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Summary: The repentant thief shares the agony of his last moments in crucifixion.
Style: Heavy drama.    Duration:  10min
Actors: 1M

Script 

 

The cross, the torment, the beatings...excruciating...unceasing. Please, let it all stop! I've never been one to beg, but I had no idea what torture—crucifixion––was really like. It’s a living hell. 

My lungs...I need air...I can't breathe. Only by pressing my body weight upon the nails in my feet can I suck in enough air to survive a little bit longer.

No one, no human, no animal...not even the worst criminal should be subjected to this horror.  The Roman soldiers are merciless. Every time my legs give out,  I can hardly lift myself up to gasp in air.  My arms are screaming from the weight of my body, and my chest heaves with heavy panting. My shoulders feel like they have pulled loose from their sockets—I am going in and out of consciousness.

Please, let it end.

Stupid! I let them catch me, it was my own fault. I could have escaped like countless times before.  I always prided myself on my ability to elude my would-be captors... I trained myself to be a shadow in the night. I took what did not belong to me. I prowled in the midnight hours...that was my work. I even stole just for pleasure, sending panic into the hearts of many. I admit, I was a crook, a criminal, a thief. Nothing was safe from my hands. I could be so very cold-blooded––but I was nowhere as pitiless as these savage Roman soldiers.

Why did I let my guard was down? One moment of carelessness, and they surrounded me. Eight to ten powerful  men—smashing my face to the dirt, kicking my head. They beat me unconscious. I woke to an unimaginable nightmare... excruciating pain racked my entire body and head. I thought sweat was pouring down my face, but it was my own blood. Terror gripped my soul.

Was it hours or days? I could not tell. The dark prison was dirty and damp... All around me, I smelled death. Then they came to my door. 

"Get up, come with us!" 

I couldn't resist. They pushed and prodded me like I was lamb being led to slaughter.

My god, I was being led to my death. 

They laughed and mocked as they pulled me from the cell. One yelled, "Scum, vermin! The world doesn't need the likes of you." More shoving and vicious abuse. If my hands hadn’t been tied, I would have taken three or four of them down. A game, this was entertainment to them.

They dragged me out of the pitch black and the blinding light of day pounded my vision like a thousand suns. At first I could not  see... but I didn't need to. I was going wherever they would lead me. My vision returned just in time to see three of them bring a splintery wooden beam toward me and hurl it upon my shoulders.

I would prefer that hideous, gruesome cell a thousand times over to where I am now. To this cross. I push up, drag in air. "Help me! Finish me!"

Again and again I’ve begged for mercy, but the soldiers only laugh.

When they raised me on my cross, the horrific impact seemed to displace every joint. Splinters gashed into my naked back. I screamed then. As I scream now, hours later.

How much more––?

"Steal something now, you vermin!"

I turn my head away from the mocking soldier, just enough to see two other men hanging on crosses. I recognized one—a thief like I am. The other man I didn't know.  A woman at the foot of his cross screamed again and again, "Jesus, Jesus, my beloved son...I love you...I love you!" Her pain seemed to rival ours.

I've heard that name. Jesus. I saw crowds following him in the market square. They said he was a good man and he even healed people. So why was he here, next to me?

 The other thief yelled at Jesus. "If you are the Christ, get yourself down from here...and us too! Should be no problem—if you are the king."

I ground out my words. "We deserve this punishment, he doesn't. He has done no wrong."

My eyes met Jesus’, and beneath his blood-stained, swollen face I saw something that silenced me. Love—I felt love. Could he be the Savior, could He really be the King of the Jews? Something deep within me screamed louder than thunder, He is the Lord of heaven and earth.

"Jesus…" I fought to steady my quavering voice. I had to say this! "Please remember me in your kingdom."

He pushed down upon the nails in His feet, drew breath "Son, today, you will be with me in paradise."

Love and hope welled up within me—more powerful than all of my pain and fear. And I knew. He spoke the truth.

Jesus saved me before my last breath

……………………………………………………..

© Michael Farley 2021, all rights reserved. This script may not be reproduced, translated or copied in any medium, including books, CDs and on the Internet, without written permission of the author.

This play may be performed free of charge, on the condition that copies are not sold for profit in any medium, nor any entrance fee charged. In exchange for free performance, the author would appreciate being notified of when and for what purpose the play is performed. He may be contacted at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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