27 January 1997

Carpenter: Act 4 - Last Supper

Scene 1: The Last Supper

(Mt 26:21-35; Jn 13:27-28)

Dim lights on stage right. Satan enters and waits.

Lights on stage left. Enter Jesus, disciples and townsfolk, all but Jesus carrying various items, including a table, chairs, and food. All are bantering cheerfully except for Jesus, who is silent. They take their places at the table, Jesus in the middle. All except Jesus prepare to stuff themselves. Eventually Peter notices that he is silent, and quiets the others down.

Jesus: Tonight, one of you will betray me.

Disciples various jumbled protests: Not I! Not I, Lord! Surely not I!

Jesus: One who is eating with me now will betray me. The Son of Man will die just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man. Far better for him if he had never been born.

Judas jumps to his feet in anger.

Jesus to Judas: What you are about to do, do quickly.

Judas starts to speak, but changes his mind. He runs to Satan, and they exit, stage right. After a moment of silence, Jesus picks up a wafer, raises it toward heaven, breaks it.

Jesus: Take and eat; this is my body. Passes the halves to either side to be passed around.

Takes a wooden cup, offers it toward heaven. Drink, all of you. This is my blood, which seals the covenant between God and his people, poured out to forgive the sins of many. Passes it around. I tell you now, I will not drink wine again until the day when I drink it with you in my Father's kingdom. Finish passing the cup.

Tonight all of you will desert me, for it is written, "I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered." But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.

Peter: Even if everyone else deserts you, I never will.

Jesus: I tell you the truth, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.

Peter: Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.

Scene 2: Gethsemane

(Mt 26:36-56; Mk 14:32-50; Lk 22:40-53)

Exit stage left, carrying table, all but Jesus, Peter, John, James.

Jesus: My soul is overwhelmed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me. Moves upstage, falls to his knees.

Abba, Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will. Returns to sleeping disciples.

Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour? The spirit is willing, but the body is weak. Moves away again.

My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done. Returns to disciples.

Simon, are you still sleeping? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. Moves away again, prays silently in anguish.

Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.

Judas, Pharisees, soldiers and townsfolk enter stage left, pushing past dazed disciples. Judas runs up to Jesus as if glad to see him.

Judas: Rabbi!

Judas grasps Jesus' arms and kisses him on the cheek. Jesus pushes him gently away.

Jesus: Judas, do you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?

Soldiers approach. Peter realizes what is happening, grabs a sword, and runs at them, shouting. Other disciples move to do likewise, as soldiers prepare to intercept.

Jesus: Put away your swords! The Scriptures must be fulfilled.

Disciples stop, uncertain, then scatter offstage in all directions.

to soldiers: Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs? Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour – when darkness reigns.

Soldiers roughly tie Jesus' hands and escort him offstage, stage right.

Scene 3: Centurion Report

Lights on stage left, off elsewhere. Enter Centurion, subdued.

Centurion: The Jewish high priests have arrested the one called Jesus of Nazareth, accusing him of blasphemy against their God and treason against Rome. They have found him guilty, and are bringing him here for execution, since they do not have the right to sentence a man to death.

Pilate: It has come to this, then. Is there any law we can use to justify killing him?

Centurion: No, my Lord. He has broken no law of Rome. But the Jews insist that he deserves death.

Pilate sighs: Very well. Have them bring the prisoner to me. I shall judge him myself.

Centurion bows and exits.

Scene 4: Peter's Denial

(Mt 26:69-75; Jn 18:25-27)

Lights on dimly. Townsfolk enter and mill about. Peter enters near a group resting stage right, and sits near them.

Girl 1 to Peter: You were with Jesus of Galilee!

Peter: I don't know what you're talking about. Rises and hurries off, stage left.

Girl 2 staring at Peter: This man was with Jesus of Nazareth!

Peter: I've never met the man!

Townsfolk 1: Didn't I see you with him in the olive grove?

Peter: I swear to God, I don't know him!

A rooster crows offstage. Peter runs off, bitterly weeping. Exeunt.

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