I'm Just Doing My Job

By Stan Peal


During a sleepless night, just after Christ has been crucified, Caiaphas and Pilate encounter each other in a garden and begin to question what they’ve done.




(Pilate is sitting on a bench. Caiaphas approaches)

Caiaphas:  Pilate.

Pilate:  (turns to look)  Caiaphas.

Caiaphas:  This is Jewish ground.

Pilate:  Are you going to tell the officer of Caesar where he can sit?

Caiaphas: (Pause) No.

Pilate:  I come here to think when I’m troubled.

Caiaphas: So do I.

Pilate:  What troubles you?

Caiaphas: Nothing that Rome need be concerned with.

Pilate:  Everything is Rome’s concern.

Caiaphas: (Pause) The Nazarene.

Pilate:   Second thoughts?

Caiaphas: Of course not.

Pilate:  Then why are you troubled? (Caiaphas doesn’t respond) We’re troubled by the same thing. He’s out there right now, you know. He serves the sentence as we speak.

Caiaphas: As he should. (He sits with Pilate)As he should. He called himself the Messiah.

Pilate:  He called himself king.

Caiaphas: He blasphemed against the Almighty.

Pilate:  He mocked Rome.

Caiaphas: He challenged the law of Moses.

Pilate:  The law of Caesar.

Caiaphas: He didn’t respond to the charge.

Pilate:  He was silent.

Caiaphas: I asked them.

Pilate:  What shall I do with him?

Caiaphas: Put him to death.

Pilate:  They gave the sentence.

Caiaphas: Crucify him.

Pilate:  It was not I.

Caiaphas: Not I.

Pilate:  I was simply doing my job.

Caiaphas: Fulfilling my duty.

Pilate: (Slowly) Just…doing my job (There is a generous pause as they are both obviously still troubled) The day of the sentencing I received an urgent message from my wife. She hasn’t sent a communication in…there was a …desperation in the words. As if she carried the fate of Rome in her hands. She warned me that I should have nothing to do with the man. He was innocent, she said. For an entire night, each moment she closed her eyes, she was haunted by dreams. Relentless dreams that warned of an unjust execution. And a name that would be uttered with contempt by countless peoples throughout time. A name that would mean “vile executioner”. “Traitor”. Pilate.

Caiaphas: A woman’s hysteria has no bearing on the law.

Pilate: In the message she named him. How did she know his name, Caiaphas? I understand your people honor dreams as prophesy. Is that only when they fit your purpose? Have you received any prophetic warnings in recent days? Have you had any dreams, Caiaphas?

Caiaphas: I was doing my job. As we both have done.

Pilate: Yes. Yes we have (Pause) Have you ever bent the rules? Have you ever made an exception?

Caiaphas: (Getting up) The law is the law. It is not for us to change. To suit our misgivings.

Pilate: (Pause) When does the law change? How does it change, Caiaphas? The law must change at least a little from time to time.

Caiaphas: Not the law of Moses.

Pilate: What changes even the strictest law, Caiaphas? Is it the courage of one person? A person with power to change the law? To see the injustice that is hidden from others? Who changes the law? What do we do when we are presented with the exception to the rule? Just our job? Is that all we do (Pause). Your people wait for a messiah, do they not? Have you rejected the one you seek? (Caiaphas turns and looks at Pilate. He then slowly turns and walks away). His blood will not be on my hands, do you hear me?! (To himself) Who will have the courage? (He looks at his hands) Not I. (He begins to leave) Not I. (Exit)

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