The Passion Gospel

The Passion of our Lord Jesus according to Matthew

Matthew 26.14 to 27.end.

in dramatised form

Narrator          One of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief  priests and said,

Judas             What will you give me if I betray him to you?

Narrator         They paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he began to look for an opportunity to betray him. On the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying,

Disciples      Where do you want us to make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?

Narrator        He said,

Jesus            Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, 'The Teacher says, My time is near. I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.'

Narrator        So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover meal. When it was evening, he took his place with the twelve; and while they were eating, he said,

Jesus            Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.

Narrator        And they became greatly distressed and began to say to him one after another,

Disciples     Surely not I, Lord?

Narrator       He answered,

Jesus           The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born.

Narrator     Judas, who betrayed him, said,

Judas         Surely not I, Rabbi?

Narrator      He replied.

Jesus          You have said so.

Narrator      While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said,

Jesus          Take, eat; this is my body.

Narrator      Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying,

Jesus          Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will never again drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.

Narrator      When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of  Olives. Then Jesus said to them,

Jesus          You will all become deserters because of me this night; for it is written, 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.'  But after I am raised up, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.

Narrator      Peter said to him,

Peter           Though all become deserters because of you, I will never desert you.

Narrator      Jesus said to him,

Jesus           Truly I tell you, this very night, before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.

Narrator      Peter said to him,

Peter            Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.

Narrator       And so said all the disciples. Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; And he said to his disciples,

Jesus            Sit here while I go over there and pray.

Narrator        He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and agitated. Then he said to them,

Jesus            I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.

Narrator        And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed.

Jesus            My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.

Narrator        Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter,

Jesus            So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? Stay awake pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Narrator         Again he went away for the second time and prayed.

Jesus             My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be  done.

Narrator         Again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were  heavy. So leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the  third time, saying the same words. Then he came to the  disciples and said to them,

Jesus             Are you still sleeping and taking your rest?  See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.

Narrator         While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; with him was a large crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now the betrayer had  given them a sign, saying,

Judas             The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him.

Narrator          At once he came up to Jesus and said,

Judas              Greetings, Rabbi.

Narrator          and kissed him. Jesus said to him,

Jesus               Friend, do what you are here to do.

Narrator          Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and arrested him. Suddenly, one of those with Jesus put his hand on his sword, drew it, and struck the slave of the high priest, cutting off his ear. Then Jesus said to him,

Jesus              Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of  angels? But how then would the scriptures be fulfilled, which say it must happen in this way?

Narrator          At that hour Jesus said to the crowds,

Jesus              Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me. But all this has taken place, so that the scriptures of the prophets may be fulfilled.

Narrator          Then all the disciples deserted him and fled. Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas the high priest, in whose house the scribes and the elders had gathered. But Peter was following him at a distance, as far as the courtyard of the high priest; and going inside, he sat with the guards, in order to see how this would end. Now the chief priests and the whole council were looking for false testimony against Jesus so that they might put him to death, but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. At last  two came forward and said,

Witnesses      This fellow said, ' I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.'

Narrator          The high priest stood up and said,

High Priest     Have you no answer? What is it that they testify against you?

Narrator          But Jesus was silent. Then the high priest said to him,

High Priest     I put you under oath before the living God, tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.

Narrator          Jesus said to him,

Jesus              You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.

Narrator           Then the high priest tore his clothes and said,

High Priest       He has blasphemed! Why do we still need witnesses? You have now heard his blasphemy. What is your verdict?

Narrator            They answered,

Council              He deserves death.

Narrator             Then they spat in his face and struck him; and some slapped  him, saying,

Council               Prophesy to us, you Messiah! Who is it that struck you?

Narrator              Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A servant-girl  came to him and said,

Servant-girl         You also were with Jesus the Galilean.

Narrator               But he denied it before all of them, saying,

Peter                     I do not know what you are talking about.

Narrator               When he went out to the porch, another servant-girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders,

Servant-girl 2     This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.

Narrator               Again he denied it with an oath,

Peter                     I do not know the man.

Narrator               After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter,

Bystanders         Certainly you are also one of them, for your accent betrays  you.

Narrator               Then he began to curse, and he swore an oath,

Peter                     I do not know the man!

Narrator               At that moment the cock crowed. Then Peter remembered what Jesus had said: Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times. And he went out and wept bitterly. When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred together against Jesus in order to bring about his death. They bound him, led him away, and handed  him over to PIlate the governor. When Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he repented and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. He said,

Judas                   I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.

Narrator               But they said,

Chief priests        What is that to us? See to it yourself.

Narrator               Throwing down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself. But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said,

Chief Priests       It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since they are blood money.

Narrator                After conferring together, they used them to buy the potter's field as a place to bury foreigners. For this reason that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then was  fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet  Jeremiah, 'And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of the one on whom a price had been set, on whom some of the people of Israel had set a price, and they gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord commanded me.' Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him,

Pilate                    Are you the King of the Jews?

Narrator               Jesus said,

Jesus                   You say so.

Narrator                But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he did not answer. Then Pilate said to him,

Pilate                     Do you not hear how many accusations they make against you?

Narrator                But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed. Now at the festival the governor was accustomed to release a  prisoner for the crowd, anyone whom they wanted. At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Jesus Barabbas. So after they had gathered, Pilate said to them,

Pilate                    Whom do you want me to release for you, Jesus Barabbas or Jesus who is called the Messiah?

Narrator                For he realized that it was out of jealousy that they had handed him over. While he was sitting on the judgement  seat , his wife sent word to him,

Pilate's wife        Have nothing to do with that innocent man, for today I have suffered a great deal because of a dream about him.

Narrator               Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus killed. The governor  again said to them,

Pilate                  Which of the two do you want me to release for you?

Narrator              And they said,

Crowd                 Barabbas.

Narrator              Pilate said to them,

Pilate                   Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?       

Narrator              All of them said,

Crowd                 Let him be crucified!

Narrator              Then he asked,

Pilate                   Why, what evil has he done?

Narrator               But they shouted all the more,

Crowd                  Let him be crucified!

Narrator              So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying,

Pilate                   I am innocent of this man's blood; see to it yourselves.

Narrator              Then the people as a whole answered,

People                 His blood be on us and on our children!

Narrator              So he released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified. Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the  governor's headquarters, and they gathered the whole cohort around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on his head. They put a reed in his right hand and knelt before him and mocked him, saying,

Soldiers              Hail, King of the Jews!

Narrator              They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the  head. After mocking him, they stripped him of the robe and  put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify  him. As they went out, they came upon a man from Cyrene named Simon; they compelled this man to carry his cross. And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall; but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. And when they had crucified him, they divided his clothes among themselves by casting lots; then they sat down and kept watch over him. Over his head they put the charge against him, which read, 'This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.'Then two bandits were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying,

Passers by         You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the  cross.

Narrator              In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes  and elders, were mocking him saying,

Chief priests      He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down from the cross now, and we will  believe in him. He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he wants to; for he said, 'I am God's Son.'

Narrator              The bandits who were crucified with him also taunted him in the same way. From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And about three o'clock Jesus cried with a loud voice,

Jesus                  Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?

Narrator              that is, 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?' When some of the bystanders heard it, they said,

Bystanders        This man is calling for Elijah.

Narrator              At once one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink. But the others said,

Bystanders        Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.

Narrator              Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints  who had fallen asleep were raised. After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many. Now when the centurion and those with him, who were keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake  and what took place, they were terrified, and said,

Centurion            Truly this man was God's Son!

Narrator               Many women were also there, looking on from a distance; they had followed Jesus from Galilee and had provided for him. Among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee. When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other  Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb. The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said,

Chief priests       Sir, we remember what that impostor said while he was still alive, 'After three days I will rise again.' Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day; otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away, and tell the people, 'He has been raised from the dead', and the last deception would be worse than the first. Pilate said to them,

Pilate                   You have a guard of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you  can.

Narrator              So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone.