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BARABBAS’ SUBSTITUTE – written by Tanis Harms
TOPIC: Jesus died in our place
SCRIPTURE: Mt.27:1-14; Mk.15:1-32; Lk.23:1-43;
. Jhn.19:1-19; 1Pet.2:21-24, 3:18
Style: drama/conversation: In prison,
. as the two thieves and Barabbas
. wait for their crucifixion, they hear
. about Jesus and what is about to happen,
. and discuss how they might have lived
. their lives differently
Cast: BARABBAS, THIEF 1-2, JAILER
Set & Props: (optional) prison cell or
. bars for background, chains
(BARABBAS lounges on the cell floor as comfortable
as he can get. THIEF 1 paces without purpose
while THIEF 2 leans against a wall, eavesdropping
into some distant conversation. JAILER walks past.)
THIEF 1 Hey! What’s going on over there?
THIEF 2 It kind of sounds like you’re torturing
. someone, although I don’t hear the prisoner.
(JAILER stops to gloat.)
JAILER Some man – claims to be King of the Jews,
. if you can believe that.
. So, the guards are having a bit of fun.
. It would be a lot more fun if the man
. would scream - cry - or something.
THIEF 1 (concerned) But what’s His crime?
THIEF 2 (eagerly) Yeah, what did he do?
JAILER The man is obviously innocent. But –
. I don’t know, the leaders are set on making
. him out to be - some kind of an example.
THIEF 2 Example of what?
JAILER (unsure) Maybe - of what could happen
. to anyone else who can do – things -
. that only God can do-
THIEF 1 Is this the man called Jesus? I’ve heard
. about Him. I heard that He can do miracles.
JAILER (angry now) I don’t know.
. What do you care, anyway?
. By the end of the day – you’ll all be dead.
. (eyeing BARABAS) Hey, Barabbas,
. don’t get too comfortable.
(JAILER walks away. THIEF 2 stops to look with awe
THIEF 2 You – are the notorious Barabbas?!
BARABBAS You’re a fan of my work?
THIEF 2 I’ll say! Wow! What an honor! To be
. crucified next to someone like Barabbas!
BARABBAS What are you here for?
THIEF 2 (proudly) Stealing!
THIEF 1 How can you be proud of that?
. I’m not proud of that. If only I could go back
. and do it all over again.
THIEF 2 If I could do it all over again,
. I’d just make sure not to get caught.
. I guess for that to happen –
. one needs to murder the witnesses.
BARABBAS Well obviously, that can catch up
. with you, too. Otherwise I would not be here.
THIEF 2 Well, I guess you didn’t murder ALL
. your witnesses. Huh?... So how many people
. did you kill? What was it like?
BARABBAS Could you just shut up. I’d like to spend
. my last few hours in - some sort of peace.
(THIEF 2 gets all puffed up.) 3
THIEF 2 Oh, or what? What’re you going to do –
. kill me? I’m already dead, anyway.
. And I could just turn around and kill you.
. I’ve always wanted to know what that felt like.
BARABBAS Go right ahead. I deserve it. It’ll be
. a quicker death than hanging on a cross.
THIEF 1 Shhhh. I’m trying to listen.
THIEF 2 What’s so interesting about that man, anyway?
THIEF 1 He’s refusing to defend Himself.
. I just don’t get it.
(JAILER comes to open the door.)
JAILER Barabbas – this is your lucky day.
BARABBAS What are you talking about?
JAILER The people were given a choice to free someone.
. The Governor was hoping it would be Jesus,
. but the leaders got the crowd to chant out
. YOUR name, instead.
(JAILER enters and gets down to unlock the chains
around BARABBAS’ ankles.)
THIEF 1 If this Jesus is innocent – why are people
. so set on killing Him?
THIEF 2 He must be a real threat to the leaders.
THIEF 1 He’s obviously being framed.
THIEF 2 That’s his problem. I think he sounds like
. a very stupid man - and therefore –
. deserves to die.
(JAILER gets the last of the chains unlocked.)
JAILER Your chains are off. You are a free man,
THIEF 2 (laughs) For now! Until next time! 4
. Unless you figure out how not to get caught –
THIEF 1 Or better yet, change your ways.
JAILER (to BARABBAS) Go on, what you waiting for?
. I promise you, this is not a trap.
BARABBAS I don’t understand.
JAILER (glibly) Sounds simple enough to me. Jesus
. will be taking your place on that cross.
(JAILER and BARABBAS exit. LIGHTS DIM.)