Good Friday always reminds me of a one man play I wrote and performed many years ago. The original performance was around 1988, I am not sure. Just a few years after coming back to the church.
Hopefully it will make sense to you. For me, it was a way I, as a young father, could understand the magnitude of God’s gift to me. How He allowed his son to suffer, for my sins, in a way that I would never allow to happen to my sons.
You are welcome to use this in any way to further God’s kingdom. I waive any usage rights to the script. If you do find use for it, just let me know what God did with it. That would really be encouraging.
This script is from my second performance in 1998
A Fathers Story
Could I have the fathers raise their hands.
Some time ago, I was at a friends house and on the tv they were telling a story about a man who had murdered members of a family. One of my friends, after hearing the story, said that if that had happened to his family, that he would kill the murderer. Now I do not consider my friend a violent man, but I was not surprised by what he said. In truth, I would have the same temptations and I would bet many of the fathers in this room would feel the same way. Every day we hear of hideous and cruel things that go on. And many times I’ve asked myself. What if that were my family, what if it were my child?
Many years ago, in an attempt to teach my children about Good Friday. I reenacted the crucifixion of Jesus. Laying my son down on a make shift cross, I tried to demonstrate what it could have been like. Short of actually physically hurting my child, I tried to show them the unjust and cruel death he allowed himself to suffer. I used my son to demonstrate the event, but by doing so I had the unusual experience of reliving the situation with my son. My son, what if it was my son?
And so we come to my presentation. I call it “A Fathers Story”. The setting is something that most parents have experienced. Sitting on the sidelines watching your child perform on the playing field. Football, baseball, soccer whatever. Questioning the ref and keeping an eye on the game. The game we are watching is the game of life and the ref is Mr. Justice, and we all know Justice is blind. The players are Pilate, Peter, Judas and myself. Oh, and this chair is for you and we are watching your son play the game.
A Fathers Story
Hi, is your son in the game?
So is mine. That’s mine backsliding into second.
Which one is your son?
The one in the parade riding the colt? Look at the people around him dancing and cheering at him. He must be very popular. Is he an athlete or hero or something?
A Messiah? Does that pay well?
So is he a good kid?
Perfect! My kids are pretty good but I wouldn’t call them perfect. He cleans up his room? Helps around the house? Does things the first time you tell him? Doesn’t disobey?
Really! Well that sounds like perfect to me, I gotta watch this kid.
Where is he now? Isn’t that him in the Temple? He’s teaching the people, and look at their faces. They are amazed at what he is saying, he must be very wise. You know that Temple is run by the priests and scribes, and they don’t care for competition. You should tell your son to be careful.
Oh, you have already.
Isn’t that one of his friends? Judas, talking to the priests? What’s he saying?
He’s betraying him! Ref! Can’t you see that? Unsportsmanlike conduct! You know, that ref doesn’t see a thing, you better warn your boy.
Oh, you have already.
Well he’s safe with his friends now. But I saw Judas leaving and I don’t trust him. Surely, his friends will stand by his side. See, the one called Peter said he would lay down his life for him. I like Peter, you can count on him. Anyway your watching, you’ll help him when he needs it.
He’s in the garden now, I can’t hear what he’s saying but he looks ill. You should call a time-out and let him rest.
What do you mean he’ll soon have his rest?
Oh no! Here comes the priests and Judas. I told you so. I told you Judas couldn’t be trusted and now look, your boy is under arrest. And you said you warned him. The ref isn’t catching any of this. I would pull your son out of the game, they’re cheating!
Oh look here comes Peter, he’ll save him. He’s talking to the guards now. See they recognize him as one of your sons friends. Watch this.
I can’t believe it, he denied even knowing him! He said he would die for him and now he won’t even admit knowing him.
Oh my, now he is with Caiaphas. It won’t take them long to manufacture something he’s guilty of. You better stop the game, these guys cheat and they play really rough.
Oh, they’re beating him They’re spitting in his face. I’ve seen enough! I can’t believe you’re not stopping this. That’s it, I’m gonna talk to the ref!
A Fathers Story
Prophesy! Prophesy! They said to the blindfolded Jesus as they beat him and spat in his face. Prophesy to us, you Messiah! Who is it that’s hitting you now?
Peter, a lot like all of us, promised so much. But when push came to shove, he couldn’t walk his talk. On Peters last opportunity to stand by Jesus, he began to curse and swear and vehemently denied knowing him in a loud voice. Upon that third denial, the cock crowed and Jesus turned and looked into the eyes of his disciple. Peter, remembering that Jesus had said he would deny him, was crushed and in his shame he ran off crying. I wonder how many of us would have done the same?
Judas, I wonder if Judas thought he was doing the right thing by betraying Jesus. Maybe he was so deluded by self righteousness he thought he was giving God a hand. Nevertheless, he returned to the priests admitting his sin in betraying an innocent man. Satan was now through with Judas, and without satan to blind him, Judas could clearly see what he had done. Realizing his part in this tragedy, Judas threw the money down and ran off in his shame, to hang himself.
Jesus was then taken to Pilate. The priests didn’t have the authority to execute Jesus, so they now needed to convince Pilate to complete their plan. The priests weren’t certain how to convince Pilate, so they accused Jesus of many things, from perverting the nation to refusing to pay taxes to Caesar. Jesus wouldn’t defend himself, but stood there quietly. A lamb going to the slaughter.
Pilate didn’t want to execute Jesus. He knew the priests were motivated by envy. Herod who also questioned Jesus found no guilt in him. Pilate’s wife told her husband not to harm him. She had had a dream and was convinced he was an innocent man.
So Pilate proposed to release Jesus as part of the Passover tradition. But the priests incited the crowd into calling for Barabbas, instead of Jesus. Pilate couldn’t believe it. This was the same crowd who a few days ago were dancing before him, singing Hosanna. So he then took Jesus’ case to the people asking them what he should do with him. The same crowd called for his crucifixion. Pilate couldn’t believe it, he told the crowd that Jesus was innocent. Perhaps if they saw him, surely they wouldn’t call for his crucifixion, if they saw him. So Pilate had Jesus beaten and then brought him out before the crowd dressed in a purple garment and a crown of thorns. Surely when they saw the innocent man beaten and humbled they would have mercy on him.
The priests cried out crucify him!
Pilate again spoke to the crowd asking them if he should crucify their king. The priests cried out, “We have no other king but Caesar, and if you don’t crucify him, you are no friend of Caesar!”
The priests had Pilate trapped and the crowd was turning into a riot. In disgust Pilate symbolically washed his hands of the situation, and told the crowd that his blood was on them. The crowd, that same crowd that cheered for him just days before, cried out “His blood be on us, and on our children.”
A Fathers Story
I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention or not, but the ref isn’t stopping the game and your boy is in a lot of trouble.
Don’t you see what they’re doing to him. Look! They’re beating him!
They’re spitting on him! Get him out of there!
They’re leading him away now. They’re planning on crucifying him. You know what that is! Surely you’re gonna stop them.
They’re laying him down now.
(HAMMER – the only sound effect I used was this one. A hammer against a slab of metal. People jumped out of their seats. It was great!)
Oh his hands. Stop them!
Please stop them!!
How can you let them do that? Don’t you love your son? What kind of father are you?
You’re not even looking at him. He’s calling for you!!
Why don’t you look?
A Fathers Story
Pilate got the last word.
On top of the cross he attached an inscription, in Hebrew, Greek and Latin.
This is Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.
The priests tried to get him to change it, but Pilate said, “What I have written, I have written.”
Fathers, I ask you when would you have pulled your son out of the game?
At the last supper?
When he was before Pilate?
Before his death on the cross?
Or would you have never sent him in the first place.
Whatever you chose, by your own standard of justice, that same standard we use to second guess God on a daily basis. We are not worthy of salvation. Because Jesus’ life never saved anyone. We are saved by his ultimate sacrifice, by his death.
If you deny Christ, after all he went through, after all his father allowed, there is no second chance. We will not humiliate his son a second time. Every knee will bend and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord.
To those of you who say to yourself, I believe in Christ as my Savior. Then I ask you this, are you denying him as your Lord? Do you deny him in your life styles? Do you deny him through your money? Do you deny him your time? Have you learned to ignore that quiet voice that calls you to action? The one that says to you, you could give a little more, that you could be serving in a ministry, that you should be attending Sunday school, that you should be attending a Bible study. Has that voice in you become nothing but a weak reminder of what you could be doing for your Savior?
If so, I have a challenge for you, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. The path to Christian maturity requires an effort on your part. You need to read and study and pray. You need to be obedient to the Lord’s calling in your life. How can we ignore Jesus’ calling to service, when he has already done so much for us?