BACK

PILATE   7'1m0f Pontius Pilate explains the crucifixion

(enters, head down, arms behind back)

Oh, man, they've really done it. They've really done it this 
time.

(discovers audience)

Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't think anyone else was waiting to go in. 

(points to opposite exit, then, points to self)

I've got to go in there and tell the Prefect why I should not be 
demoted and why he should not give the order to have the temple 
torn down and the city burned to the ground. How's that for a 
day's work?!

Oh, I'm sorry, I probably should introduce myself. I'm Pontius 
Pilate. I'm the governor of that miserable little outpost called 
Palestine. The natives still stubbornly call it Israel after 
some Jew who died hundreds of years ago. 

(shakes finger)

You know it's their own stubbornness that brought all this onto 
themselves. And they're going to drag me down with them.

"One more uprising," (points to opposite exit) the Prefect said, 
"And I'll have the place burned to the ground!" He'll do it too. 
Mark my words. And I'll end up as the governor of some orphanage 
in Ethiopia!

(stomps)

They wouldn't listen! 

(resumes pacing) 

First of all they bring this guy named Jesus too me, saying he's 
committed some capital crime and should be put to death. So, 
okay, I think, this must be really important to them. They get 
me out of bed at the crack of dawn. I'll listen.

(stops, laughs)

Turns out, this Jesus is only guilty of claiming to be God. So, 
I say, I can't execute a man for claiming to be God. They say, 
"it's blasphemy!" Whatever that means. So, I say (points to 
audience) YOU take care of it! They say blasphemy is punishable 
by death, but the Romans won't let us execute people anymore. 
You do it!

(laughs)

But, I say, he hasn't broken any Roman laws! 

(resumes pacing)

Then, they threaten me, you know, not in so many words. But they 
as much as said they would raise a stink, maybe cause another 
uprising. And, of course, (points to opposite exit) the 
Prefect's orders to me are, "There will be no more waves on the 
Mediterranean Sea." 

(stops)

You know what that means. 

(resumes pacing)

So, I didn't want to make any waves. I questioned this Jesus. I 
tried to find out if he broke any Roman laws, anything at all 
that we could hang him on a cross for. 

(stops)

Nothing. The guy is squeaking clean. 

(resumes pacing)

But he's not being very helpful. He won't even defend himself. 
It's like he WANTS to die. Well, I'm not going to be the one to 
crucify an innocent man, especially after my wife tells me to 
have nothing to do with him. 

(stops)

Turns out my wife just had a nightmare about this same Jesus 
that same night.

(hands high) 

No way am I going to mess with this guy!

(resumes pacing)

So, I had him flogged.

(stops)

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, if he was 
innocent, why have him flogged? Well, I'm not going to have 
another riot on my hands and end up in Ethiopia with a nagging 
wife saying I told you so. I figured flogging Jesus would be 
enough punishment to keep the Jews happy but not too much 
punishment for my wife. So, I had him flogged and then I had the 
guards hand him back to the Jews. 

(resumes pacing)

Little did I know that my guards would take out their hostility 
against the Jews by beating the... pulp out of Jesus and 
plucking out his entire beard. 

(stops)

Don't look at me like that. I had nothing to do with that! 

(resumes pacing)

But I can see why they did it. In Rome if you don't shave you're 
a bum. But the Jews, they're something else. Jewish men have 
more hair than their women. They have laws against everything, 
including so much as trimming their beards. So, my guards... 
Well, let's just say, that if the Jews had released Jesus, 
he would not have been able to show his face around Jerusalem 
for a long, long time.

(resumes pacing)
  
Unfortunately, the Jews did NOT release him. They refused to 
take him. They insisted that I keep him and have him killed. I 
tried everything. I even tried to have Jesus released as my gift 
to the Jews as part of their Passover celebration. But the Jews, 
those stubborn Jews, they would not hear of it. They had me 
release some common thug instead. 

(stops)

So, what was I supposed to do? I said NO seven times! But the 
more I said no, the bigger the crowds got outside my palace.

(resumes pacing, hands raised)

"Crucify him! Crucify Him!" they shouted.

(stops)

So, you know what I did? I washed my hands (demonstrates) right 
in front of them and I told them, "Let his blood be on YOUR 
hands." And I had him crucified.

(resumes pacing)

You know I was surprised that Jesus lasted as long as he did. I 
figured that with between flogging and the beatings he took, he 
would probably die of internal injuries before they could even 
hang him up. 

(stops)

But he lasted (fingers up) four hours on the cross!

(resumes pacing)

After he died, the Jews asked me to put some guards outside his 
tomb. (laughs) Imagine that! Guarding a dead man! But I did it 
just to shut them up. They said that the Christians would try to 
steal the body and make it look like a resurrection. But, you 
know what? Jesus actually rose from the dead!

(stops)

Oh, yeah, I'm convinced of it. I knew it would happen before he 
died, before I even had him flogged. When I was questioning him, 
he looked me (points) right in eyes, like he was looking right 
into my sole. He didn't fear death at all.

(resumes pacing)

Now, I wouldn't go so far as to say he was God. But I knew he 
was FROM God. That's why I had the sign on his cross read "King 
of the Jews". 

(stops, laughs)

The Jews were really ticked off! Boy, I really got even with 
them!

(resumes pacing)

Anyway, after the resurrection, the Jews paid off my soldiers 
and told them to lie and say that (shouts) "the Christians stole 
the body while we were asleep!" 

(stops)

As if anybody would believe that Roman soldiers would fall 
asleep on duty. Do you know what the penalty is for falling 
asleep on guard duty? The same as Jesus got. They would be hung 
on a cross so everyone would see what happens to Roman soldiers 
who fall asleep on duty.

(resumes pacing)

I have no idea what happened to those soldiers. They never came 
back to the palace. I assume that they used the money they got 
from the Jews to buy passage on a ship to Spain. That's what I 
would have done. Meanwhile, the Jews are trying to spread the 
news that the Christians stole the body.

(stops, laughs)

But that's the funny part. I questioned a couple of the Jews who 
knew Jesus. They said, (throws up hands) "His body is missing? 
Really?!" (laughs) Like they weren't expecting it after he told 
them exactly what would happen! Their own Bible even predicted 
it, and they still didn't believe it!

(resumes pacing)

But it didn't take long for the truth to leaked out. About 500 
people, believers and non-believers, saw Jesus after he rose 
from the dead.

(stops) 

But there's no way I'm going to tell that to the Prefect. 
(points to opposite exit) I don't know what I'm going to tell 
the Prefect. I don't really think it matters. I'm probably going 
to end up in Ethiopia or some other dismal outpost. And sooner 
or later Jerusalem with be burned to the ground. They brought it 
on themselves. All the lies and deceit... (laughs) Ask two Jews 
and you get three different stories. No wonder the Prefect 
thinks they're planning another uprising!

(exiting opposite)

Oh, well, wish me luck.

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
Do not sell any part of this script, even if you rewrite it.
Pay no royalties, even if you make money from performances.
You may reproduce and distribute this script freely,
but all copies must contain this copyright statement.
http://www.bobsnook.org  email: bob@bobsnook.org

BACK