Plymouth United Church of Christ

Right click to download to your computer.

Adapted from the Gospel of Mark by Rev. David Huber

This is intended to be the final part of the Palm/Passion Sunday worship as it ends in silence, and the congregation ought to leave in silence as well. Communion can be served during the Last Supper part of the narrative, or can be served before the dramatic readings begin, but I suggest during the narrative itself because it is a more powerful experience.



Sound effects needed: rooster crowing, low drone, fabric ripping (for this performance, the fabric ripping was dramatized by simply quickly turning up the volume of the drone, then brining the sound to zero in about 5 seconds)

Staging: Scene 0 has only Peter in it and should be done at the front of the congregation, preferably with a lavalier mic. We had the children outside the sanctuary begin beating their drums during the prelude, and then Peter stands up to deliver his speech. When Peter finishes, the children and anyone begin singing the Palm Sunday processional music and process around the sanctuary with palms and great joy, as long as they wish.

After the processional, move through the worship as normal. Have a hymn before the passion narrative so that the actors can take their places. Pilate, however, remains off stage until it is time for his scene. Other than the non-Jesus actors who will leave as they finish their lines, Pilate is the only actor who moves during the narrative. Set up chairs for the actors with Jesus in front, Peter to the right and slightly behind Jesus, the Scribe elevated behind and right of Jesus, the Priest elevated behind and left of Jesus, and Pilate elevated even higher directly behind Jesus but farther back than Priest and Scribe. Narrator should be off to either side, just barely as part of the “scene”.

SCENE 0 – Entry Into Jerusalem
(to be done at beginning of the worship service)


PETER: Listen – you can hear them coming for the Palm Sunday Procession.

What was that first Palm Sunday like, you ask? It was amazing! Like nothing I had seen before. It filled us with hope! Jesus was finally entering Jerusalem to claim it as his own and get rid of the Romans. We learned later that wasn’t his intent, but then – we were bursting with hope.

He sent two of us into Jerusalem to find a colt that had never been ridden. How we were to do that I had no idea, but we did what he said. Of course, we found the colt as soon we entered the city. As we untied it, some people asked us what we were doing.

I thought for sure we were going to be arrested, but Jesus said that if anyone asked, we were supposed to say “The Lord needs it.” Like anyone was going to listen to that! But it was the only answer I could think of. So as naturally as I could, like someone said this every day, I said, “The Lord needs it.”

And they let us have it! We took it to Jesus, threw our cloaks on it, and he rode it into Jerusalem like a king, and the people spread their cloaks and palm leaves on the road shouting “Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest!” And here he comes now.

–END. (You can join the procession)

(the worship service continues as normal; when the time comes for the Passion narrative, actors can move to their places. Lights should be reduced so that only the scene is lit.)


(All actors except Pilate move to the stage during the hymn)


NARRATOR: After arriving in Jerusalem, Jesus went to the temple and drove out those who were selling and those who were buying in the temple. He overturned the money changers’ tables and the seats of the dove seller and allowed no one to carry anything through the temple.

JESUS: Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.

NARRATOR: The chief priests and the scribes did not like what Jesus said. They were afraid of him because the whole crowd was spellbound by his teaching, so they kept looking for a way to kill him. When evening came, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city.

JESUS: Truly I tell you, if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and if you do not doubt in your heart, but believe that what you say will come to pass, it will be done for you. So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.

NARRATOR: Again they came to Jerusalem. As he was walking in the temple, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders came to him.

PRIEST: By what authority are you doing these things? Who gave you this authority to do them?

JESUS: I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin? Answer me.

PRIEST: If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’

SCRIBE: But these people regard John to be a prophet, and if we say that it came of human origin, they will rebel!

(PRIEST and SCRIBE pause)

PRIEST AND SCRIBE: We do not know.

JESUS: Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.

SCRIBE: We must arrest him!

PRIEST: But the crowd will riot if we do. Let us go for now, and find another way to take care of him.




NARRATOR: One of the scribes was impressed with Jesus’ teaching.

SCRIBE: Which commandment is the first of all?

JESUS: The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

SCRIBE: You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that ‘he is one, and besides him there is no other’; and ‘to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,’ and ‘to love one’s neighbor as oneself,’ – this is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

JESUS: You are not far from the kingdom of God.

NARRATOR: After that, no one dared to ask him any questions. He sat down opposite the treasury.
JESUS: See the crowd putting money into the treasury? Many rich people put in large sums, which they can easily afford. They look generous, but they are only giving God their leftovers. But look at this poor widow: she is putting in two small copper coins, only worth a penny. But truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury for they only give their leftovers, but out of her poverty, she has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.

NARRATOR: They came out of the temple.

PETER: Look, Teacher, what large stones and what large buildings!

JESUS: Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.




NARRATOR: While he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment of nard, and she broke open the jar and poured the ointment on his head.

MAN: Why was the ointment wasted in this way? It could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor. You should be ashamed of yourself, woman.

JESUS: Let her alone; why do you trouble her? She has performed a good service for me. For you always have the poor with you, and you can show kindness to them whenever you wish; but you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for its burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.

NARRATOR: Then Judas Iscariot went to the chief priests in order to betray Jesus to them. When they heard it, they were greatly pleased, and promised to give him 30 pieces of silver. So he began to look for an opportunity to betray Jesus.




NARRATOR: Jesus sent his disciples to find a room for them to share the Passover meal. When it was evening, he came there with the twelve, and they took their places and ate.

JESUS: Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.

PETER: Surely, not I, nor any of us?

JESUS: It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the bowl with me. For 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. (PAUSE)

JESUS: (lift up the bread) This is my body, broken for you. (break the bread) Take and eat.

JESUS: (lift up the cup) This is my cup of the new covenant, poured out for the forgiveness of all sins. (lift up cup and the bread) Whenever you eat and drink of these, do so in remembrance of me.

[Then we share communion, and sing the Lord’s Prayer. After the song id finished, Jesus continues:]

JESUS: Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.

CONGREGATION: Surely, not I?




NARRATOR: After they sang the Passover hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

JESUS: You will all become deserters; for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.

PETER: Even though all become deserters, I will not.

JESUS: Truly I tell you, this day, this very night, before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.

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

NARRATOR: They went to a place called Gethsemane.

JESUS: Sit here while I pray and keep awake.

NARRATOR: Going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed.

JESUS: Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.

NARRATOR: He came and found Peter sleeping.

JESUS: Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep awake one hour? Keep awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

NARRATOR: And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. And once more he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to say to him. He came a third time.

JESUS: Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Enough! The hour has come; the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.

NARRATOR: Immediately Judas arrived with a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. The betrayer had told them to arrest the man he kisses. Judas walked to Jesus and kissed him. Then they arrested him. But one of those who stood near drew his sword and struck the slave of the high priest, cutting off his ear.

JESUS: Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit? Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me. But let the scriptures be fulfilled.

NARRATOR: All of them deserted him and fled. A certain young man was following him, wearing nothing but a linen cloth. They caught hold of him, but he left the linen cloth and ran off naked.




NARRATOR: They took Jesus to the high priest; and all the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes were assembled. Peter followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. He sat with the guards, warming himself at the fire. The chief priests and the whole council were looking for testimony against Jesus to put him to death; but they found none. Some gave false testimony against him, but their testimony did not agree. Then the high priest stood up before them.

PRIEST: Have you no answer? What is it that they testify against you?

JESUS: (silence)

SCRIBE: Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?

JESUS: I am; and ‘you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power,’ and ‘coming with the clouds of heaven.’

PRIEST: Why do we still need witnesses? You have heard his blasphemy!

NARRATOR: All of them condemned him as deserving death. Some began to spit on him, to blindfold him, and to strike him, saying to him, “Prophesy!” The guards also took him over and beat him.




NARRATOR: While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant-girls of the high priest came by and accused Peter of being with Jesus, the man from Nazareth.

PETER: I do not know or understand what you are talking about.

NARRATOR: And he went out into the forecourt. [sound effect: cock crowing] And the servant-girl, on seeing him, began again to say to the bystanders that Peter was one of them.

PETER: I am not!

NARRATOR: The servant-girl insisted he was one of them because he was a Galilean.

PETER: I do not know this man you are talking about. [sound effect: cock crowing]

JESUS: “Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.”

–END (Peter leaves)



(PILATE moves forward as NARRATOR talks, stopping in front of Jesus)

NARRATOR: As soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate.

PILATE: (to Jesus, directly in front of him) Are you the King of the Jews?

JESUS: You say so. (PILATE moves to chair)

NARRATOR: Then the chief priests accused him of many things.

PILATE: Have you no answer? See how many charges they bring against you.

JESUS: (silence)

PILATE: (aside) This man has done nothing wrong. His only crime is inspiring jealousy in these muddling priests. (to the congregation) It is my custom during your festival to release a prisoner for you. Shall I release Barabbas the murderer, or this man you handed to me?

NARRATOR: The chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them.

PILATE: Then what do you wish me to do with this man you call the King of the Jews?

CONGREGATION: Crucify him!

PILATE: Why, what evil has he done?

CONGREGATION: Crucify him! Crucify him!

(Pilate blows out Christ candle, and leaves the stage)



(sound effect: low rumble, begin during hymn.)

NARRATOR: Wishing to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified. Then the soldiers led him into the courtyard of the palace; and they called together the whole cohort. And they clothed him in a purple cloak; and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on him. And they began saluting him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They struck his head with a reed, spat upon him, and knelt down in homage to him.

After mocking him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him. They compelled a passer-by, who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross; it was Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus. Then they brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull).

And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh; but he did not take it. And they crucified him, and divided his clothes among them, casting lots to decide what each should take. It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him.

The inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” And with him they crucified two bandits, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and telling him to save himself. The chief priests and scribes mocked him as well.

SCRIBE: He saved others; he cannot save himself.

PRIEST: Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down from the cross now, so that we may see and believe.

(Priest and Scribe leave)

NARRATOR: Those who were crucified with him also taunted him. When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. At three o’clock Jesus cried out,

JESUS: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?


NARRATOR: Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. The curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. [sound effect: curtain tearing, then reduce sound to zero]

(NARRATOR leaves)

(Jesus sits in silence for 30-60 or more seconds, head bowed, then walks out silently without looking up. After Jesus walks out, maintain silence for 2 minutes or more, then relight the Christ candle and leave in silence).

Share |

Rev. David Huber's Facebook profile

Return to previous page.

Plymouth United Church of Christ
2010 Moholt Drive
Eau Claire, Wisconsin, 54703

Webpastor: Pastor David