Congregational Palm Sunday Drama–Everybody plays a part

This is a fun and meaningful alternative service for Palm Sunday.

Palm Sunday Drama
Based on narratives in the Book of Luke—Chapters 19-23
Featuring the Congregation of First Presbyterian Church of Argenta

Narrator: When Jesus had come near Bethpage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples,

All: Here I am Lord, send me!

Jesus: Go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find a horse tied there

Children: Neigh, Neigh (best horse sounds)

Jesus: that has never been ridden. Bring me that horse.

Children: Neigh, Neigh

Jesus: If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just say, ‘The Lord needs it.'”

Children: Neigh, Neigh

Narrator: So those disciples went out and found things just as Jesus had said.

Children: Neigh, Neigh

Narrator: The disciples were just untying the horse, when its irate owner showed up. “What do you think you’re doing with our horse?”

All: The Lord needs it.

Narrator: “Really?” the owner asked. “The Lord needs my horse? Why didn’t you just say so?” So the disciples,

All: Here I am Lord, send me!

Narrator: Took the horse

Children: Neigh, Neigh

Narrator: …to Jesus, and after throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road.

(those who have pieces of cloth, toss them in the aisle)

Narrator: As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples

All: Here I am Lord, send me!

Narrator: …began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen,

Everyone sings:

Shout to the Lord (CCLI)

Narrator: Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him,

All: Hey, tell those people to be quiet!

Jesus: I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.

Sing: Shout to the North

Everyone may be seated. Please place all musical instruments under the pews until the end of the service.

Narrator: As Jesus approached the city and saw Jerusalem, he wept over it saying:

Jesus: If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.

Narrator: Every day he was teaching at the temple. But the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders among the people were trying to kill him. Yet they could not find any way to do it, because all the people hung on his words.

The religion scholars and high priests wanted to lynch him on the spot, but they were intimidated by public opinion. They knew the story was about them.

Watching for a chance to get him, they sent spies who posed as honest inquirers, hoping to trick him into saying something that would get him in trouble with the law. So they asked him, “Teacher, we know that you’re honest and straightforward when you teach, that you don’t pander to anyone but teach the way of God accurately. Tell us: Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

He knew they were laying for him and said, “Show me a coin. Now, this engraving, who does it look like and what does it say?”

“Caesar,” they said.

Jesus said, “Then give Caesar what is his and give God what is his.”

Narrator: Try as they might, they couldn’t trap him into saying anything incriminating. His answer caught them off guard and left them speechless. The Feast of Unleavened Bread, also called Passover, drew near. The high priests and religion scholars were looking for a way to do away with Jesus but, fearful of the people, they were also looking for a way to cover their tracks.
That’s when Satan entered Judas, the one called Iscariot. He was one of the Twelve. Leaving the others, he conferred with the high priests and the Temple guards about how he might betray Jesus to them. They couldn’t believe their good luck and agreed to pay him well. He gave them his word and started looking for a way to betray Jesus, but out of sight of the crowd.

Then later in the week… Judas betrayed Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. He betrayed Jesus with a kiss. When Jesus was arrested, a mob mentality came over the land and the people brought Jesus before Pilate.

All: This man is disrupting our way of life, forbidding us to pay taxes to the emperor, and saying that he himself is the Messiah, a king.

Pilate: Are you the king of the Jews?

Jesus: So you say

Pilate: I find no basis for an accusation against this man.

All: He’s a trouble maker! You gotta get rid of him!

Pilate: Is this man a Galilean?

All: Yes!

Pilate: Good! Then he’s Herod’s problem!

All: (Sung to the tune of London Bridge is Falling Down)

Pilate loves to pass the buck
Pass the buck
Pass the buck
Pilate loves to pass the buck
Good luck Herod!
(sung three times)

Narrator: When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had been wanting to see him for a long time, because he had heard about him and was hoping to see him perform some sign. So Herod asked all sorts of questions, but Jesus just wouldn’t answer.

All: (sung to the tune of Jesus Loves Me)

Jesus thinks he is the one
Feeding and healing everyone
Going around saying he’s God’s son
People think he is the One

Oh, King of the Jews
Oh, King of the Jews
Oh, King of the Jews
That’s who he thinks he is


Narrator: Even Herod with his soldiers mocked him; then he put an elegant robe on him, and sent him back to Pilate. Pilate then called together the chief priests, the leaders, and the people,

Pilate: I can’t get rid of this guy. I don’t know what to do. I have examined him in your presence and have not found this man guilty of any of your charges against him. Apparently Herod couldn’t either, because he sent this Jesus back to me. Clearly, this man has done nothing that merits a punishment of death! I will just have him flogged and released.

All: Down with Jesus! Release Barabbas!

Pilate: Really, you want Barabbas, the murderer to go free and to put this Jesus to death?

All: Crucify him! Crucify him!

Pilate: Why, what evil has he done?

All: Crucify him! Crucify him!

Pilate: As you wish. I wash my hands of the whole thing.

Narrator: He released the man they asked for—the murderer—and he handed over Jesus. As they led him away, the soldiers seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming from the country, and they laid the cross on him, and made him carry it behind Jesus. A great number of the people followed him, and among them were women who were wailing in sorrow.

Song: I Have Decided to Follow Jesus

Narrator: Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left.

Jesus: Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.

Left side: He saved others
Right Side: Let him save himself
All: If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!

Narrator: One of the criminals who were hanged there kept at Jesus, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God? We are getting what we deserve, but this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Jesus: Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise

I will Remember You (recorded music)

Narrator: It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two.

Jesus: Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.

Song: Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Please use and adapt to fit your context with attribution: Rev. Anne Russ, doubting