Plymouth United Church of Christ

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Passion Narrative, Dramatic Reading based on the Gospel of Luke.
Written by Rev. David J. Huber

CHANCEL set with a small table by Jesus’ chair. Table should have a plate with a loaf of bread, plus a cup, and a pitcher of wine. Three chairs for other players, and pulpit off to the side for narrator.

At the beginning of worship

Entry Into Jerusalem
(Luke 19:29-38)

This entry drama is for four characters pathetically named One, Two, Three, and Four. One and Two live together in Jerusalem and they own a donkey. Three and Four are friends, family, neighbors, passersby, kings, Centurions... who knows. They can be whoever you want them to be. One and Two have palm branches in their hands (unless they need to hold scripts). For this presentation, they stood on the chancel among the chairs set up for the later narrative. This was written for children, so the language is easier and more contemporary than the later narrative style. Feel free to change as needed if you use this.

One: Wow! That was crazy!

Two: Yeah, pretty weird. But exciting!

Three: What happened?

One: Two guys came into town, and were sneaking around in our yard.

Two: They looked suspicious.

One: They looked like Galileans.

Two: And you know what they’re like!

One: So we watched, and by golly, you know what they did? They snuck over to the donkey!

Two: And untied it!

Four: No!

One: Yes!

Three: Really?

Two: Seriously!

Four: Unbelievable!

Two: Totally!

Three: Tried to steal it right under your noses. Idiots!

One: So I ran out to them. “Stop! What do you think you’re doing?!”

Two: That’s OUR donkey!

One: And you know what they said? They said, “The Lord needs it” and just kept untying it.

Four: “The Lord needs it”? What does that mean?

Two: We had no idea.

One: So we asked.

Two: And you know what he said?

One: He said that the Lord is a man named Jesus.

Three: The one that people have been talking about? That the Pharisees want to arrest?

Four: The one planning a rebellion?

Three: Who does miracles and talks about God?

Two: Yes, turns out that’s who they were getting the donkey for.

One: These guys were two of his disciples. Apparently he has a bunch of men and women following him around.

Two: They told us more about the things that Jesus has been doing and teaching.

One: Amazing.

Two: So we gave them the donkey.

Four: Why does a miracle worker need your donkey?

One: He needs it to ride. They said he was going to come in to Jerusalem today, riding the donkey to fulfill some prophecy. He’s coming to Jerusalem for the Passover.

Two: So we’re going to watch!

One: They said to bring palm branches with us. Here are some for you. [hand to three and four]

Two: And look! Here he comes! Let’s join in!

All: Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace on earth, and glory in the highest heaven!

[Opening hymn begins then – please wave branches, and guide/cajole people to march in procession around the sanctuary for the hymn]

[Then worship continues as normal, though abbreviated (and no sermon). The Passion Narrative is the final piece of worship, and ends in silence.]

The Narrative

The Last Supper
(Luke 22:14-22)

(JESUS and PETER take places during hymn)

Jesus: I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.

Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.


This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.


This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.

But see, the one who betrays me is with me, and his hand is on the table. For the Son of Man is going as it has been determined, but woe to that one by whom he is betrayed!

(PAUSE for a moment while disciples argue; look concerned and maybe even a bit annoyed)

Jesus: Do not argue with each other over who is going to betray me, or who is greatest among you. Have you learned nothing in your time with me? The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you; rather the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves.

For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.

You are those who have stood by me in my trials; and I confer on you, just as my Father has conferred on me, a kingdom, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (LOOKING AT PETER) Simon, Simon, listen! Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your own faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.

Peter: Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death!

Jesus: I tell you, Peter, the cock will not crow this day, until you have denied three times that you know me. (pause) When I sent you out without a purse, bag, or sandals, did you lack anything?

Peter: No, not a thing.

Jesus: But now, the one who has a purse must take it, and likewise a bag. And the one who has no sword must sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you, this scripture must be fulfilled in me, ‘And he was counted among the lawless’; and indeed, what is written about me is being fulfilled.

Peter: Lord, look, here are two swords.

Jesus: It is enough.

Betrayal and Arrest
(Luke 22:23-54)

(NARRATOR enters during hymn)

Narrator: After they sang some hymns after the meal, Jesus went to the Mount of Olives to pray, as was his custom. The disciples followed him.

Jesus: Pray that you may not come into the time of trial. Stay awake!


(quietly, as a prayer – ) Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.

Narrator: Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and gave him strength. In his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground. When he got up from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping because of grief.

Jesus: Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not come into the time of trial.

Narrator: While he was still speaking, suddenly a crowd came. The one called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them.

Jesus: Judas, is it with a kiss that you betray the Son of Man?

Narrator: One of the disciples struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear.

Jesus: No more of this!

Narrator: And he touched his ear and healed him.

Jesus: Have you come out with swords and clubs as if I were a bandit? When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness!

Narrator: Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house. Peter followed at a distance.

Peter’s Denial
(Luke 22:55-62)

Narrator: Wanting to warm himself, Peter sat amongst a group who had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard. Then a servant girl, seeing him in the firelight, stared at him for a time and recognized him. She said to the group that Peter was one of the men with Jesus.

Peter: Woman, I do not know him.

Narrator: A little later someone else, on seeing and recognizing him, said, “You also are one of them.”

Peter: Man, I am not!

Narrator: Then about an hour later still another insisted that Peter must have been with Jesus, because he is a Galilean.

Peter: Man, I do not know what you are talking about!

(sound effect: crowing)

Narrator: The Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered Jesus’ words,

[JESUS looks at Peter]

Peter: Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.

Narrator: And he went out and wept bitterly. (PETER EXITS)

Jesus on Trial
(Luke 22:63-23:23a)
Chief Priest

(during previous hymn, ENTER CHIEF PRIEST, sit on Red Chair. [PILATE comes in later]).

Narrator: Now the men who were holding Jesus began to mock him and beat him; they also blindfolded him and kept taunting him to prophesy.

They heaped many other insults on him. When day came, the assembly of the elders of the people, both chief priests and scribes, gathered together, and they brought him to their council in front of the Chief Priest.

Chief Priest: If you are the Messiah, tell us.

Jesus: If I tell you, you will not believe; and if I question you, you will not answer. But from now on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.

Chief Priest: Are you, then, the Son of God?

Jesus: You say that I am.

Chief Priest: What further testimony do we need? We have heard it ourselves from his own lips!

Narrator: Then the assembly rose as a body and brought Jesus before Pilate.

(PILATE enters with WIRELESS MIC and heads to KINGLY RED CHAIR. Once Pilate is in place, resume…)

Chief Priest: We found this man perverting our nation, forbidding us to pay taxes to the emperor, and saying that he himself is the Messiah, a king.

Pilate: Are you the king of the Jews?

Jesus: You say so.

Pilate: I find no basis for an accusation against this man.

Chief Priest: He stirs up the people by teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee where he began even to this place.

Pilate: This man is a Galilean, then?

Chief Priest: Yes.

Pilate: Then he is under jurisdiction of Herod Antipas, who is in Jerusalem this week for Passover. Send this man to him, and see what he would have us do.

Narrator: When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had been wanting to see him for a long time, because he had heard about him and was hoping to see him perform some sign. He questioned him at some length, but Jesus gave him no answer. The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehemently accusing him. Even Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him; then he put an elegant robe on him, and sent him back to Pilate. That same day Herod and Pilate became friends with each other; before this they had been enemies. Pilate then called together the chief priests, the leaders, and the people.

Pilate: You brought me this man as one who was perverting the people; and here I have examined him in your presence and have not found this man guilty of any of your charges against him. Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us. Indeed, he has done nothing to deserve death.

Narrator: Pilate was obliged to release someone for them at the Passover Festival. There was another prisoner, a man named Barabbas, who had been put in prison for an insurrection that had taken place in the city, and for murder.

(PILATE stands, faces congregation)

Pilate: Who would you have me release: the innocent man, Jesus, or the murderer Barabbas?

Congregation: Away with this fellow! Release Barabbas for us!

Pilate: What shall I do with this man Jesus?

Congregation: Crucify! Crucify him!

Pilate: Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no ground for the sentence of death; I will therefore have him flogged and then release him.

Congregation: Crucify him! Crucify him! Crucify him!

Pilate: Then let his blood be upon your heads, not mine. It will be done.

(EXIT PILATE and CHIEF PRIEST. CHIEF PRIEST blows out Christ Candle)

Jesus is Crucified
(Luke 23:23b-56)

Narrator: As they led Jesus away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming from the country, and they laid the cross on him, and made him carry it behind Jesus. A great number of the people followed him, and among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him.

Jesus: Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For the days are surely coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us’; and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?

Narrator: Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left.

Jesus: Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.

Narrator: And they cast lots to divide his clothing. The people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him to save himself.

Narrator: The soldiers also mocked him, coming up to offer him sour wine and tell him to save himself if he is a king of the Jews.

Narrator: There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.” One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him to save himself and them if he was the Messiah. But the other criminal rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” (pause) Then the criminal said to Jesus, “Remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Jesus: Truly I tell you; today you will be with me in Paradise.

Narrator: It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. And Jesus breathed his last.

Jesus: Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.

(NARRATOR sits. JESUS drops head for a slow count of 30-60, then rises and walks out. ACOLYTE eventually relights Christ Candle. Congregation exits quietly.)

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

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