INQUIRY INTO THE REMOVAL OF THE BODY OF
JESUS OF NAZARETH
Ref: MATT 27:62 -66 and 28:11 - 15
Malchus, - A servant of the Jewish High Priest
Pontius Pilate - Governor of Judea
Simon - A Cyrenian
A Centurion of the Roman Army
MALCHUS the servant of the Jewish high priest.
Q1 You are Malchus - the servant of the Jewish high priest?
A I am.
Q2 A few questions, Malchus, about the arrest of Jesus. Was he betrayed by one of his own followers?
A Yes sir. Judas Iscariot - who committed suicide soon after Jesus died.
Q3 Had you heard your master talking of trapping this Jesus?
A I heard something but I wasn’t sure. He and the Sanhedrin kept it between themselves.
Q4 Please tell us what happened at the garden of Gethsemane?
A My master asked me to take Jesus by the arm. Before I even moved - one of Jesus’ followers drew his sword and swung at me. If I had not ducked, he would have cut me in half. As it was - he cut off my ear.
Q5 It seems healthy now. Can you tell us why that is?
A Yes, er - Jesus reached down and healed it, there and then. I don’t know how - but all I know was that my ear was replaced and the pain was gone.
Q6 So, do you believe that this Jesus is who he claims to be?
A I don’t know – I’m so confused
Barrister: THAT IS ALL - YOU MAY STEP DOWN
Second Witness –
GOVERNOR PONTIUS PILATE
Q1 You are Pontius Pilate, Governor of the province of Judea?
A I am.
Q2 On the night preceding the death of this man Jesus, did your wife warn you of the strange implications of this matter?
A Yes she did, she recounted a vivid she had the night before.
Q3 Did you think that was odd?
A Yes, considering she rarely interferes with my job.
Q4 Did you heed her warning?
A Well - yes and no. I mean - I went on with the matter cautiously because I did not want the blame put on me.
Q5 Could you not have let him go under your orders?
A Yes, but it was a delicate situation between Rome and the Jews.
Q6 At the crucifixion of this man Jesus, you nailed a sign to his cross saying he was the King of the Jews. Why did you do this?
A To answer my conscience.
Q7 So you had a nagging suspicion he was different?
A Well--------- yes.
Q8 That suspicion went right through to putting your own seal and guard on this man’s tomb, is that correct?
A Ah ---- yes it is.
Statement by barrister
It is claimed this same Jesus on whom you ordered a guard, has risen from the dead and appeared to his followers.
Q9 Can you explain this?
A If he did return to life(a scoff in the voice), he could not have moved the huge boulder at the entrance of the tomb, nor could any of his followers gotten past the guards.
Q10 But no-one can find his body. After an extensive search of the area, only his grave clothes were found in the tomb, folded. Where is he then?
A We don’t know
Q11 The huge boulder at the entrance of the tomb, who moved it? Did your guards move it?
A (in a slight angry tone)My guards are loyal to me,
I don’t know who moved it.
Q12 Would you say there are some strange unanswered questions to this matter?
A Yes - I would, and they will stay that way until more evidence is uncovered.
Barrister: THAT IS ALL GOVERNOR PILATE - YOU MAY STEP DOWN.
SIMON. A citizen of the city of Cyrene
Q1 Your name is Simon and you come from the city of Cyrene, is that correct?
A Yes it is.
Q2 Tell us sir, in your own words, how you became involved in this matter?
A I had travelled to Jerusalem from Cyrene for the great feasts, and saw that many people lined the streets, I thought it must be a special procession for some reason. So I decided to go through the alley ways of the city to avoid the crowd. My route took me close to the crowd and my curiosity took the better of me and I ventured closer to see.
Q3 By Roman records, which are very accurate, you were pressed into carrying Jesus cross, were you not?
A That is true. Just as I arrived at the scene, the reason for the crowd became clear .There was this man or criminal, being led up to be crucified. In the crowd I was pushed to the front, and tried to get back through them but found it impossible to. The man stopped and fell in front of me. The soldier who was leading the man grabbed my arm and told me to carry the man’s cross.
Q4 What did the criminal look like?
A His back hardly had any flesh on it from beatings and whippings. His face was swollen to a pulp, it was hardly recognisable. They’d put a crown of thorns onto his head, he was bleeding from many parts of his body.
Q5 Would you say it looked especially hard on this man?
A Yes sir/ma’am. I have seen a few criminals crucified, there was hardly a mark on them. The soldiers let the heat of the sun do the work for them.
Q6 Can you tell us why you think this man Jesus is alive today?
A Sir/ma’am, when we reached Golgotha, the soldiers put the cross on the ground and laid the man on top of it. As they bound him, through his bulging face and the blood, his eyes met mine. It was a look that pierced my conscience. It was like his mind talking to mine. Somehow I knew he was innocent. As that thought dawned on me - he screamed, a sound I will never forget. The soldiers had driven 6 inch spikes through his wrists and ankles. One of this man’s followers told me who this man Jesus was. It was incredible, on the day of Pentecost, I heard his followers speak in languages other than their own, and I heard one of them speak in my language. Telling of the wonderful works of God -------- and that Jesus Christ was the prophesied messiah..This same follower also, in my own language, said that this Jesus was the Son of God. I ----
(Interrupted in mid sentence)
Barrister: THAT IS ALL SIMON, YOU MAY STEP DOWN.
A CENTURION of the Roman Army
Q1 You are a centurion of the Roman army?
A Yes I am.
Q2 As a representative of Rome, when did you first become aware of this man Jesus?
A Wherever he went crowds followed him. A number of times I had to send soldiers to break up a disturbance caused by his crowds. At one time, the crowd were ready to stone him but he walked straight through them.
Q3 Did you see him as a threat to peace in the area?
A Not really, however, we did keep an eye on his whereabouts, so as his crowds did not get too out of hand.
Q4 Did he bother you personally?
A No — I was there to keep the peace, not to involve myself in other peoples religious and cultural arguments
Q5 Could you tell us of his, Jesus that is, whereabouts before his crucifixion?
A Four days before we were notified of his open and empty tomb, we were told of a mob making their way to the Garden of Gethsemane. They took the man Jesus into custody. That same night he was before Governor Pilate, whom you have here.
Q6 Did you have any idea why they arrested Jesus?
A As I said before, many of the Jews were getting upset at his teachings and sayings. I assume it was for over stepping the Jewish law. Something like that anyway, the Jewish laws are quite different to ours.
Q7 Had you heard of the so-called miracles he performed?
A Um – yes, they were often sniggered at in the ranks.
Q8 Then you never witnessed any of them yourself?
A No, I never did.
Q9 Immediately before his death, did you, being highly ranked, hear any complaints from the people?
A I thought the trial was rather a rushed job. So I talked to some of the people and I found that they were divided, over the claims he made, to be their messiah.
Q10 So, What did you do?
A There was nothing I could do, just follow Governor Pilates orders. However, what I had heard stayed in my mind, the positive and negative, both sides of the story.
Q11 Being an unbiased observer, this had no bearing on your own life or beliefs, is this correct?
A Yes Sir/Ma’am
Q12 Could u please tell us in your own words, what actually happened at the crucifixion.
A As he, Jesus, was hanging thereon the cross, at the sixth hour the sky became overcast, almost as dark as night. Lightning flashed across the sky, it was eerie .I am not easily scared but this sent shivers down my back. Remembering the words I had heard from the people, what happened next completely changed my way of thinking. T he moment Jesus died the earth shook violently, some of the Jews called Jesus the Son of God - the Creator. It was as if creation rocked at the death of its creator. I just stood in fear and uttered “Truly this is the Son of God”
Barrister: There are no more Questions, you may step down.
Pastoral Leader of the congregation (A wrap up with words to this affect. Knowing the spirituality of their group.) You, the inquiry committee must judge for yourselves. Is Jesus of Nazareth, the messiah, as his followers claim or is he an impostor - and an enemy of the people as claimed by those who had him crucified? If he IS who he claims. What are the ramifications in you own life?.
the four witnesses
A Barrister to the the questions.
Witnesses can be waiting visible behind the rostrum or be called in by an usher.
Best performed on either Easter Sunday morning or evening.
NOTE: If a solid pulpit/rostrum is used. the answers to the Barristers questions can be attached to the top.