should be dressed in a Bible costume
or alternatively something that
denotes he has been a prisoner. You
may like to dim lights with just one
focusing on the character of Barabbas.
He should be contemplative in his
speech. Remember that the subject of
Jesus’ death is an important topic and
needs to be dealt with in a sensitive
and meaningful manner.
(Come onto stage
shaking head. Rolled up under
arm is a poster)
I still can’t
believe it. I mean, why did he do
it? Why did he take my place? (Shake
head again) It just doesn’t make
I guess I’d better
introduce myself. Barabbas is the
name. But I guess you probably know
that already from all the wanted
posters that have been plastered
around. (Show wanted poster)
(Boastful) I’m not
really the most popular man in these
parts. My band and I are rather
notorious actually. You may have
heard of the Jericho uprising. A
group of us held a protest rally
against the Roman occupation and it
turned it turned into quite a
scuffle. Well, I was the ringleader
in that one.
And the road
between Jerusalem and Jericho has not
been a safe place to travel ever since
my men and I took up residence there.
I’m sorry to say now that we were
responsible for quite a number of
robberies along that stretch of road.
Killed men once or twice, too. We
tried to just target those supporting
the Romans but nevertheless… (taper
off as if unable to continue
So I guess it’s
really no surprise that two of my
accomplices and I eventually got
caught. They threw the book at us –
said we deserved the very worst
punishment they could think of. So
they sentenced us to die on a cross –
a slow and agonizing death. A nail
through each hand, one in the feet and
left to hang until finally… yeah, well
I guess you get the picture.
It was decided that
this would all happen just before
Passover. Everybody was going to be
in town so it was a good time to show
them all what the authorities do to
rebels like us.
Well, on the day of
the execution the three of us were in
a holding cell near Pilate’s palace.
While we were there this new prisoner
was thrown in with us. He had been
treated quite badly – he had bruises
all over him from a pretty hefty
beating he had taken. I heard the
soldiers were responsible which
doesn’t surprise me.
It was quite ironic
but he was accused of leading an
uprising just like I was but he
certainly wasn’t like me. I could
tell just by looking at him that he
had never done anything wrong. There
was no way he was capable of doing any
of the rotten things I had done.
The most incredible
thing was that he didn’t speak a word
to defend himself – as if he was
resigned to taking whatever was
I had heard a bit
of the rabble outside so I began to
throw a few taunts myself. “If you
are indeed the Son of God, why don’t
you just burst your way out here? And
while you’re at it – let us out at the
same time,” I chortled. He didn’t
respond in any way but somehow it just
didn’t seem right to continue.
Seems though that
this man was causing quite a stir –
both Pilate and Herod seemed
unconvinced of his guilt – but the
crowd and most certainly the Sanhedrin
weren’t going to let him go easily.
I had heard the
roar of the crowd earlier as they let
up this chant of “Crucify Him!
Crucify Him!” You’d have thought it
was me outside – not him.
Eventually both he
and I were led out before the crowd.
It was Pilate’s custom on important
occasions to release a prisoner chosen
by the crowd, you see, and Pilate
wanted them to choose between us.
Well, it was a one
man contest as far as I was concerned
with me most definitely the loser.
There was no way, you’d think, they’d
let me out to roam the countryside
again and I guess that is what Pilate
thought too. But when he asked,
“Which of the two do you want me to
release to you?”, a unanimous roar of
“Barabbas” filled the streets below.
I was nearly knocked backwards by it
all – I just couldn’t believe it. I
mean, it was obvious who the guilty
one was and it certainly wasn’t him.
Then Pilate asked
the crowd, “What shall I do then, with
the one you call the King of the
they shouted back and there was no way
you could doubt their conviction.
So here I am –
released. And hanging on a cross
between my two mates is this man.
He’s there in my place. The nails
that should have been hammered into my
hands and feet were hammered into his.
And a sign “The King of the Jews”
placed where it should have said “King
of the Robbers”.
I can’t understand
it – I don’t think I ever will. It
certainly wasn’t fair but this man
Jesus died in my place.