The Last Days
IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD
Scriptures For The Lectionary Speaking Choir
Use in a series of eight readings during an extended Good Friday
service or see options listed in Monday of Holy Week. Let the
seven readers sit together at one side of the chancel.
7 readers -- any combination of adults
1 = storyteller one
2 = storyteller two
3 = Jesus
4 = a soldier
5 = a woman
6 = Peter
7 = Pilate
1: After Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his
disciples across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a
garden, which he and his disciples entered.
2: Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because
Jesus often met there with his disciples. So Judas brought a
detachment of soldiers together with police from the chief
priests and the Pharisees, and they came there with lanterns and
torches and weapons.
3: Then Jesus, knowing all that was to happen to him, came
forward and asked them, "Whom are you looking for?"
4: They answered, "Jesus of Nazareth."
3: Jesus replied, "I am he."
2: Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. When Jesus
said to them, "I am he," they stepped back and fell to the
3: Again he asked them, "Whom are you looking for?"
4: And they said, "Jesus of Nazareth."
3: Jesus answered, "I told you that I am he. So if you are
looking for me, let these men go."
(Speak rather as an aside.)
1: This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken, "I did not
lose a single one of those whom you gave me."
2: Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high
priest's slave, and cut off his right ear. The slave's name was
3: Jesus said to Peter, "Put your sword back into its sheath. Am
I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?"
1: So the soldiers, their officer, and the Jewish police arrested
Jesus and bound him.
(1:) First they took him to Annas, who was the father-in-law of
Caiaphas, the high priest that year.
2: Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was
better to have one person die for the people.
1: Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Since that
disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into
the courtyard of the high priest, but Peter was standing outside
at the gate.
2: So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went
out, spoke to the woman who guarded the gate, and brought Peter
5: The woman said to Peter, "You are not also one of this man's
disciples, are you?"
6: He said, "I am not."
2: Now the slaves and the police had made a charcoal fire because
it was cold, and they were standing around it and warming
1: Peter also was standing with them and warming himself. Then
the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about
3: Jesus answered, "I have spoken openly to the world; I have
always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews
come together. I have said nothing in secret. Why do you ask me?
Ask those who heard what I said to them; they know what I said."
1: When he had said this, one of the police standing nearby
struck Jesus on the face, saying, "Is that how you answer the
3: Jesus answered, "If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the
wrong. But if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?"
1: Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.
2: Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They asked
him, "You are not also one of his disciples, are you?"
6: He denied it and said, "I am not." One of the slaves of the
high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off,
asked, "Did I not see you in the garden with him?"
1: Again Peter denied it, and at that moment the cock crowed.
1: Then they took Jesus from Caiaphas to Pilate's headquarters.
It was early in the morning. They themselves did not enter the
headquarters, so as to avoid ritual defilement and to be able to
eat the Passover.
7: So Pilate went out to them and said, "What accusation do you
bring against this man?"
1: They answered, "If this man were not a criminal, we would not
have handed him over to you."
7: Pilate said to them, "Take him yourselves and judge him
according to your law."
1: The Jews replied, "We are not permitted to put anyone to
(Speak words in parentheses rather as an aside.)
2: (This was to fulfill what Jesus had said when he indicated the
kind of death he was to die.)
7: Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus,
and asked him, "Are you the King of the Jews?"
3: Jesus answered, "Do you ask this on your own, or did others
tell you about me?"
7: Pilate replied, "I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the
chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?"
3: Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not from this world. If my
kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to
keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my
kingdom is not from here."
7: Pilate asked him, "So you are a king?"
3: Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this I was
born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the
truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice."
7: Pilate asked him, "What is truth?" After he had said this, he
went out to the Jews again and told them, "I find no case against
him. But you have a custom that I release someone for you at the
Passover. Do you want me to release for you the King of the
1: They shouted in reply, "Not this man, but Barabbas!"
2: Now Barabbas was a bandit.
1: Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. And the soldiers
wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they dressed
him in a purple robe.
2: They kept coming up to him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!"
and striking him on the face.
7: Pilate went out again and said to them, "Look, I am bringing
him out to you to let you know that I find no case against him."
2: So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple
7: Pilate said to them, "Here is the man!"
1: When the chief priests and the police saw him, they shouted,
"Crucify him! Crucify him!"
7: Pilate said to them, "Take him yourselves and crucify him! I
find no case against him."
1: The Jews answered him, "We have a law, and according to that
law he ought to die because he has claimed to be the Son of God."
7: Now when Pilate heard this, he was more afraid than ever. He
entered his headquarters again and asked Jesus, "Where are you
3: But Jesus gave him no answer.
7: Pilate therefore said to him, "Do you refuse to speak to me?
Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to
3: Jesus answered him, "You would have no power over me unless it
had been given you from above; therefore the one who handed me
over to you is guilty of a greater sin."
1: From then on Pilate tried to release him, but the Jews cried
out, "If you release this man, you are no friend of the emperor.
Everyone who claims to be a king sets himself against the
1: When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside and
sat on the judge's bench at a place called The Stone Pavement, or
in Hebrew Gabbatha. Now it was the day of Preparation for the
Passover; and it was about noon.
7: He said to the Jews, "Here is your King!"
1: They cried out, "Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!"
7: Pilate asked them, "Shall I crucify your King?"
2: The chief priests answered, "We have no king but the emperor."
1: Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.
1: So they took Jesus; and carrying the cross by himself, he went
out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is
called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two
others, one on either side, with Jesus between them.
2: Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross.
It read, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews." Many of the
Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was
crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in
Latin, and in Greek.
1: Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, "Do not
write, 'The King of the Jews,' but, 'This man said, I am King of
the Jews.' "
7: Pilate answered, "What I have written I have written."
2: When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes
and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier.
1: They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in
one piece from the top. So they said to one another, "Let us not
tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it."
(Speak words rather as an aside.)
2: This was to fulfill what the scripture says, "They divided my
clothes among themselves, and for my clothing they cast lots."
And that is what the soldiers did.
1: Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother,
and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary
3: When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved
standing beside her, he said to his mother, "Woman, here is your
son." Then he said to the disciple, "Here is your mother."
1: And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.
3: After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said
(Speak words in parentheses rather as an aside.)
1: (in order to fulfill the scripture),
3: "I am thirsty."
1: A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a
sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his
3: When Jesus had received the wine, he said, "It is finished."
1: Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
2: Since it was the day of Preparation, the Jews did not want the
bodies left on the crosses during the sabbath, especially because
that sabbath was a day of great solemnity.
1: So they asked Pilate to have the legs of the crucified men
broken and the bodies removed. Then the soldiers came and broke
the legs of the first and of the other who had been crucified
(1:) But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already
dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers
pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came
(Speak words in parentheses rather as an aside.)
2: (He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe.
His testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth.)
1: These things occurred so that the scripture might be
fulfilled, "None of his bones shall be broken." And again another
passage of scripture says, "They will look on the one whom they
2: After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of
Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked
Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus.
1: Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body.
2: Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came,
bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred
1: They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in
linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews.
2: Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified,
and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever
been laid. And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation,
and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.