Posted: Thu Sep 02, 2004 1:34 pm Post subject: 12 Monologues for Lord Supper Drama and I do not know where
IS IT I?
(Enters sanctuary and begins)
On the first day of the festival of the unleavened bread, the day the Lambs for the Passover meal were killed, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go to get the Passover meal ready for you?”
Then Jesus sent two of them with these instructions: “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house he enters, and say to the owner of the house: The teacher says, where is the room where the disciples and I will eat the Passover meal?” Then he will show you a large upstairs room, fixed up and furnished, where you will get everything ready for us.”
The disciples left, went to the city, and found everything just as Jesus had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal.
When it was evening, Jesus came with the twelve disciples. While they were at the table eating, Jesus said, “I tell you that one of you will betray me—one who is eating with me.”
The disciples were upset and began to ask him, one after the other, “Is it I Lord? Is it I?”
Leonardo ad Vinci, versatile genius of the Renaissance, was born in Vinci, Italy in 1452. Though he excelled in many fields, he is remembered today because of two wonderful paintings: The Mona Lisa and The Last Supper. In 1494, when Leonardo was 42, he was commissioned by the Duke of Milan to decorate the dining room of the Convent Church, which was the favorite shrine of the Duke’s young bride. As an appropriate theme for this dining room, the painter chose The Last Supper.
His painting was not intended to be a faithful reproduction of the original scene as it had taken place in 1st century Palestine, but as it might have taken place in 15th century Italy. He chose what he considered to be the most dramatic moment in the Last Supper. In this living dramatization, the 12 disciples speak their minds to themselves, to each other and to the Lord in light of the words, which they have just heard Jesus speak, “One of you will betray me.”
My name is Nathaniel, although I am sometimes called Bartholomew. Like many of the others, I am a fisherman. My home is in Cana of Galilee, where Jesus performed His first public miracle, turning water into wine at a wedding feast. I was a disciple of John the Baptizer, and it was John who introduced me to Jesus at Bethany beyond the Jordan. It was my friend Phillip who came to me and said, “We have found him of whom Moses in the law and the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of Joseph.”
I will never forget the question I put to Phillip that day. I said to him, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” I said it not in scorn, or because Nazareth was held in ill repute. But the town was such a little insignificant place that those of us familiar with her lanes and alleys wondered why God placed His anointed in her midst. However, be that as it may, Phillip simply replied, “Come and see.” When I saw Jesus, He said, “Behold, an Israelite in whom there is no guile.” “How do you know me?” I asked. He answered, “Before Phillip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”
In my country, when working mothers go into the fields, they place their little babies under the shade of the nearest fig tree. The large leaves shelter the babies from the hot rays of the sun. So the Master was actually telling me that He had known me since the day I was born. Then it was that I confessed my faith. “Rabbi,” I said, “You are the Son of God. You are the King of Israel.”
Since that time I have served Him as a disciple and as a chosen apostle. Together with the others, I have walked through the villages of Galilee, the towns of the Decapolis, and the streets of the Holy city, Jerusalem. And now, when He is instituting a ceremony that is to take the place of the Passover, He tells us that one of us is to betray Him. How can that be? How can a traitor be numbered among His closest friends? I keep asking myself,
“IS IT I LORD? IS IT I?
Like Zacchaeus, I am a tax collector. Some call me Levi, and others call me Matthew, the publican. When my character changed through my fellowship with Jesus, He changed my name as well. He called me one day when I was in my office collecting taxes. “Follow Me,” He said, and I rose and followed Him.
Later I gave Him a big feast in my home and many of His disciples and my business friends were present. It was a royal occasion for me to entertain Jesus and His disciples. When some of the Pharisees complained about Jesus eating with publicans and sinners, Jesus said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.” And He reminded them of the words of Hosea, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice”, adding those significant words of His own, For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
Since that day when I repented and followed Him, I have studied our scriptures closely and I am convinced that Jesus is the fulfillment of every prophecy about the coming Messiah, God’s anointed. I have listened carefully to His sermons. Some day, I hope to write a paper proving our sacred writings, and recording the heart of His sermon about the good news of the kingdom of God—the sermon He first delivered on the mountain in Galilee three years ago. It is a new Gospel; good news for all the world. And yet, He has just spoken bad news, tragic news, that one of us would betray Him. Who can it be? Will they suspect me because I was once a hated tax collector/ Do I suspect myself?
IS IT I, LORD? IS IT I?
JAMES, THE LESSOR
My name is James, but since many men bear that name, I am called James, the little, or James, the lesser, being lesser in size of other men of the same name. Since my fathers name was Alphaeus, I am sometimes known as James, the son of Alphaeus. Our family is a proud one, tracing its ancestry back to the tribe of Gad, one of the 12 sons of Jacob.
I will never forget the day I first saw the Master. I was passing down the road near the place where John was baptizing. I was curious to see what was going on, so I turned aside for a closer look. Then I saw Jesus asking John to baptize Him. John refused, but Jesus insisted.
After John had baptized the Lord, the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in the form of a dove, and we heard a voice from heaven saying, “This is my beloved Son, in who I am well pleased.”
Later, when Jesus called me to be one of His disciples, I followed Him. At the end of the first year of His public ministry, He chose me as one of the 12 apostles, and since that moment, I have walked with Him and talked with Him, stayed with Him and prayed with Him, trying to learn as much about Him and His heavenly Father as I could. And now, one of us is to betray Him. Surely it is madness to think that it could be! Surely the betrayer is out of his mind! But I keep asking myself,
IS IT I, LORD? IS IT I?
JAMES, BROTHER OF JOHN
I am James, the brother of John. I followed Jesus with my brother after He called us while we were mending our nets by the Sea of Galilee with our father, Zebedee, one day, almost three years ago. We were honored when Jesus wanted us to be His disciples, and were humbled when He chose both of us to be among His twelve disciples.
I was present in Peter’s home when Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law of her fever. Later, I was with Him ion the home of Jairus when Jesus raised his little daughter from the sleep of death. On the Mount of Transfiguration we saw Jesus talking with Moses and Elijah. Our mother, Salome, was quite ambitious on our behalf and urged us to press our claims upon Jesus.
In route to Jerusalem last week, we made this request of Him, “Teacher, grant us to sit one at your right and the other at your left when you come into your kingdom.” He replied, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink, or to be baptized with the baptism which I am to be baptized?” We said, “Lord, we are able.” Then He told us that we would surely drink His cup and be baptized with His baptism, but it was not in His power to grant the right and left hand in His kingdom.
The others were angry when they heard of our request. Jesus then reminded us that he who would be first must be the servant of all and He demonstrated His words by washing our feet just before supper. Once when people in a certain Samaritan village did not receive Jesus as we thought they should, we asked Him to call down fire from Heaven to destroy them. He rebuked us as only He could, and taught us that God’s way was one of love. And now, He who taught us the way of love is to be betrayed by one of those whom He loved. Who can it be? Why would one of us do such a thing? I keep thinking deep down inside my own heart,
IS IT I, LORD? IS IT I?
I AM Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, the man who first brought his own brother to the Lord. I am not a gifted man, but just an ordinary, average man, like any one of you. But I have tried to do what I could to serve the Master with the gifts and talents that I have.
The others call me Andrew, the bringer, because it seems that all I have ever done is bring someone else to Jesus. I brought my brother Peter to Jesus, and have gloried in the gradual transformation in his life. I found the little lad with the five loaves and two fish that day when Jesus fed the five thousand. And as I watched Him feed so many with so little, and as I saw everyone eat until they were filled, I was glad in my heart that I had brought the lad to the Lord.
And then, just recently, some Greeks came seeking the Master, and I was called in once more to bring the Greeks to Jesus. He must have seen something of value in me, which the others overlooked, because He selected me to be one of the twelve apostles. I have been very close to the Master ever since. We have shared many a triumph and many a tragedy. I know in my heart that He is truly “The Lamb of God”.
I may not have been in the inner circle like Peter, but I haven’t been in the outer circle either. I’ve been a friend and companion to my Lord. What greater gift could life afford a fisherman? And now one of us is to betray Him. It is unthinkable! Who could it be? Could it be Andrew, the bringer?
IS IT I, LORD? IS IT I?
All the others came from Galilee. My house is in the village of Kerioth in Judea. Hence, I am known as Judas of Kerioth, or Judas Iscariot, the only Judean in the group. (He holds up a bag of coins) The others must have had confidence in me because they elected me their treasurer. And Jesus surely must have believed in me because He chose me as one of the twelve. Despite what the others say behind my back, about my impatience and stinginess and ambition, He believed in me. If He hadn’t, He would have chosen someone else in my place. Some say that I have appropriated these funds for my own use, and that Jesus’ words about the love of money and greed were personally directed at me! Others keep reminding me that Jesus was referring to me when He said, “Did I choose you twelve and one of you as a devil?” Of course I complained when Mary washed His feet with that expensive perfume. I still think it was a waste of money. And if I conspired with the chief priest’s and if I have thirty pieces of silver on my person, that’s my affair. I believe in Jesus, but someone else has to force the issue, make Him assert Himself as God’s Messiah. He refuses to make a move. Well, I’ve made one! He hints that He knows what I’ve done. He said so when He washed my feet a few moments ago, and when we dipped our bread in the same dish. But I have my reasons. My soul isn’t as black as some think it is, nor is your soul as white! And what would you do if you were in my place and wanted Him to do something dramatic and startling to usher in His Kingdom? What would you do? And if you were in His place, what would you do? Should I ignore His remark, or, like the others, should I piously, self-righteously ask myself,
IS IT I, LORD? IS IT I?
My name is Philip. I came from Bethsaida in Galilee. While several of my friends and I were in Bethany listening to John the Baptist, Jesus called us to become His disciples, and all of us turned and followed Him. I went after my companion, Nathaniel, and was overjoyed when Jesus accepted him as a devoted follower. During these years of close fellowship with Jesus, my faith in God has become stronger and deeper. I remember so well, before He fed the five thousand with five loaves and two fish, asking Him and the others, “Where are we to buy the bread that all of these may eat?” Little did I know that Andrew was bringing a young lad and his lunch to Jesus. When the Greeks came to me and asked for an interview with the Master, I turned them over to Andrew who brought them to Jesus. I have always wanted to know more about the nature and person of God. When Jesus began to tell us that God was our Heavenly Father, it was almost beyond my understanding. However, as I have listened to the Master, I have grown to understand His words. In fact, I can almost say that, he who has seen Jesus, has seen the Father. Because everything that one wants to find in the Father, I have found in Jesus. And nothing I would not want to find in the Father have I found in Jesus. Now having seen the Father through Him, He shocks us by telling us there is a betrayer in our midst. Does the traitor not know that by betraying Jesus he is also betraying God? That in conspiring against Jesus, he is conspiring against God? Can one of our number be so blind? Who can it be? Can it be Philip?
IS IT I, LORD? IS IT I?
I am Thaddeus, one of the disciples whom Jesus called to be an apostle. Jesus chose twelve of us to become cornerstones of the new kingdom, just as the twelve tribes were the cornerstones of the old Jewish kingdom. I feel unworthy to be numbered among the apostles, but He selected me.
I well remember the day. After a night in prayer, He called us to Him and gave us authority over unclean spirits and the power to heal every kind of disease and infirmity. Then He commissioned us to go forth and preach that “The kingdom of Heaven is at hand”. He told us to be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves, since He was sending us forth as sheep in the midst of wolves. “It is enough,” He said. “That the disciple be like his teacher and the servant as his master.”
I was in Jerusalem when He gave the great invitation, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest unto your souls; for my yoke is easy and my burden in light.”
And now, He, who came to share men’s burdens, has a burden thrust upon him: the knowledge that one of us will betray Him. Which one of us can it be? Who is the traitor? The man we least expect? Or will all of us betray Him before the night is over? Philip and Peter? Judas or John? Maybe even Thaddeus….
IS IT I LORD? IS IT I?
I am Thomas, the twin, or Thomas called Didymus, which means, “twin”. While I do not look upon life with gloom and despondency, I usually demand proof before I believe. I want to see before committing myself. Yet I am not a man of doubt. Rather I feel sometimes that I am a man of daring. I recall the day when Mary and Martha sent word to the Lord that their brother, Lazarus, was dead. Jesus turned to us and said, “Let us go to him”. We knew of the growing opposition to Jesus and some of the apostles didn’t want to go to Bethany; they shrank from the unseen danger. Yet I remember how I spoke out and rebuked them all by saying, “Let us also go with Him that we may die with Him.”
Why do people remember my doubts and forget my daring? Remember the questions and overlook the affirmations? Remember my fear and forget my faith? I used to go fishing with some of the others and how well I remember the Beatitudes. He spoke on the Horns of Hattin during the first year of His public ministry. And I can almost see Him calming the winds on story Galilee and healing the sick, curing the diseased, opening the eyes of the blind, unstopping the ears of the deaf, cleansing the lepers and preaching the gospel to the poor. Yet opposition has developed and grown to white heat. His enemies are determined to destroy Him. Why? Because the God He reveals is a greater God than the petty little man-made deities they have enshrined upon the alters of their hearts and temples. He would bring us all up to God while His enemies would cut God down to their own size. He would make us God’s servants, while they would make God their servant.
And now, He says that even among us, the chosen twelve, there is a traitor! Is He speaking of me? Is He referring to me?
IS IT I, LORD? IS IT I?
After Jesus called Peter and Andrew to follow Him, He came to John, my brother James and me. We were in the boat nearby with our father, Zebedee, mending our nets. He called us, and we immediately left the boat and our father, and followed Him. Since that time, I have tried to understand Jesus by loving Him. Sometimes I believe that He is as much of God as will ever possess a human life; and at other times I am tempted to believe that HE is the God who existed prior to creation and will continue to exist even after the end of time and the consummation of the age; that He is the word of God that would speak to every person in every age for all time top come! Yet I love Him as a person, and He has returned my love. Sometimes He calls me “the beloved disciple”.
I have shared His trials as well as His hours of victory. I was there on the Mount of Transfiguration, and we beheld His glory! He nicknamed James and me “The sons of thunder”, yet we are not boisterous men, but quiet, hard workers, though at times we may be a bit impatient of those who reject Jesus. Peter and I completed the arrangements for the celebration of the Passover here in this upper room tonight, because He numbers us within His close, intimate, inner circle. It was to me that He told about His talk with Nicodemus when He spoke those wonderful words, “For God so love the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” Some day I want to write down some of His sayings and some of His many wonderful deeds, so others may read them and believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing they may have life in His name.
Yet, He just said that one of us one a betrayer. I cannot believe it. Yet it must be so, else He would not have said it. Who could it be? Surely not my brother, or Peter or Andrew. Could it be John, the beloved disciple?
IS IT I, LORD? IS IT I?
SIMON, THE ZEALOT
I am Simon the Zealot. Before Jesus called me, I belonged to a group of hotheaded, bloodthirsty revolutionaries known as the Zealots. We were all for armed rebellion against Rome. We believed in crushing our enemies under our heels and establishing the ancient glory that was Israel’s in the days of David and Solomon. Yet Jesus told us of another king of kingdom, the kingdom of the human heart when God reigns there supremely. Since I heard Him, I have changed my mind and also my allegiance. He has shown me that the conquest of the heart is the only true, sincere and lasting conquest. So I have given Him my highest loyalty and deepest devotion. I have, in military parlance, unconditionally and completely surrendered myself to Him, to think His thoughts, to love as He loves and whom He loves, to obey as He abbeys, to serve who He serves. This surrender has not imprisoned me; rather, it has set me free for the first time in my life. I am not afraid of Rome any longer. She is mighty but God is Almighty. And we will conquer her by outliving and out loving her in the name of the God whom Jesus has revealed to us; Jesus, whom we call our Savior and our Lord. Now the Master says that there is spiritual Roman among us; one who would attempt by force what can only be conquered by love. Who can he be? Matthew, the publican? The big fisherman or his brother? Or does He suspect me, since I am the only former zealot among us?
IS IT I LORD? IS IT I?
My brother Andrew and I were fishing on the Sea of Galilee one afternoon, casting our nets into the sea, when Jesus walked by and said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” We immediately left our nets and followed Him. Later He used our boat as a wayside pulpit from which to speak to the great multitudes that followed Him. One morning He said, “Simon, put out into the deep and let down your nets fro a catch.” I said, “Master, we have worked all night and have taken nothing. But at your word I will let down the nets.” We caught so many fish, we had to summon other nearby boats just to contain the catch. When we reached the shore, I fell at Jesus’ feet and cried out, “Depart from me, O Lord, for I am a sinful man.” But he told us that thereafter, we would be fishing for men. In fact, He even changed my name from Simon to Peter, which means The Rock. And when I confessed Him as the Christ, the Son of the Living God, near, Caesarea Philippi, He said, “On this rock will I build my church.” But a moment later, when I protested against His going to Jerusalem to suffer death at the hands of evil men, He rebuked me and said, “Get thee behind me Satan.” So, I am a mixture of good and evil, of Godliness and devilishness. But I want to prove to Him that my love and loyalty and devotion are sincere and genuine. Tonight when He said that one of us would betray Him, I promised to follow Him even unto death. But He warned me that before the cock crowed, I would have denied Him three times. Hw prayed for me because He said that Satan wanted me so he could sift me like wheat. Even thought the others call me the big fisherman, in His presence I feel small and unworthy. Will I deny Him tonight before the rooster crows? And if I do, what will He do? Will He disown me? Will He deny me? Will He close the doors of the kingdom to me? Was He referring to me when He said, “One of you will betray me”? If I knew who the scoundrel was, I’d pierce his heart with this knife I hold in my hand. But maybe it would be my own heart that I would pierce! God grant it may not be so. Yet I keep wondering and saying to myself,
IS IT I LORD? IS IT I?
Ray: “And as they did eat, Jesus took the bread and blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to them saying”….
Neal: “Take, eat, for this is my body which was given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
Ray: “And He took the cup, and when he had given thanks, He gave it to them; and they drank of it; And He said unto them…..
Neal: “This is my blood of the new covenant which is shed for you and for many. Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
Lord, IS IT I?
The bread is broken and the wine is poured,
And once more grim Golgotha’s hill is nigh.
By whom is Christ again denied, betrayed?
Or should we all cry out, Lord, Is it I?
A traitor kisses Him upon His cheek;
A fisherman unsheathes his sword nearby,
Did this take place two thousand years ago?
Or should we all cry out, Lord, is it I?
A crown of thorns is pressed upon His brow,
And, bearing His own cross, He goes to die.
Whose is the guilt, the everlasting shame?
Or should we all cry out, Lord, IS it I?
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