THE FAITH ZONE based on John 20.19-31

Mark G. Vitalis Hoffman 2000 CrossMarks.com

Permission is hereby given to use this script for free by churches as long as an acknowledgement of authorship and a reference to CrossMarks.com is included. I would also appreciate an email note indicating where and how you used it. ( orders@crossmarks.com ) For a downloadable MSWord version of this script that you can use to make edits, improve the script, etc., click HERE.

CAST:

PROPS:

This play is written to be performed by a church youth group in the church sanctuary. The Presenter provides the opening context for what is about to happen: a church youth group is meeting to rehearse their dramatic presentation of the "Doubting Thomas" story of John 20:19-31. This means that the cast will all be holding scripts, so memorizing is minimal!


[ Presenter enters ]

P: Things are not always what they appear to be...and sometimes things do not appear which really are. How, then, is a person supposed to know what to believe? We submit for your consideration this morning the case of Thomas, called the Twin, better known as Doubting Thomas. Little is known about him and nothing is known about his Twin. But watch him closely as we join a youth group getting together to practice for a church drama of the Doubting Thomas story. You may not believe what you see, but if you believe what you don't see, then you have crossed over into the Faith Zone. [ Presenter exits ]

[ D comes halfway down center aisle with clipboard and papers, turns back ]

D: Okay, come on you guys. I want to run through this thing a few times so that we feel good about doing it on Sunday.

[ rest of cast except for T enters talking with each other; N carries Bible ]

D: Good, ______'s here. You're narrating the text, right?

N: Yep. I've read it so many times I almost have it memorized.

D: Great. Let's see. [ counting cast members and consulting sheet ] One, two, three....nine, ten. Good, the ten disciples are here.

1: Shouldn't there be twelve disciples?

D: Well, Judas is out of the picture now, if you remember. And Thomas is the eleventh. Speaking of Thomas, where's T_______? We can't do this without Thomas.

2: Oh, T_______ told me that he had to work till 7, so he should be here in ten minutes or so.

N: We could always get his twin to play his part.

D: What do you mean?

N: In the text, it says Thomas was called the Twin.

1: Who was his twin?

N: I asked Pastor _______, and he said that no one knows for sure.

D: Well, his twin doesn't show up in our play, but it doesn't matter anyway because Thomas isn't in the first scene. [ looking at sheet ] Okay, now where's Jesus?

4: Who's doing Jesus anyway?

3: Nancy is.

6: Nancy is Jesus?! Shouldn't a guy be playing the part of Jesus? How did she get it?

7: She had the longest and nicest hair. You know, like in those pictures of Jesus where he looks like he could be doing an ad for some shampoo.

6: Wonderful. When the resurrected Jesus appears in the midst of us disciples I'll be sure to say, "Jesus, considering you've been dead for three days, you are stylin’!"

7: Yeah, and think what new meaning Jesus could bring to those shampoo ads which claim to [ use deep advertising voice ] RESTORE LIFE and BODY to dry and damaged hair!

D: Okay, you guys, quit goofing around. You've all got your scripts. While we're waiting for Jesus let me lay out what our staging is like. We are not going to have any props except for some chairs, so you'll have to pretend and help the audience visualize it. Everything takes place in a one room house, and that will be this area around the altar. The only thing the text tells about this room is that it had doors.

N: And the text says that the doors were shut for fear of the Jews.

D: Right. So that means that you are all supposed to be acting scared and jittery. After all, you're disciples of a guy who's just been crucified, and you could be next. Now I've got some ideas on how we can pretend there is a door here, but the tricky part we have to figure out is how we are going to make Jesus appear. Any ideas?

10: What about a poof of smoke and there he is, just like magicians do?

7: No, how about Jesus beaming in like on Star Trek!

8: What if we got a big cloth for the altar, and then Jesus could hide underneath and then just sort of pop out?

9: If we have a pretend door, couldn't we just have Jesus walk right through it?

D: Yeah, that's sort of what I was thinking of.

5: Couldn't it be that Jesus is with the disciples all along, and we just don't notice him because we're all so scared. And then, when Jesus says his line:

N: "Peace be with you."

5: Yeah, when he says that, then all of a sudden we see that he is there.

D: That's better! I like that. Let's go with it.

N: But it's not so simple. The text says that after Jesus said peace to them, "he showed them his hands and his side. THEN the disciples were glad when they SAW the Lord."

3: So the disciples had to see Jesus in order to believe, huh?

4: Does Jesus appear in the same way the second time?

D: I don't know. What does the text say, N________?

N: It says, "Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them."

4: Is that the same as it said happened the first time?

N: Ummm, yeah, except it says that the first time the doors were shut for fear of the Jews.

1: So they weren't afraid the second time?

3: Maybe they got together to celebrate.

6: Awright, a Resurrection Par-ty. Turn up the music loud enough to raise the dead!

2: [ with disapproving look to 6 ] Thomas wouldn't have been celebrating. He still didn't believe that Jesus was alive.

10: Yeah, and it seems strange to me that they were still shut up in the house if they really had seen Jesus.

D: Okay, how about this? The first time all you disciples are acting so afraid you don't recognize Jesus until he says, "Peace be with you" and then shows you his hands and side. The second time you're all talking and trying to convince Thomas that Jesus really is alive. Thomas is acting stubborn and getting a little mad, and saying the stuff about not believing until he sees the nail prints and puts his hand in Jesus' side, and you're all so hepped up arguing with Thomas that you don't notice Jesus until he speaks again.

N: "Peace be with you." Jesus says the exact same thing the second time.

5: Maybe that's kind of the point. Isn't there something at the end of the story about "Blessed are those who...

N: "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe."

5: Okay, so instead of having to SEE Jesus to believe him, maybe HEARING Jesus' word is supposed to cause faith.

10: Or else reading God's word in the Bible.

3: Or else watching a drama performed about it!

D: Hey, this is going to work out great! Okay, those were the main things I was wondering about. Let's go ahead and run through...

1: I'm wondering about something. [ looking at script ] I was just looking through the script here, and it says that when Jesus first appeared to the disciples "he breathed on them." What's that about?

D: I guess I thought Jesus would just kind of blow on them or something.

7: Oh, no! Have you seen those mouthwash commercials? [ uses hand to cover mouth ] "Oou, not now, boys. I've been dead for three days."

2: Geez, get a life. Don't you do anything except watch TV?

8: [ looking at script ] Say, don't you remember in confirmation they told us that the Greek or Hebrew word for breath was the same word used for wind and spirit? And look, the next thing Jesus says to the disciples is, "Receive the Holy SPIRIT."

N: I asked Pastor ______ about that too. He said that in this case the word for "breathing" is like being infused or filled with the Spirit, but the idea is the same. It's like what happened to the disciples at Pentecost when there was this big WIND, and they all were filled with the Holy Spirit.

7: [ as if doing a cheer; to 6 ] I've got spirit, yes I do. I've got spirit; how 'bout you?

6: [ responds ] I've got...

D: Awright, we get the idea.

2: Yeah. You guys are just INFUSED full of hot air.

D: Okay, okay. So maybe they're just a little CON-FUSED.

9: [ ignoring others, studying script ] Look at what Jesus says just before breathing on them. "As the Father has sent me, even so I send you." So, this breathing / Spirit business must have something to do with being sent out.

4: Sent out for what?

6: Like, sending out for pizza. I’m hungry.

2: Good grief.

5: 9_______ is right. Just as Jesus was sent to proclaim the Gospel, so, we too are sent.

3: Just like in this play.

10: And blessed are those who only HEAR and yet believe!

D: Super! Now's let get going, and we'll deal with anything else as we come to it. Hmmm, Jesus still isn't here. Well, let's just start and I guess I'll do the part of Jesus until Nancy gets here. Okay, put some chairs around that you can sit on. [ four or five chairs are placed around ] Some of you can stand. Good. I'll be Jesus and just stand here [ center, in front of altar ], but remember, you're not supposed to see me till I say the "Peace" part. N_______, you stand in the pulpit and use the microphone. [ N goes into pulpit ] Go ahead and start out by reading the introduction and go right into the text. Everybody act scared now.

N: It was on a Friday that Jesus died, and his disciples didn't know what to do. Now, on this Sunday evening, they don't know what to think. Early this morning, Mary Magdalene had reported to Peter and John that the stone had been moved away from Jesus' tomb. When Peter and John rushed to check it out, they went into the tomb. They found the grave cloths lying there which had been used to wrap Jesus--but Jesus they did not find. Mary returned to the tomb a little later, and this time she reported back to the disciples that she had seen the Lord alive! So, now, on the evening of this Sunday, "the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them,"

D: "Peace be with you." [ Just as D begins to say this line, we hear a voice (amplified) saying in a breathy voice an extended "Peace." D's voice falters while finishing his line when he hears the other voice. Rest of cast looks around in awe and wonder. ]

4: What was that?

2: [ to 6 and 7; angry but also a bit uncertain ] Is this your idea of some kind of joke?

6: No! Honest! At first I thought it was maybe the wind or something.

1: I know this sounds strange, but I thought it kind of sounded like someone saying, "Peace."

9: You don't think that maybe it was...

8: I think it was...

5: I BELIEVE that it IS Jesus.

[T arrives; comes down aisle ]

T: Hi, you guys! Sorry I'm late.

3: [ rushing up to T ] T_______, you'll never believe what happened! We heard Jesus!

T: You're right. I don't believe it.

7: No, we really did hear Jesus. It was like...

T: You been watching too much TV again, 7________?

4: We're not joking. We really heard Jesus say, "Peace."

T: Oh, I get it. [ looking through his script ] Let's see. Oh, yeah. [ reads dramatically ] "Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe." Where's Nancy? Isn't she Jesus?

1: Nancy isn't here.

T: You mean Jesus isn't here?

1: No, the real Jesus was here. We're not talking about what happens in the play. This is for real.

T: I don't get it. Are you guys trying to help me `get into character' for my part or something?

6: No. We were practicing, but right when we got to the part where Jesus is supposed to say, "Peace," we all heard this voice say, [ imitating voice (amplified) saying in a breathy voice an extended ] "Peace," and...

T: Awright. Very funny. I get your joke.

2: [ coming up to stand alongside 6 ] 6________ isn't joking. He's telling the truth.

T: Whoaaa. Will miracles never cease? When did you two become friends?

6: Well, we're...

2: We're-[ pause a moment ]-we're at peace. And yes, maybe miracles will never cease.

T: [ sarcastically ] Oh, a miracle! Has anyone called somebody at the newspaper yet? How about the radio station?

N: [ coming out of pulpit and towards group ] Look, T________, something really happened. We...

8: We do have to tell people. It's like Jesus has now sent us to, I don't know, proclaim his peace.

9: You're right. Now we're like the disciples who were sent out.

T: [ still sarcastic ] Great! Did you call the national news yet? I'm thinking that maybe I should just call someone over at the state hospital.

7: We're not crazy.

10: How are we ever going to get him to believe us?

9: How are we ever going to get ANYONE to believe us?

T: Wait! I know. The National Enquirer will believe you! Why, I bet...

5: The point is not that some miracle happened. The point is that Jesus was present in a way like I've never known before.

2: Yeah, it was like, [ turning away in embarrassment ] I don't know, like something so good it makes you wanna cry. [ 7 goes over to console 2 ]

D: It was like a warm breeze.

8: Like a warm BREATH of air.

10: Like the first warm breath of spring when you can feel everything coming back to life.

T: Please spare me the details and save your breath. I'm getting tired of this.

[ 1-10 and D and N start to become more animated as they share their experience with each other and turn their attention away from T ]

9: It was kind of overpowering and awesome. I felt really small, but I also felt really safe.

8: Yeah, safe and peaceful and happy to be alive and happy that Jesus really is alive...

10: And happy to be loved by Jesus and be in love with him.

3: It was like Jesus put his arms around me.

4: It seemed as if I could really feel Jesus right here.

T: [ angry ] Look. I'm pretty sick of this. [ turns to leave ] You can find some other Thomas for all I care.

D: [ reaches out to stop T from going ] Wait, T________. Peace be with you.

T: [ turns, still angry ] I'll give you a piece of my mind. I'm going to...

[ though voice saying "Peace" is not heard this time, everyone acts as though they are hearing it; T stops in mid-sentence, looks around in confusion; rest of group rejoices, embraces, stands in reverence, etc. ]

T: Oh my God. [ pause; T then kneels down ] Oh my Lord and my God!

[ group gathers around T to assure and encourage him; then cast freezes as Presenter enters again to speak]

P: So what did you see? And what exactly did you hear? Did all this just seem like make-believe? Or did something happen here which makes you believe? In the Faith Zone, it is not inconceivable that you yourself are that mysterious Twin of Thomas. And in the Faith Zone it is also possible that you too are told by the disciples of Christ that he is risen and present among you with his peace. Blessed are you who have not seen and yet believe, and blessed again are you who have only heard and yet believe! For all this has happened that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name. Christ is risen! Peace be with you!

[ entire cast goes out among congregation sharing the peace of the Lord, saying, "Christ is risen! Peace be with you!]