Each year all of the churches in town walk through to the town square and have a short act of remembrance on Good Friday. Last year I had no idea what they were expecting. I put on a Death Row shirt and slung a giant wooden crucifix over my shoulders and carried it at the front of the procession. This year they asked me to do some form of bible reading in the Town Square when we get there. It is a public performance really. I suppose I’ll put on the convict outfit and hold a life-size cross whilst I do it this year. I have rewritten John 19 (abridged) based upon The Message. Please bear in mind that many of the phrases are easy to say in a broadish Yorkshire accent as I use the tools I’ve got. Also, the bold parts will be practiced with a baying mob so that they don’t all shout them in unison.
The Trial (based upon John 19)
Pontius Pilate was the man responsible for governing Jerusalem. He’d had Jesus publicly whipped because he was a troublemaker. They were worried because too many people were following him. The soldiers who did it made a crown from thorns for him and rammed in down onto his head. They kept giving him grief. They had thrown a purple robe over him like he was royalty whilst shouting “Hail, King of the Jews!”. Then they kept slapped him in the face.
Pilate went to the baying mob and said to them, “I present him to you, but I want you to know that I don’t find him guilty. He hasn’t committed any crime.”
In a frenzy the crowd shouted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
But Pilate told them, “You take him. You crucify him. I find nothing wrong with him.”
Pilate did his best to pardon him, but the Jews shouted him down: “If you pardon this man, you’re no friend of Caesar’s. Anyone setting himself up as ‘king’ defies Caesar.”
When Pilate heard those words, he took Jesus outside into the square and sat down at the judgment seat. It was noon on the day everyone was preparing for the Passover festival.
Pilate said to the Jews, “Here is your king.”
They shouted back, “Kill him! Kill him! Crucify him!”
Pilate said, “You want me to crucify your king?”
The religious leaders answered, “We have no king except Caesar.”
At this Pilate caved in and sent him to be crucified.
They took Jesus away. Carrying his cross, they led him out of the city to the place they called Skull Hill. Here they nailed him up, they crucified him with two criminals, one on each side and Jesus in the middle.
Pilate wrote a sign and had it nailed to the cross. It read:
Jesus the Nazarene
the king of the Jews.