Undeserved Freedom - Barabbas

By Glenn A. Hascall (Inspired by Maurice Williams - An 84 year old friend)


A convicted criminal asks a guard to tell him what he sees when Jesus is being taken to 'the place of the skull' for crucifixion. You only see Barabbas. The guard is off stage.
(Author's Note: I have known Maurice Williams for the past three decades and he was one of my original inspirations in creativity. He produced a one-man drama and this short piece is a tribute to his work thirty years ago. I recall his portrayal of Barabbas and the impact that it had on me. I hope that this serves as reminder to all of us that in some ways all of us are Barabbas. We do not deserve to have Jesus take our place, when the payment for our sin is death. Yet, he did take our place. The innocent Son of God allowed all our captive hearts to go free and He willingly took our place. What a great reminder this Easter season.)


2 men - Barabbas & Guard. Also a third male voice is needed at the very end.


Barabbas: Guard, when do I get my daily ration of gruel (laughter then sarcastic). You know how much I love the cooking in this place.

Guard: Be quiet Barabbas.

Barabbas: Or what? I'm going to die anyway. It might be your cooking or it might be a few metal spikes in some rugged timber out there on the hill. Do you think it matters to me how you feel about my disposition?

Guard: Probably not, but I think you will wait for your food anyway.

Barabbas: (Suddenly remorseful) Hey, Guard. It was a simple joke. To be honest the food here is better than my own mother's cooking.


Barabbas: Guard, are you there? Guard!

Guard: Settle yourself Barabbas. I was just checking on something.

Barabbas: What? Did you give one of the other prisoners some new straw? (Barabbas laughs)

Guard: No! There is a large group of people on their way to Golgotha. Seems this will be a day of crucifixions.

Barabbas: Crucifixions? As in more than one?

Guard: That's right. One space remains. Right in the center.

Barabbas: (More to himself than the guard) Could it be for me? (To Guard) Do you know who is to be crucified today?

Guard: Well, you are the last prisoner here today and they did tell me that there were orders from Pilate concerning you that will be delivered shortly.

Barabbas: (Suddenly emotional) It's me. It has to be. They're coming for me. I... I am not ready to die. I don't want to die. I am innocent I tell you.

Guard: Come now Barabbas, a whole crowd saw you kill a man. Innocent? I think not.

Barabbas: Isn't there someone I can talk to about this?

Guard: Wait a minute, what is this?

Barabbas: What do you see Guard?

Guard: There is a man stumbling in the street. He sure has taken a beating.

Barabbas: A man?

Guard: I've never seen anything like this.

Barabbas: What's happening?

Guard: He has only patches of hair where a beard once was. His back is too gruesome to describe and they have placed a wreath of thorns on his head. The people? Why...they push and spit at him.

Barabbas: At least it is not me. I can take some comfort in that.

Guard: That must have hurt.

Barabbas: What?

Guard: The man fell and his face smashed into the paving stones. Wait! (Pause)

Barabbas: What's happening?

Guard: They are pulling a man from the crowd and making him carry the cross.


Barabbas: Are you going to bring my food?

Guard: Not till I see what happens.


Barabbas: Well, what IS going on Guard?

Guard: They are placing the spikes in his hands and wrists (hammer SFX and crowd noise if possible).

Barabbas: (Looking nervous) Maybe I don't want to hear anymore.

Guard: Oh, but you will, Barabbas. You will. They are raising him up and (SFX of wood dropped in a hole - followed by a groan).

Barabbas: Tell me no more. I can't bear it.

Guard: (Subdued) Perhaps you are right.

(Silence. Footsteps approach and leave)

Barabbas: What is going on?

Guard: This has got to be a mistake.

Barabbas: What? (Silence) Guard, please tell me.

Guard: Pilate's orders have arrived and they do indeed concern you.

Barabbas: (Frantic) I am to be crucified. I just knew it. I'm not ready.

Guard: No, I guess not.

Barabbas: What?

Guard: I guess you're not ready to die.

Barabbas: Don't speak in riddles.

Guard: Well, my murdering friend. Apparently you are to be set free.

Barabbas: (Dumbstruck and quiet for a while then chuckles) My ears must be playing tricks, I could have sworn you said I was to be set free.

Guard: Hear me, Barabbas. You are to be set free.

Barabbas: How can this be?

Guard: I wish I knew. If Pilate himself didn't sign this order I would think it a cruel joke.

Barabbas: What does the order say?

Guard: Be it ordained by the office of Governor Pilate that the convicted murderer Barabbas be allowed to go free at the request of his peers. It is the custom of this Roman court to allow one prisoner to go free during the Passover celebration of the Jews.

Barabbas: They chose me?

Guard: It would appear so. Let me read on. I have personally interviewed a religious zealot by the name of Jesus, whose origin has been determined to be Nazareth. I wish it to be included in this record that I can find no fault in the accused man.

Barabbas: No fault?

Guard: That's what it says. (Reading on from Pilate's verdict) It says...The assembled Jews voiced strong opposition to my original verdict and demanded the crucifixion of this man. I wish to also have it recorded that I offered a compromise plan that allowed this man to be beaten for his alleged crimes and then he be set free. The crowd was described by many as being frenzied by this offer and again demanded the crucifixion of this Jesus.

Barabbas: What could he have done to deserve this?

Guard: I don't know, Barabbas. (Reading from the verdict) Let's see. Where was I? Oh here it is... I then made an offer that I thought would make it easy for the Jews to do what I believed to be the right thing. There was a choice offered. The crowd could allow an innocent man to go free or they could allow a convicted murder to go free. The choice? Jesus or Barabas. The crowd seemed unanimous in their demand that Jesus be crucified and that the murderer go free.

Barabbas: What?

Guard: Be it proclaimed that despite the facts that provide assurance that the man Jesus is innocent of all charges. The Jewish people have demanded his death by crucifixion and this court stands behind its promise and thus we demand the immediate release of Barabbas.

Barabbas: I am to be set free?

Guard: So it would seem.

Barabbas: I can't understand it.

Guard: You are not alone.

Barabbas: I'm the one who should have spikes through my feet and hands. It should be me on the cross on the hill.

Guard: Perhaps...but it's not.

Barabbas: Why would the Jews ask for my release?

Guard: (Chuckle) Now there is a very good question.

Barabbas: An innocent man is dying in my place today. Why would he do that?

(Faintly in the background) Father; forgive them they know not what they do.

Copyright Glenn Hascall, all rights reserved. This script may be used free of charge, provided no
charge is made for entry. In return, the author would appreciate being notified of any
performance. He may be contacted at glenn.hascall<a>gmail.com