John 15: 1-9
an avant-garde two act play written by
Evelyn M. Wallace
All rights reserved
Cast of Characters
Agnostic (male by the name of Cleopas)
Believer (female friend of Cleopas)
Yeshua (male with an atypical appearance to Jesus)
Crowd (should include 11 males as disciples, among others)
Bartimaeus (male, blind )
Blind man at Siloam (male, blind)
Are we deserving of what Jesus did for us on the cross? According to scripture his torture and crucifixion and the blood he shed was to cover the sins of every person who has ever lived or will live on earth. It also stands to reason that if he died for everyone’s sins then we are all equally guilty and therefore responsible for his death. Even so, the scriptures say we are still precious to him. He died on that cross at Gethsemane to save us from going to Hell. God did not create Hell for us and He doesn’t want us to go there.
These simple facts indicate that we have value, we are irreplaceable and Jesus was willing to do whatever was necessary to save us. There is no greater love than that- whatever the world may offer as a substitute.
(Agnostic and Believer sit on wooden-slatted chairs, CS, back to back, both facing opposite close-up cameras, backs opposite each other. Inaudibly, they are talking, intense in conversation. Monitors above them are displaying their faces, straight on, giving the audience a duel viewpoint of watching and being looked at and talked to directly by characters.)
Monitors Switch to Brief Opening Video
13 second clip of Jesus being taken off the cross, 25 second clip of Jesus being laid, prepared, in the tomb, 30 second clip of stone being rolled over the mouth of the tomb. Monitors switch back to Agnostic and Believer, still onstage.
(Agnostic and Believer are leaned forward in their chairs now, still back to back and staring in opposite directions, but deep in conversation, as if face-to-face. Monitors now displaying as at Scene One.)
Cleopas: …so…Yeshua… said that a Kingdom of God exists- where?
Believer: Well, as I understand it, inside every believer, as well as Heaven ! I heard him say this in a conversation between him and Zacchaeus when Yeshua told him that he had received salvation !
Cleopas: Curious. (shaking his head) Indeed ! (pauses and raises his eyebrows) Are we talking about the same Zacchaeus?
Believer: Are you kidding? Haven’t you heard what Zacchaeus has been doing lately? He’s given away half of his estate ! Do you know how rich he was? Not only that, he’s giving back 400% what he’s overcharged from everyone last year ! That fiend has changed his ways! He goes around with a smile on his face now !
Cleopas: He’s gone mad!
Believer: Yeah, well (smiling broadly) …we haven’t found anyone willing to lock him up!
(Cameras zoom in close on Believer’s face and same on Agnostic’s face, showing clearly the distinction of emotional expressions between belief and unbelief. Then back to the previous angle. Some dialogue continues inaudibly for awhile.)
According to John 18:36 Jesus stated: “My Kingdom is not of this world. If My Kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My Kingdom is not from here.” He said this to Pilate who believed he had the power of life or death over him but this was merely his delusion. Jesus’ Kingdom was regained the day he took on the sins of this world, allowed himself to be nailed to the cross to send sin into hell and in so doing, regained the keys to hell itself. This, in effect, reversed the curse of death which occurred in the Garden of Eden so many years before. This man, who was no mere man, was about to become the King of the Universe because he overcame the world and then set it free.
Cleopas: If, as you say, Yeshua was the Son of God, why did he allow this deed to happen? As far as I can tell he was no different from the prophets ! Having the power of life and death would be too tempting not to use, in my estimation, so why did he allow himself to be crucified?
Believer: I’m not exactly sure… the centurions thought he would save himself but I heard him tell the Pharisees that he was the Son of God and that they would stand outside the Kingdom, weeping and gnashing their teeth upon seeing the prophets within and that he will say he doesn’t even know them ! Not to change the subject but on the road to Jerusalem, just outside Jericho, I heard him tell his disciples that this crucifixion would take place and that in three days from now he’ll be resurrected!
Cleopas: You’re telling me…. (with an incredulous look)
Believer: (nodding).. that he is going to come back to life again !
(The camera shifts to zoom on both characters faces, showing an even wider distinction in expressions from both. Monitors go off. Stage darkens.)
(With monitors back on, CS, Agnostic and Believer are in more relaxed sitting positions.)
Believer: All I’m saying is that Bartimaeus and Zacchaeus were equally deserving because of what Yeshua has done and that they asked for these changes to come to pass. It certainly wasn’t their works, obviously, it was their belief in him and what he did for all of us by being crucified.
Cleopas: Our good works and righteousness could never be rewarded if what you’re saying is true. If this is the teaching of a Rabbi….
Believer: That’s not what I’m saying at all. Think of Abraham. It was his faith alone that made him acceptable to God and remember that Isaiah said our righteousness made us look like the homeless to God. I remember Yeshua saying over and over again to all the people that he healed that it was their faith which brought their healing.
Cleopas: Where would that kind of faith come from? These are just ordinary people. It doesn’t make sense.
Believer: I can’t believe you’re even asking me that question! Everybody seems to have enormous faith for common everyday things, but ask a crippled man to believe he can walk again and he scoffs at you. Yeshua said, and I quote, “If your faith were only the size of a mustard seed, it would be enough to uproot a tree and send it hurtling into the sea!”
Cleopas: You’re asking me to have faith in someone I don’t believe in.
Believer: Yeshua said that he came into the world so that spiritually blind people would begin to see, and to prove to people with sight that they are blind. I personally saw him heal blind people! I believe in him because he literally did what he also meant! He was the most gifted person I have ever encountered but he was speaking further- I’m sure of it now. Even though we can inherit the Kingdom of God within ourselves there is a Kingdom we do not yet know. Because of Yeshua, I believe in miracles of all kinds and I’ve personally witnessed many miracles he has performed….
( Dialogue becomes inaudible again but a change has occurred. Cleopas now seems pensive and preoccupied. The believer is talking on and seems unaware of the changes taking place inside this man.)
Stage darkens, light comes up on small spot, SL, Jesus motions for Bartimaeus to come to him. Struggling with bedclothes, Bartimaeus flings off his blanket and runs to Jesus.
Yeshua: Bartimaeus, what do you want me to do for you?
Bartimaeus: Rabbi, I want to see! I want to see!
Yeshua: All right, you’re healed. Your faith has made it so!
(Jesus walks off stage out of the spotlight and Bartimaeus follows him, loudly praising him.)
(Stage darkens, again, and a grand pause occurs for about one minute.
Spotlight comes up, SR. Jesus and a blind man are standing, talking.)
Yeshua: (Turns as if talking to a crowd around him.) There is little time left before the night falls and all work will come to an end. As long as I’m here I will shed my light.
(The blind man has mud on his eyes. Jesus turns back to him.)
Go and wash in the pool of Siloam.
(Spotlight off. Stage is completely dark.)
In a simple parable of Matthew 25, Jesus illustrated the religious people of his day as eventually being divided into two groups. One group he referred to as sheep and the others to goats but their mission was equal and simple. This mission was to supply to all the needy and referred to these people as if they were himself. “I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to me.” Those who did this were his sheep but those who didn’t were like goats, stubbornly not helping. He was stating simply that the basic laws were still in effect. He hadn’t changed the course of the world but he had changed our ultimate destiny. We still had the choice between life and death. His sheep were those transformed by salvation and the goats were only clinging to hope and were unwilling to change their lives or the lives of others.
(Back to CS with the (now) agitated Agnostic and the Believer facing each other.)
Cleopas: Oh, yeah. That guy we saw talking to the crowd at Siloam. I remember ! You say he was born blind?
Believer: I was eavesdropping on the conversation the Pharisees had with the man’s parents. They confirmed that he was born blind! That’s when they started this business of ex-communicating people because they believe he’s the Messiah. Do you know what Jesus calls his believers? Sheep! He said not to worry about what would happen to him because -like sheep- we would know his voice because he is our shepherd!
(Believer’s face is now beaming!)
Cleopas: Sheep? Try more like lambs to the slaughter ! (red-faced) If he was so precious to you all, why did you allow him to be crucified? Why didn’t you speak up? You especially!
(Believer’s face sobers with the joy markedly doused. Then she drops her head, then buries it in her hands. For fifteen seconds there is nothing but silence. Finally she lifts up her head and speaks.)
(One monitor displays the Believer’s face, close up. Tears now stain her face.)
Believer: You’re right. I won’t make any excuses for myself but we are all equally responsible because it’s our sins he died to cancel. Pilate said he washed his hands of the whole sordid deed, and yet the truth is he couldn’t possibly do that and neither can I, you or anyone else. After all, it’s our sins he died to erase- and it was he who was without sin.
Cleopas: (Still angry.) Just imagine for one minute that someone you love deeply, turned on you with a weapon to kill you! How would you feel about that? You broke his heart ! (Suddenly, his face changes to pale.) Listen to me! (Gasping and incredulously shaking his head.) You’ve practically got me believing in all this !
Believer: Don’t you know that I was angry at myself, too? (Regaining composure. A silence ensues for some seconds.) Yeshua must really love us all to have endured this betrayal. I believe he could’ve saved himself, but he didn’t. He could have destroyed us, but he didn’t. Even as cowardly as we must seem, somehow we remained precious to him. I didn’t think this kind of love was possible.
Cleopas: Well, it’s difficult for me to believe that he would go through all that pain and suffering for me. I think of some of my own sins- all this time in my life I’ve never even thought about any of it- and I’ve done nothing to deserve him making such a sacrifice. I don’t think I would’ve asked anybody to do such a thing but he sacrificed himself- for me. He must’ve been an incredibly compassionate man and now he’s gone.
Believer: Listen to this, (holding a paper in hand) one of his disciples gave me this. He said that Yeshua said this and he wrote it down. “God discovered a real bargain- a pearl of great value- he gave his only son to purchase it.” We are his children, we are that pearl. We have value to him. What’s wrong?
Cleopas: Can’t I do something for it? I feel so worthless when I can’t recompense a kindness. There must be something I can do.
Believer: God is not like the world. This is not a negotiation. Look, God is the same today as he was yesterday and he’ll be the same on into eternity but we must change. He loves us, hasn’t he proven that? You only need to do what I’ve done. Just believe and lay down the burdens of your sin at the foot of the cross. You can’t shoulder your sins, anyway. To take up Jesus’ cross you must love as He does, then you’ll be free like he said he would set you free.
(Agnostic and Believer smile, then hug. Stage goes dark.)
(Cleopas and the Believer are walking to the village of Emmaus, deep in conversation as usual, when Yeshua is walking toward them going the other direction, towards Jerusalem. He crosses over and stops them.)
Yeshua: You seem to be in a deep discussion about something. What are you two so concerned about?
Cleopas: You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about the terrible things that happened there last week !
Yeshua: What things?
Believer: Yeshua, the Man from Nazareth was arrested and crucified.
Yeshua: What did he do?
Cleopas: He committed no crime as far as we can see. He was considered a heretic by the chief priests and our religious leaders, but he did miracles everywhere and was the best teacher we’ve ever had!
Believer: They handed Him over to the Roman government to crucify but we both (looks over at Cleopas) consider him to be the Messiah.
Cleopas: (In a hushed voice) Some women from our group were at his tomb early this morning. They told us His body is missing.
Believer: Angels were seen there, they told my friend Mary that Yeshua is alive!
Yeshua: Why are you all so slow in your hearts? All the prophets wrote in the scriptures has come true. It’s very clearly stated, even in the Torah that the Messiah would have to suffer before entering his time of glory. Didn’t you believe?
Cleopas and Believer: We believe, sir!
Cleopas: Sir, won’t you come with us all the way to Emmaus overnight? We’d love to have you over, and you can tell us more about the scriptures.
( Yeshua and the couple walk off stage. Stage darkens.)
(CS, three slatted wooden chairs sit in a semi-circle. Yeshua, Cleopas and Believer sit down. The stage is dark and there are separate spotlights on each chair. There is a table in the middle. They have a small meal before them.)
Yeshua: Dear heavenly Father, we give thanks for what we are about to receive. Let it bless our bodies and feed our souls. Amen! (Cleopas and the Believer say this also in unison.)
(Jesus breaks the bread. At the same moment that the two recognize Yeshua and suddenly reach out and call out to him, his spotlight goes out and he disappears.)
Cleopas and Believer: Lord, Yeshua!
Cleopas: (to Believer, excited) It was He! That man was our Lord and Saviour !
Believer: As we were walking along the road home, my heart felt so strange; I felt so warm inside the more he quoted scripture. It was him! It was him! Praise God, it was him! We can’t stay here!
Cleopas: Where are we going?
Believer: Can’t you see? He was headed towards Jerusalem when we met him. We’ve got to get back to Jerusalem now!
(Stage darkens suddenly.)
(Stage lights up completely. Cleopas and the Believer are walking along a road and see the disciples in the distance slightly separated from a huge crowd of people. They approach them hurriedly and with excitement.)
Cleopas: Peter! James!
James: Cleopas! The Lord has risen from the dead! Peter has seen him!
Cleopas and Believer: We’ve seen him too! He talked to us on the road to Emmaus!
Cleopas: Yeshua was going to have dinner with us and had said the blessing when he dis…
(Suddenly Yeshua appears in the midst of them.)
Yeshua: Cleopas! I’m so glad you could join us. (Looking all around him) You’re all afraid! Why? Why are you still doubting? Look at my hands and feet, Thomas! It is I ! (Turning to Peter) Do you have anything to eat?
(Someone hands Yeshua some broiled fish. As he sits down to eat it, all watch him with widened eyes. After a
time of fellowship with his disciples and the people he gives his final instructions.)
Yeshua: Remember all that I have said concerning the scriptures which refer to what you have witnessed these past three days. Please spread this gospel to all nations from Jerusalem. This will fulfill all the prophecies. There is forgiveness of sins to all who turn to me. Don’t tell anyone about these past few days until I send the Holy Spirit, so you will be filled with power from heaven when you speak the good news.
(Stage darkens, momentarily.)
Monitors switch to video:
(Yeshua touches the heads of all his disciples, blessing them. Then his ascension occurs with his arms stretched toward the heavens.)
(Onstage, all the people suddenly bow, many with heads up in spite of their worship, watching him ascend.)
(Cleopas and Believer are walking back on the road to Emmaus again. They have four other companions with them and they are talking intensely- although inaudibly to the audience. Their eyes sparkle, they are gesticulating, leaping ahead in an animated way and their new companions are enthralled with their words. A song is playing: You Call Me Yours by Christi Sutherland.)
Just the Beginning
(Author’s Note: I will make special arrangements with any pastor or church performance director
interested in using this play. Please send me a private message for requests. There are additional
notes available for any producer of this play for instruction purposes. Thank you for your interest.)
Written by Evelyn M. Wallace
All Rights Reserved by author
You are mine Lord, make me thine. – Anonymous
The Castle Lady sometimes fulfills the role of Knight but is always a lady !