Crucifixion Monologues – written by Captain Heather Richardson
Before each monologue, have someone sing, acapella, a verse of “Were you there when they crucified my Lord”.
Monologue #1 – Peter
Preface (sung acapella): “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?...”
I wasn’t there when He died on the cross. I thought I would be --- I thought that I was ready to die with Him --- but I wasn’t. I don’t know how I could have been so stupid, but I wasn’t there. I feel like I am the one who condemned Him to die. He’s going to die, and I am the one who put Him there. I did it. Jesus predicted it, and I did it!
But let me back up a little bit for you. Let me take you back to yesterday evening. Here we are, sitting down to a meal, not really knowing that it would be our last meal with Jesus, and He starts to tell us that the time has come, that one of us will betray Him. Well, as you can imagine, we were all pretty shocked at this statement, and started to question Jesus as to whom it would be. But He said nothing more about it; just that one of us would betray Him. Then, He breaks bread with us. I can’t tell you how confused we all were. But, that’s not all. The story continues, and Jesus confuses us further.
Pause. After Judas left, Jesus told us that we would all fall away. He said…
Voice: “You will all fall away for it is written ‘I will strike the sheep like the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’”
Pause. Well, I wasn’t too happy that Jesus had so little faith in us, especially in me. After all, I had been with Him since the beginning, since He started preaching three years ago. So, I swore to Him that I would stick by Him, no matter what. I said, “Even if everyone else turns their back on You, I will stick by You.” I can’t even describe how hurt I was by what Jesus said next. He said ---
Voice: “Sad thing is, by the time the rooster crows, you’ll have sworn that you don’t know Me; not once, not twice, but three times.” ---
Of course, fool that I am, I didn’t believe Him. Why should I? I knew my heart --- or so I thought.
Pause. But what Jesus predicted came true. When He was arrested, we all fled, like the cowards we turned out to be. Now, I decided to follow behind, at a distance, so as not to be noticed by the crowd. Then, people started coming up to me and questioning me. I wanted to be faithful to Jesus, I really did. My spirit was willing, but my flesh was weak. I got scared, scared for my own life. I said, “I don’t know what you are talking about. I don’t know Him.” The words just seemed to come out of my mouth, like my inside voice suddenly became my outside voice. Then, it happened again. Someone challenged me as to knowing Jesus, and I denied Him, again. When it came down to the crunch, I denied knowing Him, not once, not twice, but three times. And, as soon as that third time happened, the rooster crowed. And I knew immediately that Jesus was talking about me. I betrayed Him. Not literally, by turning Him over to the authorities, like Judas did, but I betrayed Him. How, you might ask? I betrayed Him publicly, to the crowd of people standing around, and in my heart.
So, when Jesus died on the cross, I was not there. I was ashamed, ashamed of my weakness and failure; ashamed that I could betray the One that I had dedicated my life to, the One who had loved me beyond anything that I ever knew in my life before. I wish that I had been stronger, and now I pray that, “Knowing my failings, knowing my fears, seeing my sorrow, drying my tears. Jesus, recall me, me re-ordain; You know that I love You, please, use me again.”
Monologue #2: Thief
Preface (sung acapella): “Were you there when they nailed Him to the tree?...”
I was there when He died on the cross. I couldn’t have gotten any closer. I had a front row seat for when the Messiah, the Saviour of the world, died on the cross. You see, I was hanging there right beside Him. I was crucified next to Him.
Pause. You see, I deserved to be there. Not that I thought so when they first put me there, but I did deserve to be there. I am a thief, a murderer, who has committed crimes that warrant me being on the cross. But Jesus, I really don’t see what He did wrong. If anything, He did it all right. He was the One that got it right, and yet, He hung next to me.
Pause. I had no destiny in my life. Maybe I shouldn’t say that. Maybe I should say rather that my destiny in life had brought me to that place at that time. I had no sense of duty in my life. Or should I say I had a sense of duty to myself, but not to the world around. So, I stole things, and I ended up killing someone in order to steal what I wanted. I placed no real value on human life. It didn’t really matter to me as long as I got the material goods I thought that I deserved. If there was anyone truly worthless in life, I was one who was. If anyone deserved dying on the cross for what they have done, I did.
Well, my friend was hanging on the other side of Jesus. And, at first we both made fun of Him. It seemed fun to do. After all, He was suffering the same fate that my friend and I were suffering, and yet, He claimed to be something more. He said that He was the Messiah, the One who had come to save the world. Yet, He didn’t overthrow Roman rule of Israel. He didn’t become a political powerhouse that would have led the people in a revolt against those that oppressed Israel.
So, in the beginning, I joined in. But then, something inside me changed. I felt ashamed to be making fun of this Man, whose only crime, if you could say that He had one, was to challenge the Pharisees in what they believed. I felt that we were in the presence of someone more than a man; that the biggest mistake of my world was to nail that Man to a cross.
My friend, the other thief on the cross, did not have this change of heart. He went right on making fun of Jesus. I am sure that if he could have, he would have knelt in front of Jesus in mockery, like the Roman soldiers had done earlier. He said to Jesus, “Some Messiah You turned out to be! Why don’t you save yourself? And, while you’re at it, why don’t you save us also?”
At that point, I had had enough of making fun of this Man. He didn’t deserve to be there. I rebuked my friend for what He said to Jesus. I told him to shut up! I said, “Have you no fear of God? You’re getting the same punishment as Him, you know. We deserve to be here, but no Him, not Jesus --- He did nothing to deserve this.”
It was so out of character for me to speak out like that, to stand up for someone. I couldn’t believe those words were coming out of my mouth, and yet, as I said them, they felt so right. It was the proper thing to say. I shocked myself with what I said next, however. I said, “Jesus, remember me when You enter Your kingdom.” How could I ask this man to allow that? I couldn’t believe the boldness of my statement there. I deserved to go to hell. It was my destiny, the path that I took in life. But what He said to me, through gasping breath, was this -
Voice: “Don’t worry, I will. Today, you will join me in paradise.” –
Wow! What words to hear from the Messiah, God’s chosen representative! I was going to join Him in paradise! I deserved hell, there was no question about that, being the criminal that I was. I deserved it, but instead I got heaven. I was given entry into Paradise! I knew at that moment that I had never been in better company. I was in the presence of God! All I had left in this world was a prayer and a heart of repentance, but it was enough. Out of a life of sin and shame, I passed into a life of blessedness. Me, the thief and the murderer, hanging on the cross for the atrocities that I had done in my life, now gaining a life of eternal bliss in heaven. All I can do is thank God every day that I was hanging next to Jesus, that I was there when they nailed Him to the tree; that I was there when He died for me to gain entry into heaven. I was there when they crucified my Lord.
Optional: Have someone sing the song “Thief” (as recorded by Third Day), while a mime or a shadow mime of the crucifixion is played out, following this monologue. [Sheet music for this can be purchased at www.musicnotes.com] Listen to the piece at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYRqajT-pR0&feature=related
Monologue #3 – modern
Prelude (sung acapella): “Were you there when the sun refused to shine…”
“Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” I wasn’t there when they crucified my Lord. I didn’t stand at the foot of the cross when Christ was dying on it to look up at Him in wonder or in mockery. I wasn’t around to see Him whipped and beaten, tortured, and finally nailed to a cross where He was to die. I would have liked to have been there, but I wasn’t. I can picture the scene, though. I can imagine myself being there, in the center of all the action. I can see myself at the trial, at the flogging, at the cross on Calvary.
I can hear the mocking voices calling out, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” I can picture the people standing around the courtyard at Pilate’s Palace, not taking “no” for an answer.
“I’ll have him whipped and scourged, “ Pilate says, “and then I’ll release Him to you.” “No!” the people cry, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” And the worst thing about it is, I can hear my own voice calling out in mockery at Christ. I may not have been there physically when they crucified my Lord, but I have been with the mockery of the crowd many times. I stand here, before all of you, as a person who has spent time mocking the things of God. I am a person who has wasted years of committed service to God going my own way, doing my own thing. I am there, with the crowd, crying out “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”
Pause. I can see myself with Peter. Would I, if I were in Peter’s place, truly be able to stand up and say, “Yes, I know Him: I am one of His followers,” not even worrying about the consequences? I don’t think I would have been able. I can see the betrayal that I have caused my Lord, over and over again. “I don’t know what you’re talking about! I don’t know Him!”
Pause. I can see myself in the soldiers. I can see myself laughing at Him in mockery. I can see myself whipping Him over and over again. Most of all, I can see my hand picking up that hammer and driving those nails into His hands and feet. I did, as sure as the soldiers did it, I did it also. It is my fault that Jesus died on the cross. I have crucified my Lord, as surely as the hands that drove in those nails on the day that Christ hung on the cross.
I can see myself at the foot of the cross, I can hear Jesus cry out, --
Voice: “Father, don’t hold what they are doing against them --- wipe their slate clean. They’ve got no idea what’s going on here!”
I can hear Him when He talks to the crucified thief beside Him --- not the one who is carrying on and cursing right to the end, but the one who sees Jesus for who he really is. He sees the length to which God would go to save sinners.
That thief, dying in his own agony and shame, pain and sorrow for a wasted life, responds to the call of God. I can hear the sincerity in His voice when He asks Jesus to remember Him when Jesus enters His kingdom.
Amazing! Such faith in the midst of His own hellish death! The dying thief, in the midst of suffering the same fate as Jesus, with diminishing breath, speaks up and defends Jesus. A thief! Not a follower, not a disciple, a thief. He sees the love that Jesus has for the whole world, and speaks up to claim His portion. He lifts His eyes to Jesus, sees what has been missing from His life, and, even in death receives a pardon and is worthy of a place in paradise.
Pause. “Amazing Love, how can it be that You, my King, would die for me?” I am the one who put you there. I don’t understand how you could love me so much, that you would be willing to give up Your life for me. Like Peter, like those who mocked you, like the thief who received forgiveness on the cross, You died for me! Thank You, thank You, thank You.
Just as Christ died for me, He died for you. This amazing love that He showed for Peter, for those who mocked Him, for the thief, and for me, He shows to all of you as well. Isn’t that truly amazing love! And as He says ---
Voice: “Father, I place my life in Your hands.” ---
We can know that He would do anything for all of us here today. He loves us so much that He would have paid any price, done anything for all of us, for any one of us. That is true love, the love of God, just to be with us.
Optional: Have someone sing the song “Love song” by Third Day following this monologue. Listen to the piece here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7VSybuNWP4&feature=related Download guitar tabs for the piece at www.musicnotes.com