I hope you have been enjoying this series of soliloquies from the Easter production that I wrote for my church some years ago. I have enjoyed editing and preparing them to share with you. It’s been good to remember how fond I had become of these various characters as they responded to the query “Were You There When They Crucified the Lord?” I hope they have spoken to the deepest needs in your life.
As I have said in previous posts, I’ve left the stage directions so that you can use them for your own production. Contact me if you’d like the intact script.
Lights: Down on Set B. Up on Set A
Sound: Kill sound on Set B. Live on Set A
Eighth Soliloquy: Soldier at the Cross, Set A
“Oh yes. I was there when they crucified the Lord. You see, I helped crucify Him. I noticed during His trial that He was different from other people we arrest. There was none of the loud protesting, the anger, the fear that you always see. There was such a quiet dignity about Him: Almost a regal quality. When they began bantering that He claimed to be the King of the Jews, I thought, ‘Yes, I can believe that!’ But I just kept my mouth shut and did my job. I work for the government, you know. We don’t get mixed up in local affairs. We follow orders: The orders of those that Caesar has put in authority over us. And so we stripped Him, and we laid the scourge across Him 39 times. I obeyed orders. I did my job, and I did it thoroughly, but it occurred to me that we were not punishing Him. He was submitting Himself to us. Somehow He seemed to be participating in something else going on, and somehow without understanding it, I was a part of His plan. That unnerved me. Who was in charge here, anyway? I had the feeling that I was not the only one becoming uncomfortable. Pontius Pilate seemed to be trying to get the whole mess to go away when the Jews that were behind His arrest claimed that we had to carry out the death penalty because they had a law requiring death for anyone claiming to be the Son of God. And that is what Jesus had done. When Pilate questioned Jesus about His kingdom and His authority, He did not deny that He was something more than a mere mortal. Later after nailing Him to the cross and setting Him there between two common thieves screaming vulgarities, I watched as one of the thieves seemed to also be struck with His ethereal qualities. I heard the thief call out ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ And I clearly heard Jesus reply ‘I tell you the truth, before this day is over you will be with me in my father’s kingdom.’ I was still watching a few hours later when Jesus looked up into the heavens and asked for forgiveness for ME. He pleaded on my behalf that I was acting out of ignorance. I knew then that He was indeed the Son of God. I knew that somehow His authority over me was greater than the government’s, greater than Caesar’s. It was no longer good enough for me to ‘do my job.’ I could never again hide behind ‘my orders.’ I saw my own guilt, and I was heartbroken. After helping His followers take His body off the cross, I watched them as they staggered away. My squad was hurrying back to the Antonion Fortress to get back in time for evening mess, and I wondered where I should go. I looked down at the sword and the shield I’d lain in the dust, and I knew I couldn’t go back to my regiment, but as I watched the little band of Jews struggling down the rocky path with His body, I knew I couldn’t follow them either. I couldn’t become a Jew. Where was I to go? What was to become of ME! Would Jesus find room in His kingdom for me as well?”