PILATE2  8'4m0f The Jewish elite convince Pilate to kill Jesus

(an indefinite number of men and women cast members are
scattered throughout the audience, costumes optional for
audience cast)

(sound cue: leather strap slapping, man groaning off stage)

BEN -- (enters with Joe from opposite exit) What's taking the 
governor so long?

JOE -- He probably can't find anything to charge him with.

PILATE -- (enters opposite dragging Jesus) I find no fault with
this man.

JOE -- (crossing to Pilate) You mean you found no violations of 
ROMAN law.

PILATE -- (turns) I am bound by Roman law. I have no 
jurisdiction over other laws.

JOE -- Have you forgotten the law of the Jews, who are under
your jurisdiction?

PILATE -- If you have an internal religious dispute, you can
handle it yourselves.

BEN -- But Roman law prohibits us from carrying out our own
death penalty.

PILATE -- Death Penalty?! For what?! I just tortured this man
with forty lashes with the cat-of-nine tails. All he would
confess to is being king of the Jews. You think THAT'S a capital

BEN & JOE -- Yes.

PILATE -- Why?

BEN -- (pause) Because (pause) we already have a king.

JOE -- Yes. King Herod.

PILATE -- Why all this allegiance to King Herod all of a sudden?
You Jews hate King Herod. He isn't even a descendant of your
ancestor Jacob. He is an Edomite, the descendant of Esua. You
have never accepted the Herod family as your kings since we
imposed them upon you decades ago. Now, this Jewish man, who
claims to be the rightful heir to King David's throne comes
along and you suddenly claim allegiance to Herod?!

BEN -- Yes, we do.

PILATE -- If anyone should be upset about a man claiming to be
the rightful heir to the throne, it should be King Herod. How is
it, then, that Herod examined this man and finds him to be no
threat to his throne?

BEN -- (pauses, mumbles in Joe's ear briefly) Herod was probably
fearful of an uprising.

JOE -- Yes, that's it. Herod already upset the people when he
killed John the Baptist.

BEN -- Yes, that's it. Everybody knows that John the Baptist was
a co-conspirator with Jesus to take over Herod's throne.

PILATE -- And yet, Herod sees Jesus as no threat.

BEN -- (pauses, mumbles in Joe's ear briefly) There are other
implications of this conspiracy.

JOE -- Yes. In addition to claiming to be king, Jesus also
claimed to be equal with God.

PILATE -- Well, then, it's back to being a religious matter. You
take him and deal with him

BEN -- No!

PILATE -- Why not?

BEN -- (to Joe) Why not?

JOE -- (pause) Because our law says that anyone who claims to be
equal with God is guilty of blasphemy.

BEN -- Yes, that's it. And the penalty for blasphemy is DEATH.

PILATE -- (smiles confidently) I know enough about your law to
know that he can only be convicted of blasphemy if he claims to
be equal with God and is NOT God.

BEN -- Well of course he's not God!

JOE -- How preposterous!

PILATE -- But I thought he gave you several demonstrations of
God's power. Didn't he heal people, drive out demons, calm the
storms, and even raise people from the dead?

BEN -- Well, yes.

JOE -- Allegedly.

PILATE -- Well, if he demonstrated God's power, wouldn't that
disprove the blasphemy charge?

BEN -- Yes. JOE -- No.

PILATE  -- Well, which is it?

JOE -- No. We think Jesus got the power for his miracles from
the devil himself.

PILATE -- Well, then, that still makes this a religious issue.
YOU deal with him!

BEN -- But our law requires that we stone him to death.

PILATE -- Okay.

BEN -- But Roman law doesn't allow us to execute anyone.

PILATE -- You hypocrits! You Jews have been stoning people to
death behind our backs since we conquered this land. Why are you 
suddenly so interested in being law abiding citizens?

BEN -- (to Joe) That's a good question.

PILATE -- Would you like my permission to execute Jesus?

BEN -- Yes. JOE -- No!

BEN -- No?! I thought we wanted him dead.

PILATE -- You take him. He's yours. Do with him as you wish.

JOE -- A moment, Your Eminence? (confers silently with Ben)

PILATE -- (turns, irritated) What do you want from me?! You want
him dead. Execute him yourselves!

JOE -- If Jesus dies by stoning, it will be too good for him.

PILATE -- He will be just as dead if you kill him as if I kill 

JOE -- Yes, but if we stone him there won't be enough witnesses.

PILATE -- I don't understand.

BEN -- Me either. When we stone someone to death, the law
requires a MINION. A minion is ten witnesses. Isn't that enough?

JOE -- No. When we stone someone to death, we usually throw him
into a pit and drop large stones on his head from the rim of the

BEN -- Well, it works. He usually ends up dead.

JOE -- But the problem is the only people who can see him die
are the ten people standing around the pit. (signals with hand
for Ben to continue)

BEN -- Oh, yes, that's right. But in a Roman execution, Jesus
will be lifted high on a cross, like the brass serpent that
Moses lifted up on a wooden pole in the desert, so all two
million people in the camp could see it at once.

PILATE -- (irritated) And why should I care if ten people or ten
million people see Jesus dying?

JOE -- We want to make an example of him.

PILATE -- You talk as if we had an epidemic of people claiming 
to be the king of the Jews. The last guy who claimed to be the 
king of the Jews led his disciples out to the desert where they 
all died of thirst.

JOE -- If we stone him, he'll die right away. But if he's hung 
on a cross,...

PILATE -- You WANT him to suffer?!

JOE -- Yes. He insulted us. We want him to suffer. And we want 
everyone to see the punishment for people who insult us.

PILATE -- So, it's personal.

JOE -- There's something at stake here for YOU too. As I said, 
Jesus not only claims to be King of the Jews. He also claims to 
be equal with God.

PILATE -- I thought we covered that.

JOE -- If Jesus claims to be God, he not only competes with OUR
God, Jehovah, he also competes with YOUR god.

PILATE -- MY god?

JOE -- I will remind you that the Roman Emperor claims to be a

PILATE -- As if some Jew a thousand miles from Rome is a big
threat to Caesar.

JOE -- (to Ben) I wonder how Caesar would react if he found out
his governor had the ability to stop an uprising but failed to

PILATE -- An uprising?!

JOE -- (to Ben) A man who claims to be on a par with the Lord of
Lords and King of Kings sounds like a serious threat to the
security of Rome to me.

PILATE -- I've never heard a single word about an uprising from 
Jesus or any of his disciples. They call him the prince of

JOE -- (steps toward audience, tugs on own ear lobe obviously)

AUDIENCE -- Crucify him! Crucify him!

JOE -- (to Ben) I think we should write a letter to Rome, don't

BEN -- It would be a real shame if Caesar found out that one of 
his governors had a seditionist in his grasp and let him escape.

JOE -- (steps toward audience, tugs on own ear lobe obviously)

AUDIENCE -- Crucify him! Crucify him!

PILATE -- Why are you doing this?! This man is your savior!

JOE -- We keep the law. We don't need a savior. (steps toward
audience, tugs on own ear lobe obviously)

AUDIENCE -- Crucify him! Crucify him!

PILATE -- (holds up hands) Alright, have it your way. I'll do
your dirty work for you. (shouts) Guards! Take the prisoner to 
jail. We'll crucify him in two days.

JOE -- It would be better if he died TODAY. 

PILATE -- Roman law requires a two day waiting period for the 
death penalty.

JOE -- (steps toward audience, tugs on own ear lobe obviously)

AUDIENCE -- Crucify him! Crucify him!

JOE -- It would be better if he died TODAY. (steps toward 
audience, tugs on own ear lobe obviously)

AUDIENCE -- Crucify him! Crucify him!

PILATE -- Alright! Alright!. Guards! (pushes Jesus to exit) Take 
the prisoner out of the city and crucify him!

JOE -- You've been very cooperative, Your Eminence. (bows and 
backs away) We shall take our leave.

BEN -- (bows and backs away) Your Eminence.

PILATE -- (optional handwashing while backing away toward 
opposite exit) I am innocent of this man's blood! The blood of 
Jesus will be upon YOUR hands!
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