that prophet. (pushes Caiapha at Romana)

CAIAPHA -- What's this all about?

ROMANA -- You need to answer some questions for the Roman
government. (pulls slate and chalk from pouch)

CAIAPHA -- (recoils) I'm sorry, but Romans are unclean. I can't
talk to you! My family belongs to the Pharisees. Pharisees don't
mingle with the Romans!

PETRA -- Tell her about the flogging.

CAIAPHA -- Flogging?!

ROMANA -- You don't have to defile yourself. I'm not going to
touch you. Just answer a few questions. First of all, you're
family belongs to the Pharisees?

CAIAPHA -- Yes.

ROMANA -- I've heard my father talk about the Pharisees. What
are the Pharisees?

CAIAPHA -- They're the teachers of the law.

ROMANA -- The law.

CAIAPHA -- Jewish law, as handed down to the prophet Moses.

ROMANA -- Moses. That's the legendary hero who parted the Red
Sea.

CAIAPHA -- Exactly.

ROMANA -- And what does a teacher of the law know about the
death of the Prophet on Friday?

CAIAPHA -- The ALLEGED prophet! You mean Jesus. (points to
Petra) She was with him.

PETRA -- (covers face with hand, recoils, exits) Oh, look,
there's the daughter of another Jewish leader! I'll be right
back.

ROMANA -- (to caiapha) Tell me about the prophet... Jesus?

CAIAPHA -- He was no prophet! He was a con man.

ROMANA -- You're sure.

CAIAPHA -- Would I, the daughter of a Pharisee, lie to you?

ROMANA -- My Papa said that you Pharisees lie only when your
lips are moving.

CAIAPHA -- Well! I don't have to stand here and be insulted!
(turns to exit)

ROMANA -- No. You could be flogged.

CAIAPHA -- (turns) What else would you like to know?

ROMANA -- What did Jesus do that would justify the death penalty
under Roman law?

CAIAPHA -- He caused a riot in the temple. Twice.

ROMANA -- (writes) A riot in the temple.

CAIAPHA -- Twice.

ROMANA -- Did you see the riots?

CAIAPHA -- No.

ROMANA -- Do you know anyone who did?

CAIAPHA -- No. All I know is that Jesus no sooner arrived in
Jerusalem last Sunday than he went directly into the temple and
overturned the tables of the sacrifice sellers and money
changers. And he beat up the people who worked in the booths.

ROMANA -- (writes) Is that so?

CAIAPHA -- Yes. And he did the same thing three years ago.

ROMANA -- Why wasn't he executed three years ago?

CAIAPHA -- Oh, ah, gee, ah....


PLOT POINT - JESUS ACCUSED OF PLOTTING TO DESTROY THE TEMPLE

SADDUCIA -- (enters reluctantly) Let go of me! You have no right
to drag me around!

PETRA -- (enters dragging Sadducia by the elbow) Romana, this is
Sadducia. Her father is the leader of the Sadducees.

CAIAPHA -- (points to Sadducia, backs away) Get her away from
me!

SADDUCIA -- You Pharisees are just jealous that we Sadducees are
richer than you.

CAIAPHA -- What good is your money if your religious beliefs are
completely wrong?!

ROMANA -- Hey! I'm asking the questions here!

SADDUCIA -- Eeooo! This person is a Roman, not a Jew! I won't
defile myself with a Roman!

PETRA -- Romana's father is Governor Pilate's boss. Be sure to
ask her about the flogging.

SADDUCIA -- You didn't bring me here to have me flogged!?

ROMANA -- Just answer my questions.

SADDUCIA -- What would you like to know?

ROMANA -- Your father is a... Sadducee?

SADDUCIA -- Yes.

ROMANA -- And what is a Sadducee?

SADDUCIA -- We are the scribes, we make copies of the Holy
Scriptures.

ROMANA -- Scriptures? The writings handed down to you from
Moses.

SADDUCIA -- Moses, and the other prophets and the historians and
the kings. Unlike the poor misguided Pharisees, we Sadducees
believe that there is no life after death.

CAIAPHA -- Who you calling misguided?!

ROMANA -- Do you know the prophet named Jesus?

SADDUCIA -- The ALLEGED prophet named Jesus. Why ask me?!
(points to Petra) This one knows him better than I do.

ROMANA -- (points to Petra) This one?

PETRA -- (points to exit exiting) Look there! There's another
witness for you, Romana!

ROMANA -- Do you know why this... Jesus was executed?

SADDUCIA -- Well, it's common knowledge that Jesus threatened to
destroy the temple! Destruction of public property is against
the law!

CAIAPHA -- I beg to differ, but Jesus was executed because he
started a riot in the temple.

SADDUCIA -- No he wasn't.

CAIAPHA -- Yes he was.

SADDUCIA -- No he wasn't.

CAIAPHA -- Yes he was.

SADDUCIA -- No he wasn't.

CAIAPHA -- Yes he was.

ROMANA -- Stop! You two are giving me a headache!

SADDUCIA -- She's just bitter because Jesus called the Pharisees
white-washed tombs!

CAIAPHA -- Oh yeah?! Well, Jesus said that the Sadducees didn't
even know the scriptures! What kind of leaders are they if they
don't know the scriptures?!

ROMANA -- No wonder my father wants to burn this city to the
ground! You Jews can't get along with anybody, not even your own
people!

CAIAPHA -- I'm sorry.

SADDUCIA -- Me too.

ROMANA -- Now about your accusation that Jesus threatened to
destroy the temple...

SADDUCIA -- Yes?

ROMANA -- Did you hear him say that?

SADDUCIA -- Well, I didn't personally, no.

ROMANA -- So, what proof do we have that Jesus was plotting to
destroy the temple? (long pause)


PLOT POINT - JESUS ACCUSED OF PLOTTING TO OVERTHROW THE ROMANS

HERODA -- (enters reluctantly) Let go of me! You can't treat a
princess like this! Let go!

PETRA -- (enters dragging Heroda by the elbow) Here's another
witness for you. Her name is Heroda. She thinks she's a
princess.

HERODA -- My father will have your head for this!

PETRA -- Not while I'm protected by a representative of the
Roman government. Romana, this one could use a little flogging.

CAIAPHA -- (backs away) Get that want-to-be princess away from
me! She's not one of us!

SADDUCIA -- (backs away) She's not even a Jew!

CAIAPHA -- (to Sadducia) A lot you'd know about the subject. You
Sadducees don't even know your scriptures!

SADDUCIA -- (to Caiapha) Oh yeah?! Well, everybody knows you
Pharisees are all show and no substance!

ROMANA -- Hey! Put a lid on it! I'm trying to conduct an
investigation here! You... (points to Caiapha) go sit over there
(points to far end of stage) while I interview this witness. And
you.. (points to Sadducia) go sit over there. (points to
opposite end of stage)

(Caiapha and Sadducia comply)

PETRA -- Come to think of it, they could all use a little
flogging.

ROMANA -- Speaking of someone deserving of flogging...

PETRA -- (points, exits) Oh, look, another witness. I'll be
right back.

ROMANA -- Who are you?

HERODA -- My name is Heroda. I'm King Herod's step-daughter.

ROMANA -- King Herod is the ruler over the region where Jesus is
from?

HERODA -- That's right.

ROMANA -- So, King Herod is not a Jew?

HERODA -- We're Edomites, we're descended from Esau. The Jews
are descended from Esau's brother, Jacob. But we are all
descended from Abraham. I don't know why the Jews try to exclude
us.

ROMANA -- I'm not interested in your silly internal politics. I
came here to investigate the execution of Jesus.

HERODA -- My father said Jesus was guilty of sedition.

ROMANA -- Do you know what sedition is?

HERODA -- No. I'm just a dancer. I don't get involved with
things like that.

ROMANA -- Sedition is incitement of a rebellion against the
government.

HERODA -- Oh.

ROMANA -- So, did the sedition your father talked about have
anything to do with the destruction of their temple? (looks to
Sadducia)

HERODA -- No.

ROMANA -- Did the sedition have anything to do with the riot in
the temple last Sunday? (looks to Caiapha)

HERODA -- No. I didn't even know there was a riot in the temple.

ROMANA -- What was it about then?

HERODA -- Jesus tried to take over as king and he was plotting
the overthrow of Caesar.

ROMANA -- You people need to get your stories straight. One of
you says Jesus was executed for threatening to destroy the
temple, one of you says it was for starting a riot in the
temple, and one of you says it was for plotting to overthrow
Caesar. Which one of you is right?

ALL -- I am!


PLOT POINT - JUDAS BETRAYS JESUS TO THE CHIEF PRIEST

JUDASA -- (enters reluctantly) Please let me go. If you let me
go you can have half the money.

PETRA -- (enters dragging Judasa by the elbow) Any of you
missing a money pouch? (dangles money pouch)

(all pat themselves for money)

CAIAPHA -- (stands) Why, that dirty little Galilean gutter
snipe! She bumped into me on the street corner. She must have
picked my pocket!

PETRA -- Here you go. (offers pouch)

SADDUCIA -- If you need a candidate for flogging, there's one.

ROMANA -- What's you're name, girl?

JUDASA -- Mary. My name is Mary.

PETRA -- (tugs elbow) Try again.

JUDASA -- Okay, it's Elizabeth. My name is Elizabeth.

PETRA -- (tugs elbow) Try again.

JUDASA -- Okay. My name is Mary Elizabeth.

ROMANA -- Is that her name?

PETRA -- No. Her name is Judasa. She's the daughter of Judas
Iscariot.

ROMANA -- Who is Judas Iscariot?

PETRA -- They can tell you. I didn't know Judas all that well.

JUDASA -- You did too!

PETRA -- (points offstage, exits) I think I see another witness.

ROMANA -- Alright, out with it!

JUDASA -- If I tell, will you let me off on the pick pocketing
charge?

CAIAPHA -- (stands) Absolutely not!

SADDUCIA -- (stands) She's no better than her father! The thief!

ROMANA -- I'll be the one to decide that. (to Judasa) If you
tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about
your father, then I'll let the pick pocketing charge go.

CAIAPHA -- There's no justice with these Romans.

SADDUCIA -- No justice at all.

ROMANA -- You two sit down and be quiet!

(both sit)

ROMANA -- Now, what does Judas Iscariot have to do with Jesus?

JUDASA -- My father was one of Jesus' apostles.

ROMANA -- What's an apostle?

JUDASA -- His closest friends. There were twelve of them.

ROMANA -- But your father was a thief.

JUDASA -- (searches sky, then looks at feet)

ROMANA -- The truth or I'll have you flogged.

JUDASA -- Alright. My father was a thief and a con man. He
joined the disciples of Jesus because he thought that Jesus
would become rich some day and he could cash in.

ROMANA -- Are you saying Jesus DIDN'T become rich?

JUDASA -- He didn't even like to handle money. He let the others
handle the money. My Papa conned his way into handling the money
for all twelve apostles. He skimmed money from the money pouch
all the time.

ROMANA -- I guess that explains your chosen profession.

JUDASA -- Papa always said we were only borrowing the money. He
always thought that when Jesus took over as king, our family
would strike it rich.

ROMANA -- So, Jesus DID plot to take over the throne and
overthrow Caesar.

JUDASA -- Oh, no! Last Sunday, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a
donkey exactly as the Prophet Zechariah said that the "annointed
one" would. It was the people who declared him their king.

SADDUCIA -- Not ALL the people.

CAIAPHA -- My father tried to shut them up.

SADDUCIA -- All the Jewish leaders opposed him. Jesus was no
king.

JUDASA -- The prophet Daniel predicted the exact day that the
coming king would ride into Jerusalem. Last Sunday was that day.

ROMANA -- Is that true?

CAIAPHA -- I suppose you could read it like that.

SADDUCIA -- Sunday was the day, but Jesus was no king.

ROMANA -- Did any other king ride into Jerusalem last Sunday?

CAIAPHA -- Well, no.

ROMANA -- (turns to Sadducia)

SADDUCIA -- (shakes head)

ROMANA -- So, either Jesus was the expected king or the prophets
predicted the wrong day.

CAIAPHA -- My father is looking into it.

SADDUCIA -- Mine too.

ROMANA -- So, Jesus was king for only a week.

SADDUCIA -- Less than that.

CAIAPHA -- My father sent the temple guards to have Jesus
arrested Thursday night.

JUDASA -- Actually, it was in the early hours of Friday morning.

ROMANA -- How do you know that?

JUDASA -- Papa was the one who showed the temple guards who to
arrest and where to find him.

ROMANA -- Why would Judas betray Jesus after he finally became
king?

JUDASA -- We all thought that when Jesus became king, he would
overthrow the Romans and keep the taxes for himself. But all he
did was sit around the temple all day every day and teach his
disciples about the scriptures. Jesus had no intention of taking
over the throne. And if Jesus didn't take over the throne, there
was no way Papa could cash in. The only way Papa was going to
cash in was to sell-out Jesus to... (points to Caiapha) the
Jewish leaders.

ROMANA -- So, Judas betrayed Jesus for money.

CAIAPHA -- The true king of the Jews would have driven out the
Romans AND King Herod. Jesus was no king.

ROMANA -- How much money did Judas get for betraying Jesus?

JUDASA -- Thirty pieces of silver.

ROMANA -- If he got 30 pieces of silver, what made you think you
had to pick pockets?

JUDASA -- For the first time in his life, Papa let his
conscience get the better of him. He gave the money back.

CAIAPHA -- He didn't GIVE the money back, he threw the money
into the temple!

SADDUCIA -- That was blood money!

CAIAPHA -- Imagine defiling the temple like that!

ROMANA -- So, he gave the money back?

JUDASA -- (nods) And then he killed himself.

CAIAPHA -- Serves him right. Imagine defiling the temple like
that.


PLOT POINT - PONTIUS PILATE FINDS JESUS BROKE NO ROMAN LAWS

PONTIA -- (enters reluctantly) This is kidnapping, you know! My
father will have you flogged!

PETRA -- (enters dragging Pontia by the elbow) Not today,
sweetheart!

PONTIA -- Romana!

ROMANA -- Pontia! I was looking for you.

SADDUCIA -- That's Pontius Pilate's daughter!

CAIAPHA -- That Jewish girl is touching a gentile, a non-Jew!

SADDUCIA -- How can you defile yourself by touching a gentile?

CAIAPHA -- Makes my skin crawl.

PETRA -- Can you quote me the scripture that says Jews should
not touch gentiles?

SADDUCIA -- I... I'm sure I can.

CAIAPHA -- (stands) Jesus was right. You Sadducees DON'T know
your scriptures.

SADDUCIA -- (stands) Well, let's see you quote a scripture,
smarty!

ROMANA -- Hey! This is MY party! Sit down!

(they sit in unison)

PETRA -- Okay, well, (backs toward exit) I'll just let you fight
it out among you....

ROMANA -- Wait a minute! I want to know what YOU have to do with
this Jesus character!

PETRA -- (exiting) Yeah, well, I'll be back later. We can talk
then.

PONTIA -- Romana, I thought you were in Caesarea. What are you
doing in Jerusalem?

ROMANA -- My father sent me to...

PONTIA -- It was those (points) Jews, wasn't it? The Jews HATE
Papa. They're trying to get Papa fired! That's why they
maneuvered him into doing their dirty work for them.

CAIAPHA -- Our hands are clean. (shows hands)

SADDUCIA -- No blood on these hands. (shows hands) It was a
ROMAN execution.

PONTIA -- Papa couldn't find any violations of Roman law. Did
they tell you about the ridiculous charges they brought against
Jesus?

ROMANA -- Well, yes.... (reads) Starting a riot in the temple.

PONTIA -- There was no riot! Jewish laws prohibit selling things
in the temple. The money changers and sacrifice sellers
were doing business in the temple illegally. Jesus was merely
enforcing Jewish Laws. The booths that Jesus destroyed belonged
to them. (points to Sadducia)

ROMANA -- (turns) Is that so?

PONTIA -- That's what papa said. He said the Jews just wanted to
get even with Jesus because he destroyed their source of illegal
income.

ROMANA -- Very interesting. What about the plot to destroy the
temple?

PONTIA -- There was no plot! Jesus was referring to himself as
the temple. He said that if the Jews destroy his body, he will
raise it up in three days.

ROMANA -- Now I know why Papa has such a low regard for the
Jewish leaders. What about the charge of sedition?

PONTIA -- Sedition.

ROMANA -- Jesus was accused of stealing the crown from Caesar.

PONTIA -- (laughs) It wasn't from Caesar! Last Sunday the people
declared Jesus to be "King of the Jews". King Herod calls
himself the "King of the Jews".

ROMANA -- So, Herod accused Jesus of sedition for fear of
losing his own throne, not out of loyalty to Caesar.

PONTIA -- The Jews and the Edomites have no loyalty to Caesar.
They just tried to cover up their self-interest with what looked
like violations of Roman law. And when Papa showed them that
there were no violations of Roman law, they tried to get Papa to
execute Jesus for breaking Jewish laws.

ROMANA -- He's not allowed to do that.

PONTIA -- No. So, he told the Jews that if they wanted to
execute Jesus for breaking Jewish laws, they should stone him to
death as they always do.

CAIAPHA -- Wrong. The Romans made it illegal to stone people to
death.

SADDUCIA -- It's not our fault that you Romans tied our hands.

PONTIA -- Don't listen to them. They tried to stone Jesus to
death on several occasions.

ROMANA -- (to Caiapha) Why didn't you stone him to death this
time?

CAIAPHA -- Not our problem.

SADDUCIA -- It's a little late to point fingers.

PONTIA -- Since Jesus rode into town last Sunday and the people
declared him their king, his popularity increased. If the Jews
stoned him to death, the people would have rioted against them.
It was just politics.

CAIAPHA -- If Jesus wasn't guilty, why did your father have him
flogged?

ROMANA -- Pilate had Jesus flogged AND crucified?

PONTIA -- When Papa found out that Jesus didn't violate any
Roman laws, he wanted to just release him. But her (points to
Sadducia) father insighted the Jews against him.

SADDUCIA -- I wouldn't say he INSIGHTED them. That's a little
harsh, don't you think?

ROMANA -- So, Pontius Pilate had an innocent man flogged?

CAIAPHA -- He wasn't so innocent.

PONTIA -- The crowd shouted for the death penalty. Papa had
Jesus flogged in order to try to appease the crowd and then he
tried to let him go. But when the Jewish leaders threatened to
cause a riot, Papa had to choose between the death of one Jew or
the deaths of several Romans.

ROMANA -- So your father had Jesus crucified.

PONTIA -- (pauses, nods)

ROMANA -- Well, Roman law requires that a charge be listed over
the prisoner's head when they hanged him on the cross. What did
the sign say?

PONTIA -- The sign said "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews".

ROMANA -- That's it?! There's no Roman law against being the
"King of the Jews"! What kind of charge was that?!

CAIAPHA -- (stands) My father wanted the Governor to have the
sign read that Jesus CLAIMED to be the "King of the Jews".

SADDUCIA -- (stands) The governor just wanted to embarrass us
for forcing him to do his duty.

ROMANA -- That's not the way I see it. Jesus DIDN'T break any
Roman laws.

CAIAPHA -- That doesn't mean Jesus didn't deserve to die. Don't
forget, he broke several laws of God.

ROMANA -- My father doesn't care about your ridiculous religious
laws. He sent me here to find out if Pontius Pilate executed a
man who broke none of OUR laws. If he did, my father will have
no choice but to remove Governor Pilate from office.

CAIAPHA -- Good! I never liked Pontius Pilate.

SADDUCIA -- Me either. He deserves what he gets.

PONTIA -- No, please! Papa didn't do anything wrong! Please!

JUDASA -- What will happen to US?

ROMANA -- Well, you cooperated with us and the stolen coin pouch
was returned to it's rightful owner. You may go free.

JUDASA -- No, I mean, what will happen to US Jews, what will
happen to Jerusalem if you tell your father that we executed
Jesus without just cause?

ROMANA -- He'll probably have Jerusalem burned to the ground.

CAIAPHA -- He can't do that, can he?

ROMANA -- With the snap of his fingers. (snaps)


PLOT POINT - A TRIAL TO PROVE THAT JESUS BROKE JEWISH LAWS

SADDUCIA -- Let's not be so hasty. Remember, the Romans tied our
hands with regard to the death penalty. What if we PROVE that
Jesus was not so innocent?

CAIAPHA -- Yes, what if we can prove that what Jesus did was bad
for the Jews and the Romans too?

PONTIA -- What if you tell your father that when Papa punished
Jesus, he did what was best for the Roman Empire and for the
Jews as well?

ROMANA -- I'm not going to lie to him.

PONTIA -- I'm not suggesting that you lie. What if we PROVE that
Jesus had already deceived thousands of Jews into believing that
he was a real prophet. What if we PROVE that Jesus was a false
prophet and he damaged both Israel and the Roman Empire?

ROMANA -- And just how do you suggest we do that?

(all pause as they examine each other's faces)

PONTIA -- A trial.

CAIAPHA -- Yes, that's it! A trial!

SADDUCIA -- We could give the evidence that our fathers gave at
the trial.

HERODA -- You mean at the TRIAL"S".

ROMANA -- How many trials were there?

JUDASA -- Two.

HERODA -- Three.

PONTIA -- Four.

ROMANA -- There were four different trials?!

SADDUCIA -- The early trial didn't go so well, so we... had
another...

JUDASA -- And another...

HERODA -- And another...

JUDASA -- They kept trying him until they found him guilty.

CAIAPHA -- That's not true. It was difficult to find witnesses
in the early morning hours.

ROMANA -- What time did you have the first trial?

CAIAPHA -- About 4 a.m..

ROMANA -- 4 a.m.?! It's not legal in Roman courts to have a
trial after dark!

CAIAPHA -- It's not legal in Jewish law either, but they had to
get Jesus off the streets.

ROMANA -- Alright, well, here's what we'll do then. We'll have a
trial and we'll combine all the evidence and what all the
witnesses said into one trial. Does everybody remember what was
said and who said it?

SADDUCIA -- Sure.

JUDASA -- It's kind of one-sided if you ask me. You've got all
these people to accuse Jesus but noone to defend him.

ROMANA -- She's right.

PETRA -- (enters dragging Aramathia by the elbow) Here's another
Pharisee. Her name is Aramathia.

JUDASA -- Hey, SHE could defend Jesus!

CAIAPHA -- Not Aramathia! Her father Joseph is a Pharisee. He's
one of us!

JUDASA -- No, I mean, Petra.

PETRA -- Me?! No. I don't know what you want from me, (exiting)
but I don't know anything about Jesus.

ROMANA -- (shouts) Freeze!

PETRA -- (freezes)

ROMANA -- (approaches) Judas' daughter says you know enough
about Jesus to defend him.

PETRA -- Me? (chuckles) No. You can't believe a thing she says.
She's a thief, remember?

JUDASA -- She's the one who's lying. She's just like her father.

ROMANA -- Who is her father?

JUDASA -- Petra's father is an apostle, just like my father was.
His name is Peter.

ARAMATHIA -- That's right. Peter is the head apostle, Jesus'
right-hand man.

JUDASA -- But during the trials, Peter denied that he even knew
who Jesus was.

ROMANA -- With friends like that he doesn't need any enemies.

JUDASA -- The apple falleth not far from the tree.

PETRA -- Look who's talking.

ROMANA -- Alright, that's it, then, we'll recreate the trials of
Jesus and Petra will defend Jesus.

PETRA -- Listen, I'm the wrong man for the job. I'm just a
fisherman's daughter. What do I know about defending anybody?

JUDASA -- Aramathia could help you.

ROMANA -- I thought we already established that Aramathia is the
daughter of a Pharisee.

JUDASA -- She is. But her father Joseph buried the body of Jesus
in his own family tomb.

CAIAPHA -- That was YOUR family tomb?!

SADDUCIA -- Your father defiled his family tomb with the body of
a false prophet?!

ROMANA -- It remains to be seen whether Jesus was a false
prophet. Aramathia, how is it that the body of Jesus was buried
in the tomb of a Pharisee?

ARAMATHIA -- (pauses) My father is a Christian.

ALL -- A what?!

ARAMATHIA -- A Christian. A Christian is a person who believes
that Jesus was the Christ, the messiah, the savior of the world.

ALL -- (mumble in disbelief)

ROMANA -- Well then, we have THREE people who knew Jesus and can
answer the charges against him.

PETRA -- (exiting) In that case, excuse me for a minute.

ROMANA -- Where do you think you're going?!

PETRA -- (turns) If we're going to defend Jesus, we need some
more witnesses. (exits) I won't be a minute.


PLOT POINT - JESUS ACCUSED OF BEING A FALSE PROPHET

ROMANA -- (whisks hand) Very well, then. Well, let's get
started. This court is now in session. What charges do we have
against the defendant?

SADDUCIA -- Well, for one thing, Jesus claimed to be a prophet.

JUDASA -- He WAS a prophet.

SADDUCIA -- No, he wasn't. He couldn't be. We haven't had a
prophet in Israel for five hundred years.

ARAMATHIA -- A prophet is one who speaks for God to men.

SADDUCIA -- Yes.

ARAMATHIA -- There are two ways you can prove that Jesus was a
false prophet: either by proving that what he said was false or
by proving that what he predicted for the future did not come
true. Can you give the court an instance where Jesus lied?

SADDUCIA -- Well, no.

ARAMATHIA -- Can you give the court and instance where Jesus
predicted the future and the prediction didn't come true?

SADDUCIA -- Well, no.

ARAMATHIA -- Now, can anyone give the court any proof that Jesus
was a true prophet of God by predicting the future and his
prediction came true?

JUDASA -- I can. Jesus predicted that he himself would be
betrayed by his friend. My father was a friend of Jesus and he
betrayed him to (points to Caiapha) the chief priest, just as
Jesus predicted.

ARAMATHIA -- If Petra was here, she could testify about another
prediction too.

PETRA -- (enters with Maria and Bartimaia in tow) Did I hear
someone mention my name?

CAIAPHA -- Why are you bringing those two filthy street beggars
into this?

PETRA -- These girls are the daughters of two people who can
testify that Jesus is innocent of all charges.

ROMANA -- Very well. You were saying?

ARAMATHIA -- Petra, tell the court what Jesus predicted about
your father Thursday night.

PETRA -- It's too embarrassing.

ROMANA -- Say it anyway.

PETRA -- Alright, on Thursday night, during the Seder,...

ROMANA -- The what?

PETRA -- The Seder, the celebration of the passover meal, the
last meal our ancestors ate before they left Egypt for the
promised land. During the ceremony, my father boasted that he
would always remain loyal to Jesus no matter what. Jesus
predicted that Papa would deny him three times before the night
was over.

ROMANA -- Three times?

PETRA -- Yes.

ROMANA -- In one night?

PETRA -- Yes.

ROMANA -- And...

PETRA -- And it happened just the way Jesus said it would.

ROMANA -- (writes) Well, it looks like the evidence so far
supports the notion that Jesus was a true prophet. So, unless
one of you can testify that Jesus lied or failed to predict the
future accurately,... (pauses, looks around) No? Well, it looks
like we have no proof that Jesus was a "false prophet". Any
other charges against the accused?


PLOT POINT - JESUS ACCUSED OF VIOLATING THE JEWISH SABBATH

CAIAPHA -- Jesus violated the sabbath instituted by God.

ROMANA -- The sabbath.

CAIAPHA -- We celebrate the sabbath every Saturday. The Lord
commanded that we must cease from our normal work on Saturday.
The Lord also said that those who work on the sabbath must get
the death penalty.

ROMANA -- So, you're saying that Jesus WORKED on the Sabbath.

CAIAPHA -- Yes. He healed people on the sabbath.

ROMANA -- What does the defense counsel say about that charge?

ARAMATHIA -- I have a question.

ROMANA -- Go ahead.

ARAMATHIA -- Where in the scriptures does it say that people are
not allowed to HEAL on the sabbath?

CAIAPHA -- I... I don't know. I suppose I could look...

ARAMATHIA -- I'll save you the trouble. My father is a Pharisee
too. And he can't find any such law anywhere in the scriptures.

CAIAPHA -- Oh.

SADDUCIA -- I have another violation of the sabbath. Jesus,
after he healed a crippled man on the sabbath, told the man to
pick up his mat and carry it home.

ROMANA -- What does the defense counsel say about that charge?

ARAMATHIA -- I have a question.

ROMANA -- Go ahead.

ARAMATHIA -- Where in the scriptures does it say that people are
not allowed to carry a mat on the sabbath?

SADDUCIA -- I know that law MUST be in the scriptures. I've seen
it in writing.

ARAMATHIA -- What you saw was the writings of the elders who
added their own opinions to the law and made it sound like God's
command. There is no law in the scriptures against carrying your
mat on the sabbath. We Jews are prohibited from doing a normal
day's work on the sabbath. All the other so-called violations of
the sabbath are merely the inventions of men to make them look
more pious.

SADDUCIA -- Oh.

ROMANA -- Okay, unless one of you has a valid violation of the
sabbath, (pauses, writes) I think we can conclude that Jesus was
not guilty of violating the Sabbath. Are there anymore charges
against the accused?


PLOT POINT - JESUS ACCUSED OF USURPING THE THRONE OF HEROD

HERODA -- Yes. Jesus tried to usurp the title "King of the Jews"
that rightfully belongs to my step-father.

ROMANA -- How does the defense counsel answer that charge?

ARAMATHIA -- That's only a violation of the law if the
prosecution can prove that Jesus was NOT the legitimate king of
the Jews.

HERODA -- My step-father, King Herod, is the legitimate King of
the Jews by permission of the Roman Empire.

ROMANA -- Wait a minute. We've already established that King
Herod is an Edomite, not a Jew.

HERODA -- Yes.

ROMANA -- So, how did an Edomite get the title "King of the
Jews"?

HERODA -- My grandfather paid the Roman government quite a lot
of money for the title.

CAIAPHA -- Don't forget to tell her about the murders.

ROMANA -- What murders?

HERODA -- It was a long time ago.

ROMANA -- What murders?

SADDUCIA -- Her grandfather killed off everybody else who could
lay claim to the title...

CAIAPHA -- Including his own family members.

ROMANA -- Is that true?

HERODA -- (nods)

SADDUCIA -- Tell her about John the Baptist.

ROMANA -- Who is John the Baptist?

HERODA -- The prophets predicted that the arrival of the King of
the Jews would be announced by a prophet like the Prophet
Elijah. John the Baptist was that prophet.

ROMANA -- Where is he? I should ask him about this case.

HERODA -- (looks away)

ROMANA -- (turns to Caiapha, then to Sadducia)

SADDUCIA -- He got his head cut off.

ROMANA -- Who did that?

CAIAPHA -- King Herod.

SADDUCIA -- When Herod became king, he stole his brother's wife.

ROMANA -- What does that have to do with the killing of John the
Baptist?

HERODA -- After Mama divorced my real Papa to marry Herod, John
the Baptist warned them that they were committing adultery.

ROMANA -- So, King Herod had John killed.

CAIAPHA -- I wonder who could have put that idea into his head.

ROMANA -- Who?

CAIAPHA -- The innocent little dancer.

SADDUCIA -- Murderer.

ROMANA -- (to Heroda) Killing John the Baptist was YOUR idea?

HERODA -- Herod promised me up to one third of his possessions
because he liked the way I danced for him. I wasn't going to
give that up.

CAIAPHA -- Money-grubbing little Edomite!

HERODA -- The Jewish leaders were not free of guilt in the death
of John the Baptist.

PETRA -- She's right. John the Baptist called the Pharisees a
brood of vipers.

SADDUCIA -- That's the only thing we agree on.

CAIAPHA -- Herod was inclined to kill John the Baptist anyway
because he was the only one who could confirm Jesus as the "King
of the Jews".

ROMANA -- Very clever. You killed the only witness who could
testify for Jesus. That way the Roman government does the dirty
work and your parents walk away without any blood on their
hands. I thought my Papa was ruthless. But you people set a new
standard.

CAIAPHA -- Don't try to lump the Herod's in with us.

SADDUCIA -- Yeah, at least WE didn't try to kill Jesus when he
was a baby!

ROMANA -- Herod did that?!

HERODA -- That wasn't Herod. That was Herod's father.

CAIAPHA -- It runs in the family.

SADDUCIA -- He killed every baby in the village where Jesus was
born.

ROMANA -- Why would Herod do such a thing?

ARAMATHIA -- Some wise men from the east came to Israel and
announced the birth of the annointed king of the Jews. Herod
found out the birthplace as predicted by the prophets and he
killed all the babies in that village hoping that the newborn
king would be among them.

ROMANA -- But Jesus survived.

ARAMATHIA -- His family had already fled to Egypt. By the way,
the scriptures also say that our annointed king would return
from Egypt.

CAIAPHA -- (stands) Just because Jesus just happen to come back
from Egypt is no guarantee that he was the King of the Jews!

ROMANA -- Is there no other proof that Jesus was the King of the
Jews?

ARAMATHIA -- The prophet Isaiah predicted that the annointed
King of the Jews would be a descendant of King David.

JUDASA -- I happen to know that Jesus' father was a descendant
of King David.

PETRA -- So is his mother.

ROMANA -- What about this incident last Sunday?

CAIAPHA -- You mean the riot in the temple?

ROMANA -- No, the grand entry of Jesus into Jerusalem as their
annointed king.

CAIAPHA -- Oh, that.

ROMANA -- (reads) I'm told that no other king, not even King
Herod rode into town as predicted by your prophets.

HERODA -- Herod didn't know about that prophecy.

PONTIA -- Maybe Jesus really was the King of the Jews.

ROMANA -- How's that?

PONTIA -- Remember when my father had Jesus executed, the sign
on the cross said "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews".

ROMANA -- So, it looks like Jesus was declared to be the
legitimate King of the Jews by prophecy, by the people last
Sunday and by the Roman governor, I don't see how we can
conclude that Jesus was a false king. (writes) By the way, I'm
going to suggest that my father take a second look at the
legitimacy of Herod as king of the Jews. We may have him
removed.

HERODA -- Me and my big mouth. If anybody knows any rich single
guys, my Mama is available.


PLOT POINT - JESUS ACCUSED OF USURPING THE TITLE "SON OF MAN"

SADDUCIA -- I have an accusation.

ROMANA -- Yes?

SADDUCIA -- Jesus called himself the "son of man".

ROMANA -- And what law does that violate?

SADDUCIA -- "Son of man" is a title given by God himself. It's
reserved for the messiah, the savior of the world. When Jesus
referred to himself as the "Son of Man", he blasphemed!

ROMANA -- How does the defense counsel answer this charge?

ARAMATHIA -- He only blasphemed if Jesus is proven not to be the
messiah.

ROMANA -- How do your scriptures describe the true "Son of Man"?

ARAMATHIA -- (counts on fingers) The prophet Micah predicted
that the "annointed one" would be born in King David's home town
of Bethlehem. The prophet Jeremiah predicted that he would be
born in the family of King David. King David himself predicted
that the son of man would be called King of the Jews, the
Prophet Zechariah predicted that he would ride into Jerusalem on
a donkey's colt. Jesus fulfilled all of those predictions to the
letter.

PETRA -- Jesus also fulfilled the prophecy that he would be
executed by crucifixion.

SADDUCIA -- Wait a minute. Where does it say the messiah is
crucified?

ARAMATHIA -- In the Psalms of David, he describes nails piercing
hands and feet and a spear piercing his side.

SADDUCIA -- That can't apply to Jesus. Those Psalms were written
before crucifixion was invented as a form of execution!

PETRA -- I guess that's why they're called prophecies. They
predict the future.

ARAMATHIA -- The Psalms also predicted that the guards would
divide up his clothing.

PETRA -- The Roman guards divided up the clothing of Jesus at
the foot of the cross.

SADDUCIA -- But the scriptures say that the messiah would
conquer the Romans.

ARAMATHIA -- Where does it say that?

SADDUCIA -- Well, it doesn't mention the Romans by name. The
scriptures just say that the enemies of Israel will be defeated.

ARAMATHIA -- Maybe the Romans aren't the enemy.

CAIAPHA -- That's ridiculous!

ARAMATHIA -- Maybe God is using the Romans to punish the Jews
for adding man-made rules to the sabbath laws and for rejecting
the messiah.

ROMANA -- I don't think this court has proven that Jesus was a
false messiah. And it looks to me like most of the evidence
proves that Jesus was the true "Son of Man" (writes) Are there
anymore accusations?


PLOT POINT - JESUS ACCUSED OF CLAIMING TO BE GOD

CAIAPHA & SADDUCIA -- Yes!

CAIAPHA -- Jesus claimed to be God. I'd like to see you deny
that one!

SADDUCIA -- Yeah.

CAIAPHA -- Jesus was put to death mainly because he claimed to
be God himself. That's blasphemy and that's punishable by death.

ROMANA -- How does defense counsel answer that charge?

ARAMATHIA -- It's only blasphemy if Jesus is not God.

ROMANA -- Surely, you're not saying that you can prove that
Jesus was God himself!

ARAMATHIA -- That's exactly what we're saying. The scriptures
say that noone but God can control the wind and the waves.

ROMANA -- You're saying that Jesus did that?

PETRA -- (nods) There was a huge storm when Jesus and the
disciples were out on the Sea of Galilee and Jesus calmed the
storm by merely giving the command.

JUDASA -- My father saw it happen.

PETRA -- Mine too. In fact, he did it a couple of times. Once,
Jesus even walked on top of the waves.

ROMANA -- That really happened?!

JUDASA -- There were twelve witnesses.

PETRA -- (nods) He even called to my Papa and had him step out
of the boat and Papa actually walked on top of the waves with
Jesus!

JUDASA -- It's true. Everybody in the district of Galilee knows
about it.

ROMANA -- Is that true?

HERODA -- Well, yes...

PONTIA -- It was a trick!

HERODA -- Nobody walks on water!

PETRA -- That's not all he did to prove he was God.

JUDASA -- No. He once fed 5000 people with a handful of food.
And then he did it again for 4000 people.

ROMANA -- With a handful of food.

PETRA -- That's not all he did. (motions) Maria, tell the court
what Jesus did for your mother.

MARIA -- My mother's name is Mary Magdalene, she was possessed
by demons. Jesus drove the demons from her body with one
command. And he didn't do it for just my Mama, he did it for
dozens of people all over Israel.

ARAMATHIA -- Isn't that fantastic?!

MARIA -- But it's true. I swear.

ROMANA -- I believe you.

PETRA -- Bartimaia, tell the court what Jesus did for your
father.

BARTIMAIA -- My father was blind from birth and Jesus healed him
by merely declaring that he was healed.

ROMANA -- And the healing was permanent. He can still see?

BARTIMAIA -- Clear as crystal.

MARIA -- Jesus also raised a dead person to life.

ROMANA -- That's a pretty fantastic claim. Are you sure the
person was dead?

MARIA -- Four days in the grave. You could smell it. He was
starting to decompose.

ROMANA -- (holds stomach) That was more than I wanted to hear.

MARIA -- That was not the first person he raised from the dead.

BARTIMAIA -- That's right. Jesus also raised a twelve year old
girl from the dead.

PETRA -- There were dozens of witnesses.

BARTIMAIA -- Can we go now?

MARIA -- Our mothers want us to go to the tomb of Jesus with
them so they can rewrap his body for permanent burial.

BARTIMAIA -- We need to help them push away the stone cover from
the tomb.

ROMANA -- (whisks hand) You may go.

(both exit)

ROMANA -- (writes) Well, I think that throws significant doubt
into the notion that Jesus blasphemed. The miracles he did seem
to validate his claim that he was God. Can the prosecution show
that these miracles were faked? (pauses) Come on! Your father's
turned this man over to Pontius Pilate to be executed. Surely
they MUST have had some proof that the miracles were faked.

CAIAPHA -- No.

SADDUCIA -- No.

ROMANA -- No?! Then, how did they justify putting him to death?


PLOT POINT - JESUS ACCUSED OF WITCHCRAFT

CAIAPHA -- They said he did the miracles through witchcraft.

ROMANA -- Witchcraft.

ROMANA -- And what proof did they have that the source was
witchcraft and not from God?

CAIAPHA -- (shrugs)

SADDUCIA -- (shrugs)

HERODA -- (shrugs)

PONTIA -- (shrugs)

ROMANA -- (to Pontia) So, ultimately, your father put to death a
man for witchcraft, but he had no proof that the source of the
miracles was actually witchcraft?

PONTIA -- I'm sorry.

ROMANA -- Well, I guess I got what I came here for. The rumors
were right. The charges against Jesus were trumped up. You know
what that means.

PONTIA -- It means my father won't have a job.

CAIAPHA -- It means we won't have a city.

SADDUCIA -- He can't just burn down our city, can he?

ROMANA -- (moves toward exit) Thank you for your cooperation.
This court is...


PLOT POINT - JESUS' BODY IS MISSING FROM THE TOMB

MARIA -- (enters running, crosses and exits without stopping)
The body is missing. Jesus is gone. The tomb is empty!

PETRA -- What did she say?

ARAMATHIA -- The body is missing.

JUDASA -- The tomb is empty.

BARTIMAIA -- (enters running, crosses and exits without
stopping) The tomb is empty! Jesus' body is missing!

ALL -- (mumble excitedly)

ROMANA -- (shouts) Wait a minute! What's going on?

CAIAPHA -- (moving toward exit) I don't know. But I'll bet my
Papa knows.

SADDUCIA -- (moving toward exit) I'm going to ask my father.

PONTIA -- Something's wrong here. This can't happen. (moving
toward exit) If anybody knows what's going on, my Papa does.

ARAMATHIA -- (moving toward exit) I'll check with the temple
priests.

PETRA -- (moving toward exit) I'll check with the apostles.
Maybe they know.

(all chatter and argue and move toward all exits)

ROMANA -- (shouts) Wait a minute. Wait a minute.

(all freeze)

ROMANA -- Whatever is happening here might change the fate of
Jerusalem. Find out what happened to the body of Jesus and
report back to me. But don't tell your parents about me or about
this investigation. Got it?

(all nod, all except Romana and Judasa chatter and argue and
move toward all exits)

ROMANA -- Aren't you going?

JUDASA -- I have nowhere to go. When my Papa betrayed Jesus, he
cut all ties to the Christians, to the Jews and to the Romans.
Noone will talk to me.

ROMANA -- What do you make of this?

JUDASA -- You mean, the missing body?

ROMANA -- Yes.

JUDASA -- I'm not sure you would believe me.

ROMANA -- Try me.

JUDASA -- On Thursday night, when Jesus predicted that my Papa
would betray him, Jesus also predicted that he himself would die
and raise from the dead again.

ROMANA -- You think he rose from the dead?

JUDASA -- I told you you wouldn't believe me.

MARIA -- (enters running toward opposite exit)

ROMANA -- Maria, wait!

MARIA -- (stops) Yes?

ROMANA -- Tell me what you saw at the tomb.

MARIA -- When we got there the stone was already rolled away
from the entrance to the tomb. The wrappings that Jesus was
wrapped in on Friday were just laying there.

ROMANA -- Someone unwrapped the body before they carried it
away?

MARIA -- No. The wrappings were still wrapped. They weren't
unwound.

BARTIMAIA -- (enters running toward opposite exit)

ROMANA -- Bartimaia wait!

BARTIMAIA -- (stops) Yes?

ROMANA -- Tell me what you saw at the tomb.

BARTIMAIA -- The stone was rolled away from the entrance and the
body was gone.

ROMANA -- Tell me about the body wrappings.

BARTIMAIA -- They were just laying there, still wrapped, as if
the body just evaporated.

ROMANA -- That's what (points to Maria) she said.

BARTIMAIA -- Can I go now? I need to tell the other disciples.

MARIA -- Me too.

ROMANA -- Yes. Yes. Go.

(Bartimaia & Maria exit running)

PONTIA -- (enters whispering with Heroda) We have the story.

ROMANA -- The story.

HERODA -- Yes. We know what happened.

ROMANA -- I'm listening.

PONTIA -- The disciples of Jesus stole the body from the tomb.

ROMANA -- That doesn't sound right. Two of the Christian girls
who were at the tomb just told me that the body wrappings were
left in the tomb.

PONTIA -- Okay. So?

ROMANA -- So, does it sound logical that grave robbers would
pause to remove the body wrappings before hauling the body away?

PONTIA -- I don't know. I just know what Papa told me.

(Caiapha, Sadducia enter whispering)

CAIAPHA -- We have the story.

ROMANA -- The story.

SADDUCIA -- Yes, we know what happened.

CAIAPHA -- The Christians stole the body.

ROMANA -- Has anybody identified the grave robbers?

SADDUCIA -- No. We just know it was Christians.

ROMANA -- If they haven't been identified, how do you know they
were Christians? Do Christians dress differently from other
Jews?

SADDUCIA -- Well, no.

ROMANA -- Then, how do you know they were Christians?

SADDUCIA -- We just do, that's all.

ROMANA -- How many Christians were involved?

SADDUCIA -- We don't know.  We just know it was Christians.

CAIAPHA -- And we know they stole the body.

SADDUCIA -- We know that for sure.

ARAMATHIA -- (enters) I'm not so sure about that.

ROMANA -- Do you know something that we don't know?

ARAMATHIA -- Did you know that the chief priest demanded that
Pontius Pilate post round-the-clock Roman guards outside the
tomb when Jesus was buried?

ROMANA -- Good question. Did you know that?

(Caiapha, Sadducia, Pontia and Heroda all nod in unison)

PONTIA -- Yes. We knew that.

ROMANA -- And Governor Pilate did that?

PONTIA -- Yes.

ROMANA -- Well?

PONTIA -- Well... what?

ROMANA -- Does that make sense to you?

(Caiapha, Sadducia, Pontia and Heroda huddle and mumble)

CAIAPHA -- Yes. That makes sense to us.

ARAMATHIA -- How did the grave robbers get by the heavily armed
guards and steal the body?

ROMANA -- Good question.

(Caiapha, Sadducia, Pontia, and Heroda huddle and mumble)

SADDUCIA -- The guards fell asleep. Yes. That's it. The guards
fell asleep.

ARAMATHIA -- Do you mean to tell us that the grave robbers
rolled away a 2000 pound cover stone from the tomb without
waking the guards?

(Caiapha, Sadducia, Pontia and Heroda huddle and mumble)

CAIAPHA -- That's right. That's what happened.

ROMANA -- Tell me, Pontia, are the guards still alive?

PONTIA -- Well, of course, that's how we know that it was
Christians who stole the body.

ROMANA -- How could they see it was Christians if they were
asleep?

CAIAPHA -- (opens mouth, nothing comes out)

SADDUCIA -- (opens mouth, nothing comes out)

HERODA -- (opens mouth, nothing comes out)

PONTIA -- (opens mouth, nothing comes out)

ROMANA -- Pontia, your father was a centurion in the Roman army.

PONTIA -- Yes.

ROMANA -- Do you know the penalty for a Roman guard when he
falls asleep on guard duty?

PONTIA -- Yes.

ROMANA -- What?

PONTIA -- (avoiding eye contact, hand over mouth) Death.

ROMANA -- Excuse me?

PONTIA -- I said the penalty for falling asleep on guard duty is
death.

ROMANA -- Death.

PONTIA -- Yes.

ROMANA -- But the guards who fell asleep on THIS guard duty are
still alive.

PONTIA -- Yes.

ROMANA -- Pontia, do you see anything wrong with this story?

PONTIA -- I told him noone would believe it. But Papa said
that's what happened.

CAIAPHA -- That's what my Papa said too.

SADDUCIA -- Mine too. So, it MUST be the truth.


PLOT POINT - WITNESSES HAVE SEEN JESUS ALIVE

PETRA -- (enters) He's alive!

MARIA -- (enters opposite) He's alive!

BARTIMAIA -- (enters opposite) He's alive!

ROMANA -- Who's alive?

ALL -- Jesus.

PETRA -- They've seen him all over the city.

MARIA -- My mother saw him. She talked to him. Jesus talked to
her!

BARTIMAIA -- My father saw him too. He appeared to a dozen
disciples inside a locked room! Two other disciples talked to
Jesus and ate with him on the road to Emmaus.

CAIAPHA -- Don't be silly!

SADDUCIA -- That's impossible.

PONTIA -- Jesus is dead.

CAIAPHA -- We all saw him die.

PONTIA -- When Jesus was hanging on the cross, the centurion ran
a spear through his heart.

SADDUCIA -- No way he could have survived that!

PONTIA -- Nobody survives crucifixion. Nobody.

ARAMATHIA -- Maybe he didn't SURVIVE. Maybe he died.

JUDASA -- And rose again. Just as he predicted he would.

CAIAPHA -- No way.

SADDUCIA -- That's impossible.

PETRA -- Impossible for a mere man. But Jesus CLAIMED to be more
than a mere man.

CAIAPHA -- I know. I know. He CLAIMED to be the great "I AM" who
talked to the prophet Moses from the burning bush.

SADDUCIA -- But that would make him the creator of the universe.

PETRA -- Only the creator of the universe could raise himself
from the dead.

PONTIA -- No way this guy was the creator of the universe!

JUDASA -- He's already shown us that he could control the wind
and the waves, he could walk on water, heal the sick, drive out
demons, raise people from the dead. What more proof do you need?

SADDUCIA -- No way we're going to admit that Jesus is the living
God.

CAIAPHA -- No way I'm going to admit that Jesus rose from the
dead. No way!

PONTIA -- No way!

HERODA -- No way!

ROMANA -- You may not have to admit it.

CAIAPHA -- Are you serious?!

ROMANA -- If Jesus is still dead, all you have to do to prove it
is to produce the body.

HERODA -- Produce the body.

ROMANA -- Yes.

(Caiapha, Sadducia, Pontia and Heroda huddle and mumble)

HERODA -- What if we can't produce the body?

PONTIA -- But we might some day!

CAIAPHA -- Yes, that's it. We'll produce the body some day.

ROMANA -- Save your breath. I've made my decision. (puts away
slate and chalk)

SADDUCIA -- What decision?

ROMANA -- I'm going to tell my father that the evidence is
overwhelming that Jesus is God and that he rose from the dead.
(moves toward exit)

SADDUCIA -- So your father is not going to burn down the city?

ROMANA -- Jerusalem is safe for now.

PONTIA -- What about Papa's job as governor?

ROMANA -- My father could hardly discipline the governor for
executing an innocent man if the innocent man is alive.

(Caiapha, Sadducia, Pontia and Heroda huddle and mumble)

CAIAPHA -- What if we stick to our story about the body being
stolen?

ROMANA -- (exiting) Big surprise! The Pharisees told a lie!

ARAMATHIA -- Why would you lie about something that's so
obviously false?

PETRA -- Yes, why lie now?

HERODA -- (exiting) If I lie, it means my step-dad can be the
King of the Jews.

SADDUCIA -- (exiting) If we lie, we sadducees don't have to
admit that there's life after death.

CAIAPHA -- (exiting) Lying is better that admitting that we
executed the savior of the world!

ARAMATHIA -- Well, I guess I'll go home and find out what Jesus
wants us to do now. (moves toward exit)

PETRA -- (moves toward exit) Do you think Jesus will forgive
Papa for denying him?

ARAMATHIA -- Of course. Jesus died for his sins.

JUDASA -- (sits) No way Jesus is going to forgive my Papa for
betraying him.

PETRA -- (looks back) Aren't you going home?

JUDASA -- Papa is dead. Mama died a long time ago. I have no
place to go.

PETRA -- Come. You can live with us. (beckons Judasa)

ARAMATHIA -- There's plenty of room at my house. (beckons
Judasa)

JUDASA -- (stands) You mean it?!

ARAMATHIA -- Of course!

JUDASA -- In spite of what Papa did?

PETRA -- Things are different now. Jesus is alive.

ALL -- (exiting) He's alive!

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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