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THE NIGHT BEFORE EASTER

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Equipment
The skit should be memorized for the best effect. It can be followed up with a Bible study on forgiveness and on how Jesus is willing and able to forgive us when we feel we have let him down (focus especially on John 21:15—19).

Action
Setting: Peter and John are lying on the floor sleeping.
Peter: (suddenly beginning to toss and turn, mumbling) I’m sorry, Master, I’m sorry! (The more he tosses and turns, the louder the words get until he finally sits up straight, murmuring loudly, almost frantically.) I’m sorry, master! I’m sorry! (burying his face in his hands and whimpering) I’m sorry, so sorry.
John: (John is awakened by the noise. He reaches over and touches Peter’s arm.) What is it Peter? What’s wrong?
Peter: I had a terrible nightmare. I’m sorry if I woke you.
John: (with a short, quiet laugh) I’m afraid it wasn’t much of a sleep to be awakened from. I’m tired, but sleep isn’t coming very easily to me tonight.
Peter: My sleep is fitful enough without the nightmares.
John: What are these nightmares you’re having?
Peter: Actually, it’s the same one over and over again. I’m standing in the courtyard of the high priest’s house. As I look in the window, I can see the Master looking at me. He has the saddest look on his face I’ve ever seen. I know that I’ve denied him, but when I try to apologize, he turns his head away from me! (in a broken voice) I denied him, John! I swore that I didn’t know him when I promised that I would stand by him no matter what!
John: I think I understand what you’re feeling, Peter.
Peter: (bewildered) How can you understand what I’m feeling? You stood by him faithfully right up to the end. You stood at the cross with his mother. He spoke with you! How did you deny him?
John: Isn’t my hiding here in this room with you a form of denial, too? I may not have betrayed him with words, but my actions speak loudly enough.
Peter: (more relaxed) Forgive me, John, I know this has been hard on all of us. It just seems that I was always giving the Master some kind of trouble. Remember when I tried to keep him from coming to Jerusalem in the first place? He called me Satan! And when I lashed out with my sword in the garden, he rebuked me. I swore that I would lay down my life for him if necessary, but when the time came, I denied him and ran. I’ve failed him time and time again, John, and now he’s dead and I can’t make it right!
John: I’m sure we all wish we had done differently. How do you think I’m feeling? He put me in charge of his mother! How can I take care of her when the soldiers are sure to be looking for us next?
Peter: The present doesn’t concern me, John, it’s the future that I’m thinking about. Remember what the Master said to us? He said that if anyone denied him before men, he would deny them before the Father. How can I go on through life with the burden of guilt that’s mine because I betrayed him? I wanted to speak up for him, but I feared for my life. Now that fear may cost me eternity!
John: (Both men sit quietly for a few moments. Then John speaks up.) These past few days have left me confused. He was always telling us that he was going to die, but I never thought it would be so soon. What do you think will become of us now that he’s gone?
Peter: He told us himself that we could expect the same treatment they would give to him. I fear that we may soon join him!
John: Maybe he’ll rise from the dead as he promised! We saw him raise Lazarus, but could he possibly raise himself?
Peter: I hope that for your sake he does, John. But even if he did come back, I fear that our friendship would never be the same because of what I’ve done.
John: He was a man of forgiveness and understanding, Peter. I’m sure he would forgive you. (Both men fall silent again.)
John: (John stares off into space for a moment as if thinking. Suddenly a smile comes across his face.) It sure was a wonderful three years, wasn’t it, Peter? All that he said and did is so vivid in my mind—I’ll never forget it. I remember best how much he loved us, how I could feel that love so strongly, even when he wasn’t there. (looking sadly at the floor) I loved him so much. Never have I had a better friend.
Peter: Yes, he was a remarkable man, and a good friend and teacher. Well, we really should try to get some sleep. Only God knows what tomorrow holds for each of us.
John: (Both men lie back down on the floor, but neither closes his eyes. They are silent for a few moments, then John speaks up.) Peter, you once said he was the Messiah. Do you still believe that?
Peter: Yes, I do. But will believing it bring him back? (fade out)

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