Three Religious Plays
Three Religious Plays – Script
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Three Religious Plays

Narratives of Barabbas’ Conversion, Participation in Worship, and Grief offer excellent opportunities for viewing, study, and discussion.

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Three Religious Plays

Narratives of Barabbas’ Conversion, Participation in Worship, and Grief offer excellent opportunities for viewing, study, and discussion.

Author:    Fredrick Saur


Narratives of Barabbas’ Conversion, Participation in Worship, and Grief offer excellent opportunities for viewing, study, and discussion.

Three Religious Plays

Three Religious Plays

(For Performance, Discussion, and Study)

1) That Woman Mary (Or Christ and Barabbas)

2) The Worship In Myself

3) To Know Love


Frederick L. Saur Copyright ©2003 by Fredrick Saur

All Rights Reserved

CAUTION: Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned that THREE RELIGIOUS PLAYS is fully protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America, the British Commonwealth, including Canada, and all other countries of the Copyright Union.  All rights, including professional, amateur, motion picture, recitation, lecturing, public reading, radio broadcasting, television, and the rights of translation into foreign language are strictly reserved. 

The amateur live stage performance rights to THREE RELIGIOUS PLAYS are controlled exclusively by Drama Source and royalty arrangements and licenses must be secured well in advance of presentation.  PLEASE NOTE that amateur royalty fees are set upon application in accordance with your producing circumstances.  When applying for a royalty quotation and license please give us the number of performances intended, dates of production, your seating capacity and the admission fee.  Royalties are payable one week before the opening performance of the play to Drama Source Co., 1588 E. 361 N., St. Anthony, Idaho 83445. 

Royalty of the required amount must be paid whether the play is presented for charity or gain, and whether or not admission is charged.  For all other rights than those stipulated above, apply to Drama Source Company, 1588 E. 361 N. St. Anthony, Idaho 83445.

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For Easter or Mother’s Day

By Frederick L. Saur

3 women, no set, Biblical costumes.  Running time: 15 minutes

THAT WOMAN MARY has been performed with the titles CHRIST AND BARABBAS, HEART TO HEART, and  JAEL, A MOTHER.    Another suggested title is A MOTHER’S LOVE.  It has been successfully used for a Mother’s Day worship service.


           Shortly after the crucifixion of Christ, Ruth, a woman of Nazareth, meets Jael, the mother of Barabbas, at the town well.  They discuss Jesus and his strange ways and talk about his mother, Mary.  Another neighbor, Rachel, joins them with questions about Jael’s son, Barabbas, who has just returned home after his release from prison.  Jael admits that Barabbas now seems different, gentler.  When she learns that Barabbas is talking with Mary, Jael hurries off.  Rachel and Ruth remain, discussing Jael and the problems that result from the Roman occupation.  Jael soon returns with the story of the resurrection and tells how Barabbas has changed.  The three women see Mary approaching and hurry off to meet her.



The mother of Barabbas, a matter-of-fact woman of hard speech.


A serene woman of quiet strength.


A neighbor with a slightly flippant manner.


The play takes place early in the morning either near the town well in Nazareth or at a spring where the women wash their clothes.  If near the town well, the only properties needed are a low bench, upon which the women may sit, and three large but not cumbersome pitchers or jugs.  If near the spring, the woman may carry on stage cloths in baskets which they pretend to be washing in the stream center stage.  The costumes should be simple draped robes such as those worn in Bible times.

This play may be staged in the chancel, a fellowship hall, or a classroom. It also may be effectively presented without costumes or scenery as a dramatic reading, with the actors casually referring to their scripts while concentrating on a forceful interpretation.  The play may be followed by a short commentary by the pastor or a layperson.


(JAEL enters left, carrying a heavy pitcher for water OR a basket of clothes to be washed.  She sighs, pauses, and sits.  Obviously disturbed, she rests her head in her hands.  RUTH enters right, also carrying a pitcher or basket of clothing.)

RUTH:  Good morning, Jael.

JAEAL:  Someone has been here earlier and slopped water all over the ground. It’s muddy.

RUTH:  It’s a cheerful morning, isn’t it?  The song of a bird awakened me at dawn.

JAEL:  I was awakened at dawn by my husband, grumbling for his breakfast.  A cheerful morning indeed!

RUTH:  Have you heard?  Mary, the mother of Jesus, has returned.

JAEL:  When?

RUTH:  Sometime during the night.  I’m not certain.

JAEL:  Have you talked with her?

RUTH:  No.  I heard that young man John – the friend of Jesus – singing in the garden, and I inquired.  The other Mary – the one they call Magdalene – returned with them.

JAEL:  The red-haired hussy who was Herod’s friend.

RUTH:  Yes, but don’t think of her as such.  They say she has changed much since…

JAEL:  Loose women never change.  You did not speak to Joseph’s widow?

RUTH:  No.  

(RUTH may kneel, remove a garment from her basket, and pretend to be washing it in the stream downstage center.  JAEL may join her, but her anger is evident in the manner in which she whips the clothing through the water.)

JAEL:  I want to see her, now that her son is dead.  I want to hear if her tongue still speaks of kindness to the Roman guards since her son was crucified.

RUTH:  (Horrified) You do not plant to speak of it to her!

RAEL:  I want to know just why he died.  It has been a month now; I want to hear the facts.

RUTH:  You will know in time.

JAEL:  I told her he would come to this – he with his strange beliefs.  Remember when he was a child and they took him to Jerusalem for his first Passover? It was five days before they again caught up with our caravan because they had to return for their darling son.  And what was the dreamer doing when they found Him?  Talking with the teacher! I’d have thrashed him.

RUTH:  His reason for delaying was most strange.

JAEL:  And that Sabbath in the synagogue!  Most pompous was he as he defied the laws of the Sabbath and spoke against the Pharisees.

RUTH: I remember well.

Jael:  And did you hear about the way he whipped the moneychangers in the temple?  Ha!  I never thought him that bold!  But they deserved it.  Why, they charged twice too much for a single dove.

RUTH:  He had strange thoughts.

JAEL:  And then he came to this.  For all his honey talk, he died a common criminal.

RUTH:  (Suddenly flaring in defense) And what is your son?

JAEL:  Barabbas?

RUTH:  Who else?

JAEL:  What do you mean?

RUTH:  You call Jesus a criminal.  Is not Barabbas?

JAEL:  Only in the eyes of Rome.  Does he not fight against her tyranny?  My son Barabbas fights to make all Jewry free.  But what did Jesus do?  He went about the country treating all alike, Roman and Jew.

RUTH:  He spoke much good.

JAEL:  But when did he act?  Only in the temple – only once – did he use his strength!

RUTH:  Would you have him kill, as your son kills?

JAEL:  I rejoice at every drop of Roman blood Barabbas spills.  He is my son, and is my name not Jael?  I am the namesake of our ancestor who welcomed Sisera our enemy within her tent and, while he slept, took a hammer in her hand and smote his temples with a tent pin till he died!

RUTH:  Oh, Jael! That was long ago.

JAEL:  What is different now?  Look how Jesus died!  Crucified upon a Roman cross.

RUTH:  I wonder why?

JAEL:  He asked for it.  You say the times have changed.  I’d see Barabbas kill all Romans, if the time were ripe.  

RUTH:  But meanwhile you spend dark nights lying awake, wondering where your son is, or if he still lives.

JAEL:  That is the price I pay for breeding hate within his bones.

RUTH:  Many’s the time they’ve pounded on your door – the Roman soldiers – and searched your house, and warned you that if they caught your son, they’d kill him.

JAEL:  They never found him.

RUTH:  I hear they have him now, imprisoned in Jerusalem.

JAEL:  That is what you hear.

RUTH:  Oh, Jael!  You may hide your thoughts from others but I know the longings in your heart.

JAEL:  He is my son, and if Rome takes his life….

RUTH:  Jesus is crucified, yet I am certain Mary seeks no vengeance.

JAEL:  She is sweet-lipped Mary.  I am Jael, enemy of Rome.

RUTH:  Oh, Jael, Jael!  All this leads only to death.  There is a better way of life.

JAEL:  Like Jesus taught?  That way, too, led to a Roman cross and death!  Death is at every turn, and when I go to Sheol, I will go with Roman blood upon my hands if mo son dies.

RACHEL:  (Enters right, also carrying an empty pitcher or a basket of clothing) What is this talk of blood?

RUTH:  Oh, Rachel.

RACHEL:  Peace be unto you, and no more talk of blood.  The morning is too pure, too beautiful.

JAEL: It’s like all other mornings.  The sun is in the sky and I have work to do.  (Rises.)

RACHEL:  I see Barabbas has returned.

JAEL:  What do you mean?

RACHEEL:  Your tongue is bitter, and your eyes are sharp.

JAEL:  I spent a restless night.

RACHEL:  Fearing as you slept, your son would slit your throat?

RUTH:  Barabbas has returned?

JAEL:  You said yourself he was a prisoner, and in Jerusalem.

RACHEL:  He spoke to me this morning, here in Nazareth.

JAEL:  Where did you see him?

RACHEL:  Standing in the doorway of your house.

JAEL:  The fool!  Some Roman citizen will see him and report his whereabouts!

RACHEL:  He seemed quite unconcerned.

RUTH:  When was he released?

JAEL:  I don’t know.  When he returned last night, he was most tired and soon dropped off to sleep.

RACHEL:  He said the Romans had released him.

RUTH:  The Romans freed a Hebrew, a murderer!

RACHEL:  He seemed most strange. He never cared to talk with the rest of us before.  And he had a crowd of children at his feet, telling them stories.

RUTH:  That doesn’t sound like Jael’s son.

JAEL:  He does seem changed.  He kissed me when we met last night.

RUTH:  He showed you tenderness?

JAEL:  He needed food and shelter.  I’m not the fool he takes me for.

RACHEL:  You are his mother.

JAEL:  I’m not a mother like that woman Mary.

RACHEL:  What hate have you for Mary?

JAEL:  I must go to him.

RACHEL:  You’ll find him at the home of Mary.

JAEL:  Mary!

RACHEL:  He seemed very eager to converse with her.

JAEL:  Why?

RACHEL:  Did he not tell you how his life was saved?

JAEL:  No.

RACHEL:  The custom of the Passover.  Pilate allowed the crowed to choose a prisoner to be released.  Their choice was between Jesus and Barabbas.  Barabbas was freed and Jesus was crucified.

JAEL:  I don’t believe you.

RACHEL:  Go to him and hear it from his lips.

JAEL:   I will.  I will.  (Hurries off right.)

RUTH:  You forgot your water, (or wash), Jael.

RACHEL:  I’ve seen a miracle toady.  Barabbas is a different man.

RUTH:  How do you mean?

RACHEL:  The murder has left his eyes.  His mind is full of peace.

RUTH: A Miracle indeed!

RACHEL:  I never thought I’d see a miracle.  (Lightly)  And now I have.

RUTH:  You forget one miracle you saw.

RACHEL:  And what was that?

RUTH:  My wedding feast at Cana, when Jesus blessed the water and we tasted wine.

RACHEL:  Some have reasoned out an answer for that one.

RUTH:  I don’t need to reason Jesus’ ways.  Since that day, both my marriage and my life have been blessed.

RACHEL:  And now he’s dead.

RUTH:  And Barabbas is alive.

RACHEL:  What were you speaking of when I arrived?

RUTH:  Nothing of consequence.

RACHEL:  Jael’s bitter voice was sharp as a sword’s bite.

RUTH:  She hates Romans.

RACHEL:  As we all do.

RUTH:  I pity them – nothing more.

RACHEL:  You’re wrong.  You’ll change your mind.

RUTH:  I don’t think so.  I don’t ask for much, and what I have, the Romans cannot take from me.

RACHEL:  And what is that?

RUTH:  My home, my husband’s love, and the joy we have in our firstborn.

RACHEL:  With one quick stroke, all that could disappear before Roman’s blood spear.

RUTH:  I will not think of such a thing.

RACHEL:  I’ve seen it happen.

RUTH:  They cannot take from me the promise of a better life.

RACHEL:  A promise made by Jesus, who was killed a month ago.

RUTH:  We only heard he was.  Jerusalem is far form here, and we hear many rumors.

RACHEL:  I know all that.  But this morning I talked with a man who saw him die.

RUTH:  Barabbas?

RACHEL:  Yes.  He told me… (Pauses)

RUTH: Yes?

RACHEL:  It seemed as though he would tell me more – how Jesus died – and something else.  But then he stopped and turned away and hurried off to Mary.

RUTH:  I wonder why?

RACHEL:  He said he’d see me later and tell me much, much more.  But knowing Jael’s son, I valued not his words.

RUTH:    Poor Jael.  She is so full of hate and bitterness.

RACHEL:  Why not?  To live as she has lived – knowing no love, and having all she gave thrust back at her with a clenched fist.

RUTH:  She does love Barabbas.

RACHEL:  A mother’s love.  All fierce and heartbreaking, knowing your son thinks of you only when he hungers and needs rest, and as soon as he’s refreshed he will go, without a backward glance or grateful word.

RUTH:  She is a mother, Rachel.  We would do the same.

RACHEL:  If only she would guard her tongue when she sees Mary.

RUTH:  Why must she hate her so?”

RACHEL:  Because poor Mary’s son had all the qualities Barabbas lacked – the gentleness and quiet dignity.

RUTH:  Mary loved him so.

RACHEL:  And he loved her, and Jael mocked that love because she had none from her own son.

RUTH:  She found much ridicule for Jesus.

RACHEL:  I ridiculed him, too.  It was some time before I found much sense in Jesus’ words.

RUTH:  Jael never understood.

RACHEL:  All that is past.  Jesus is dead; Barabbas is alive.  Mary lost her son, and Jael… (Pauses)

RUTH:  Go on.

RACHEL:  You should have seen him.  Remember how Jesus talked with all the children at his feet?  Barabbas did the same this morning.  He used to frighten children with his fierce looks, but when I came upon them, they were sitting all around him, searching his face with smiles upon their lips. It was most strange.

RUTH: indeed.

RACHEL:  We’d best finish and go now.

RUTH:  Yes, I’ve tarried long enough.  (JAEL slowly enters right as RUTH and RACHEL gather their belongings.)  Why, Jael!

RACHEL:  You forgot….

JAEL:  I came to ask you to forgive me.

RUTH:  For what?

JAEL: For all the things I’ve said… all the harsh words.  I spoke that way because I was so unhappy.  I didn’t have the home you have, the love you felt.  But now it’s different.  In one short morning, all has changed!  Barabbas met me on the way.  He took my hand and called me Mother.  And he told me… such strange things.  It’s true that he is free.

          He had been in prison many days.  The place was foul with filth and black as night, and when they dragged him forth, his eyes at first could not see things quite right.  He was certain he would be killed.  But when he heard the people cry, “Crucify, crucify!” even my son, stouthearted as he is, cringed at the thought.  And then he understood.  Pilate wanted the people to choose between him and another man.  Which one should be freed?  They chose Barabbas, and only then, in relief and joy, did he see who the other was:  Jesus.  He looked at him across the howling mob, and Jesus smiled one of those godlike smiles – and Barabbas smiled back  – but in contempt.

            My son was freed.  He told me how he traveled with the mob, watching his fellow townsman struggle with the cross.  He planned to glory in Jesus’ death, watch him writhe in agony upon the cross, and mock him for the last time.

             As he told me this, he cried.  My son, Barabbas, wept against my breast as he has not done since he was – oh, so small.  I held him close, and tears from eyes I thought were long since dry fell upon his hair.

             He told me that as he watched the agony, he realized how wrong he’d been, and he knew he stood before – Messiah!  But he was late – too late, and he saw the Son of God die on a Roman cross.

              All this had to happen, to bring my son back to me.

RUTH:  It was too great a price.

RACHEL:  Your joy should taste quite bitter in your mouth.

JAEL:  I have not told you all. When it was finished… when Jesus was dead… Barabbas started homeward.  On the way he heard strange news, news he could not comprehend. Jesus had risen from the dead!  Yes, stare at me, as I stared at him.  Barabbas told me this, and as he spoke, I knew he told the truth.  Jesus, who had been dead, is now alive!

             But Barabbas needed proof, and he searched for it.  He found Jesus, and he talked with him!  I don’t know what they said, but I know my son.  All the evil – the evil It tried to hide from my sad heart – is gone.  He is the son I have longed for all these years, gentle and strong – a loving strength – strength like Jesus had.

RACHEL:  This is Barabbas?

JAEL:  Yes.

RACHEL:  when I talked with him, I knew he was not the same.

RUTH: Then Jesus lives?

JAEL:  Yes.

RUTH:  I would see Mary.  Has she heard the news?

RACHEL:  Let us go to her.  (Turns)  Look!  Coming up the path!

RUTH:  It’s Mary!

RACHEL:  How radiant she looks!

RUTH:  Let’s go to meet her.  

(The WOMEN exit right with their belongings, intent upon the figure they see approaching.)

THE END of the play, to be followed by commentary, discussion, and prayer.

To read more, please purchase the script.

Three Religious Plays

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