(A Readers' Theatre adaptation of a harmony of the Gospels. Prepared by E. Potter)
NARRATOR 1: After the Sabbath, at the dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. Mt. 28:1-4.
When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus' body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other
WOMEN: "Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?"
NARRATOR 1: But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
ANGEL: "Don't be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, 'He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.'"
NARRATOR 1 : While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground.
ANGELS: "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.'"
Then they remembered his words. Lk. 24:4-8
NARRATOR 2: While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. When the chief priests had met with the leaders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money.
PRIESTS: "You are to say, 'His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.' If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble."
NARRATOR 2: So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day. Mt. 28:11-15
NARRATOR 1: When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.
Lk. 24: 9,11
But Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus' head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)
NARRATOR 2: Then the disciples went back to their homes, but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus' body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
ANGELS: "Woman, why are you crying?"
MARY MAGDALENE: "They have taken my Lord away, and I don't know where they have put him."
NARRATOR 2: At this she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
JESUS: "Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?"
MARY MAGDALENE: "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him."
MARY MAGDALENE: "Teacher!"
JESUS: "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God'"
NARRATOR 2: Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news:
MARY MAGDALENE: "I have seen the Lord!"
NARRATOR 2: And she told them that he had said these things to her. Jn. 20:2-18
NARRATOR 1: While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them,
JESUS: "Peace be with you."
NARRATOR 1: They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost.
JESUS: "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have."
NARRATOR 1: When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them,
JESUS: "Do you have anything here to eat?"
NARRATOR 1: They gave him a piece of boiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.
JESUS: "This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms."
NARRATOR 1: Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.
JESUS: "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high." Lk. 24: 36-49
NARRATOR 2: Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came.
DISCIPLES: "We have seen the Lord!"
THOMAS: "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it."
NARRATOR 2: A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them.
JESUS: "Peace be with you!"
"Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe."
THOMAS: "My Lord and my God!"
JESUS: "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
NARRATOR 2: Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. Jn. 21: 24-31.
Copyright (c) 2017 Ellis Potter.