47 While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people.
48 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.”
49 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.
50 Jesus replied, “Friend, do what you came for.” Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him.
51 With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
Mathew 26 : 47-51
That was the scene to take place during the stage play at church. It was a play on the betrayal of Jesus and was enacted from the point of view of Judas, the man eternally known for his deceit. Judas had regretted his action and committed suicide. The point of the play was to teach that each one had a chance to repent and that suicide achieved nothing. To judge how the play went read on and judge yourselves.
As usual, we were all in the play.
Both my brothers were excited and nervous of their roles. Brother #1 was Peter (the famous apostle) and Brother #2 was a servant of the High Priest. The boy playing Jesus had missed some rehearsals and hence Brother #1 played both roles for the time being. The practice for the play went on all week and the boy playing Judas would pop in occasionally to rehearse his parts.
The big day was here.
All the boys went in for the last rehearsal and Judas was a bit confused as to who played Jesus. He was assured that Jesus would be at the centre of the stage and close to the microphone. Everyone was confident about their role and went in for make up. The boys who were to play as the soldier and the companion had not arrived. Anxiety and nervousness filled the air. The stage director popped an antacid to calm her ulcer.
Everyone was looking at each other and giggling at the beards and moustaches that they were now sporting. A large crowd of parents and friends were seated in front and waiting with baited breath to see if their children would remember their lines and act well. The curtains opened and the first act went on smoothly with the Judas hurrying through his lines and barely glancing at Jesus.
Since the boys had not reported for the play, another boy and I were put in as replacement. As everyone knew the story, there wasn’t any need to explain the act in detail. We were told to arrest the boy with the beard who was at the centre of the stage and cut the ear of the one who is supposedly the servant. All set, the curtain opens and Judas proceed as mentioned in the scene. He walked up to stage and stood looking totally blank. There were two boys dressed up in similar clothing and having thick beards glued to them ‘ Who is Jesus?’
The crowd looked on wondering why Judas was not hugging Jesus.
Brother #1 sensed his friend’s confusion and tried to wave his fingers to signal. A relief crossed Judas face as he rushed forward to hug Peter ( brother #1) saying “ Greetings Rabbi”. At this point my brother panicked and the real Jesus asked “What? I am Jesus!!!” The stage director began to flag her hands and wave to get their attention. The boys looked at each other totally confused. The crowd began to murmur. A few smiles were seen.
Taking this as a cue for entry, the soldier entered and saw that the Jesus was being hugged. He ran arrest him. This was my cue I rushed to cut the ear off my brother #2 only to trip over Judas and cut the real Jesus in the ear. The teachers began to wave their hands to show the position of the servant. But the deed was done. The crowd watched with baited breath. Will Jesus cry out to protect the play? Nope!
The real servant, Brother # 2, was standing towards the front of the stage and knew that the cutting of the ear meant that a loud cry was to be cried. He yelled out ” Owwww my ear, my ear, he cut my ear!” and fell down holding his ear. The stage director nearly fainted. My sister was a part of the crowd that was to run to help the servant. She could not decide as to whom she was to help so she ran to the brother pretending to have his ear cut “Oh! His ear is cut!” The crowd erupted in laughter.
The status of the story was now as follows: Judas was confused and betrayed Peter , the soldier arrested Peter, the companion cut off Jesus ear, Jesus was absolutely fine with the ear cutting business , someone on stage felt the pain of the ear being cut off and the on stage crowd decided to sympathise with him rather than Jesus. We rewrote the bible. The play was brilliantly executed.
The pastor had to be revived with smelling salts while the stage director consoled herself with the fact that the crowd loved the play.
Need I mention that it was an interesting play?