The Resurrection
 
by Nancy Hedrick Harper
 
 


CHARACTERS

Jesus, Angel, First Guard, Second Guard, Mary, Salome, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Caiaphas, John, Peter

Congregation sings Christ Arose

As soon as hymn ends, lights are turned off.

Stage is dimly lighted, and tomb is visible, with guards sitting in front of it. There is a tremendous noise and a trembling of properties on the stage. An ANGEL appears on stage and rolls stone away from tomb, and then goes and sits in tomb. A bright light shines on ANGEL as he walks about stage. Guards are very frightened, and fall to ground. After a few seconds, they rally.





First Guard

(very frightened) What was that noise? (Pointing to ANGEL) And WHAT is THAT?

Second Guard

(Shaking in his shoes) I-I-I d-d-don't know. Let's get out of here. (They exit hurriedly.)

A Group of Women enter slowly, talking among themselves. Women may enter from rear of church or audience.

Mary

It's the least we can do for Him - to anoint His body with spices.

Salome

I just wish we could've done it on the evening of His death. It would have been so much better then. I know Joseph and Nicodemus prepared His body for burial, but I want to do something for Him, too.

Mary Magdalene

How are we going to get along without our Lord? It's so unfair.

Joanna

I know how you feel, but right now I'm wondering how we'll get the stone away from the tomb. It will be much too heavy for us to move.

Salome

Maybe together the four of us can roll it away.

Mary

Don't be foolish, Salome. That stone is much too heavy for us to move.

Mary Magdalene

(Astounded) Look! The stone is rolled away. Who could have done that?

Women all run to tomb and then stop in shock and fear.

Mary Magdalene

He's not here! Someone has stolen His body and taken it away! (She begins to sob.)

The Angel appears and the women are terrified.

Mary

Look!

Angel

Do not be afraid. I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified, but He is not here. He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him.

Mary Magdalene

I don't understand. How can this be? I watched as they nailed Him to the cross, and I saw Him die. I saw them take Him down, and place Him in the tomb. My Lord is dead. How can you say that He's alive?

Angel

(Patiently) It's true. He is risen. Go, tell the disciples.

Mary, Salome, Joanna

(Joyously) He's alive! He is risen. Come, Mary, let's go.

The three women go, praising God, and shouting He's alive! Mary Magdalene follows behind. 

The four women exit.

The two guards enter --followed by Caiaphas

First Guard

I tell you, it happened just as we said. There was an earthquake, and then we saw a man all dressed in white, and his face was all lit up like lightning or something.

Second Guard

And he came and rolled away the stone, and the tomb was empty!

Caiaphas

You two are just imagining all of this. You probably had a bad dream. Either that or you're both drunk.

First Guard

We are NOT drunk. Surely you can tell that by looking at us.

Caiaphas

Then it must have been a dream.

Second Guard

But the tomb is empty. The body is gone, I tell you!

Caiaphas

If the tomb is empty, his disciples must have stolen his body while you slept. He predicted that He'd rise again on the third day. So they have stolen the body so they can claim that He's come back to life.

First Guard

Maybe he did come back to life.

Caiaphas

That's absurd. The council has discussed this matter, and there is no way that can be possible. (Draws out bag of money from his cloak) Here. You two take this money, and tell everyone that the disciples stole His body while you slept.

Second Guard

But how do you explain the man in white - the angel?

Caiaphas

That was just part of your dream.

Second Guard

But we weren't asleep. We had the night watch, and we did not go to sleep.

Caiaphas

Of course you did. That's how the disciples were able to steal the body.

Second Guard

But we would be in serious trouble if we went to sleep during our watch.

Caiaphas

Don't worry about that. The council and I will see to it that nothing happens to you. Just tell everyone that the disciples came during the night and stole him away while you were sleeping. And forget all about the angel you THINK you saw. The disciples rolled the stone away when they took the body. Now get going. (The three men exit.)

The women re-enter and meet Peter and John.

Mary Magdalene

Oh, Peter, they have taken the Lord away from the tomb, and I do not know where they have lain Him.

Mary

He is risen. The angel said so.

Salome

Mary's right. That's what the angel said.

Mary Magdalene

But it can't be so.

Peter

(To John) Let's go see for ourselves. (They start walking toward tomb.)

Joanna

Come, Mary, let's go tell the other disciples.

Mary Magdalene

No, I can't. I'm going with Peter and John. You all go ahead. (She follows Peter and John. Other three women exit.)

(Peter and John run to tomb. John gets to tomb first, and stops outside and looks in. Peter comes up behind and goes on into tomb.)

Peter

Look, John! Here are the linen cloths He was wrapped in. (Picks up handkerchief from around

His head) And look! Here's the handkerchief from around His head. He's not here!

John

He is indeed alive! He has risen from the dead! Hallelujah! He's alive! Praise God.

Let's go tell the others, Peter. (THEY leave.)

Mary Magdalene

(She stands outside the tomb, weeping. Then she turns around and sees Jesus, but she does not recognize Him.)

Jesus

Woman, why are you crying? Whom are you seeking?

Mary Magdalene

Sir, are you the gardener? If You have carried my Lord away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.

Jesus

Mary!

Mary Magdalene

Rab-boni! (She falls at His feet to worship Him.)

Jesus

Don't cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go to my brothers and tell them, I ascend to my Father and your Father, my God and your God.

Mary Magdalene

Do I have to go? I'd like to just stay here with you.

Jesus

Yes, Mary. You must go and tell the others so they will believe. Tell them you have seen me, and I'm alive. I have risen from the dead.

Mary runs away, and Jesus disappears.

Peter appears on stage and sings He's Alive by Don Francisco

OPTIONAL ENDING:

After Peter's song, the women and the disciples walk back through the aisle of church, shouting HE's ALIVE. Praise God! Hallelujah! HE IS RISEN!

Copyright 1998 Nancy Hedrick Harper

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