The idea for this particular production was suggested tome in the fall of 1953 by a Church Organist in Petersburg, Virginia, who had seen a group of local men portray Jesus and the Twelve Apostles in what was called "A Living Picture of The Last Supper" based upon Leonardo da Vinci's famous painting.  During the next two months I studied da Vinci and his inspiring picture and then proceeded to write the soliloquies for the Twelve Apostles as they might have expressed themselves immediately after hearing the Master say, "One of you will betray me," whereupon each man had cried out, "Lord, is it I?"  This was the moment Leonardo said he wished to capture in his picture.

This new drama had its premier presentation in the Sanctuary of the Elm Avenue Methodist Church, Portsmouth, Virginia, on Palm Sunday night, 1954, during the seventh year of my fifteen year pastorate there.  In September of the same year, 1954, the script and soliloquies for the Twelve Apostles were included in my book "More Plays and Pageants For Many Occasions," a collection of ten original non-royalty, plays published by the W.A. Wilde Company.  From 1954 through 1961 the original cast presented the drama sixteen times for more than thirty thousand people in many cities in Virginia and North Carolina, as well as over television.  Since its publication, the play has been presented by many different groups in all sections of the nation, and has been a source of inspiration to the many thousands who have seen it in person as well as over numerous television stations during Holy Week. Following my lectures on "Practical Hymnology and the Related Arts" at many Methodist Pastor's Schools in many states, and for the Southern Baptist Convention's Schools of Music in North Carolina and New Mexico, this play has been presented by many more semi-professional and amateur dramatic groups in churches, schools, and city auditoriums as well as on many college campuses, sponsored by local congregations, ministerial association, civic clubs, and other interested organizations.

The author's present congregation observed the tenth anniversary of this drama in 1964 with three presentations, and planned two more for 1965.  In 1958 the Elm Avenue Church and in 1964 the Cherrydale Church presented this play for several thousand delegates to the Jurisdictional Laymen's Conference of the Methodist Church at the Methodist Summer Assembly Center at Lake Juralaska, North Carolina.

            On Sunday morning, July 13, 1969, a Cast and Crew from the author's present congregation presented this drama for 6,000 people in the Music Hall of Purdue University, Lafayette, Indiana, as the closing worship service of the National Quadrennial Conference of Methodist Men.  As a result of this program, the play has been presented in numerous Churches throughout the United States during subsequent Lenten seasons.




                                                                                                Ernest K. Emurian

                                                                                                Cherrydale United Methodist Church

                                                                                                Arlington, Virginia 22207




            THE LIVING DRAMATIZATION of Leonardo da Vinci's THE LAST SUPPER is a recreation of da Vinci's world-famous painting with thirteen living characters.  Secure good clear copy of this picture to use as a guide for this living dramatization.  Copies in various sizes may be ordered from the W. A. Wilde Company, Natick, Mass.  A picture should be given to each member of the cast so that he may be able to study his pose carefully and be prepared for his part in this dramatic production.  Other copies should be available for those in charge of costumes and makeup.  Since some reproductions of THE LAST SUPPER are not faithful to the original, be sure the copy selected as a guide conforms as far as possible to Leonardo's painting.  In some copies, there is a large water jar and even a large dog in front of the table.  In others, the

Background consists of two large round window arches, with Jesus being posed against the pillar dividing the arched windows.  These are not faithful reproductions of the original and should not be used as guides for this drama.  In the original painting, Jesus is framed against a rectangular window in the background.  There are two smaller window openings on either side of the large center window, and against the one to the left of Jesus (or to the right of the picture as one looks at the picture from the front) the head of Thomas is framed.  The background painting may be prepared in three sections.  The center panel may measure twelve feet in height and nineteen feet in width, while the two side panels may be approximately twelve feet high by sixteen feet wide.  These measurements were those used by the original cast in presenting this drama before many audiences and congregations in several states.  An adjustable framework for these three painted panels was built and the cloth stapled to the frame for each production.  The two side panels were placed at an angle to the center panel, extending outward, with the table and

the members of the cast being placed inside the set.  This gives the living re-creation a depth that would be lacking were the background painted on just one flat surface.  Water colors or tempera on muslin or canvass sewel to fit the wooden frames, following the designs and colors of the original, make an effective background.  Simpler backgrounds may be painted or drawn on paper, cardboard or cloth.  Six or eight palms placed against the background at strategic intervals will give added depth to the set.  If the center panel is twelve feet high by nineteen feet wide, then the painting of the center rectangular window against which the figure of Jesus is framed in the original would be about five feet in width, the two side windows about three feet.  The table itself should be about sixteen feet in length, two feet in width, with the table top about twenty-eight inches from the level of the floor.  It may be constructed in two, three, or four sections which can be easily bolted together, and should stand on eight legs that may be built separately to fit into grooves in the table's framework. The front legs may be built to conform to the painting, since they will be visible to the audience. Those in the rear may be more plainly constructed since they will, for the most part, be invisible from the audience.

            Let the table cloth and setting conform to the copy as far as possible. In a large auditorium, four table microphones may be installed through the table, and covered with aluminum foil to resemble goblets.  When that is done, the speakers address the nearest mike so that their voices may carry to the rear of the largest auditorium.  In this manner, the original cast presented this drama on many occasions for congregations numbering from two to three thousand people. Generally in an auditorium that seats a thousand to twelve hundred people, the

human voice may be projected without the use of amplifiers.  Let the actors try out each

auditorium before determining whether to use amplification or not.  When mikes are used, let all

wires to and from the table be stapled or taped to the inside of the front legs of the table and thus be hidden from the public's view as far as possible.  Attention to these seemingly insignificant details will add much to the beauty and inspiration of this production.  As for the table setting itself, plastic glasses resembling those in the picture will suffice.  A strip of red cellophane may then be fastened inside each glass to simulate the wine or grape juice and thus eliminate the danger of soiling the cloth by inadvertently overturning one of the glasses before, during, or immediately following the production. Rolls may be found in any grocery store, while the fish may be cut out of wood and painted and then placed on silver trays or porcelain plates as

available.  A silver chalice in front of Jesus always adds to the effectiveness of the table setting. Be sure to have the overturned container of salt at Judas' elbow, since that signifies "a betrayed friendship".  The colorful strips at each end of the table cloth may either be drawn or painted on the cloth itself or cut out of other cloth and sewed in place.  Let the table cloth be pre-shrunk

before being fitted to the table, with holes cut to allow for the installation of the four table mikes where needed.

            Stools or built-up chairs of varying sizes and heights should be provided for eleven of the

men, since all of them except Nathaniel and James-the-Less may be seated during the drama.  Let the stool on which Simon the Zealot is seated at the right end of the table as one looks at the

picture conform to the design in Leonardo's painting.

            Let all men wear flat leather sandals tied about the ankles with strips of leather or dark

shoe strings.

            When the curtain is opened on the scene, soft red and blue lights cast a haze over the

stage.  Gradually let the stage lights be brought up, but never to full strength.

            A large spotlight from the balcony or the rear of the auditorium then picks out each man as he speaks.  During the musical or choral selections, the spotlight is focused on the singers, thus permitting the men on stage to slowly relax their difficult poses.  Following the completion of each musical or choral number, the spotlight again picks out the next speaker, as all of the men resume their original poses once more.  As each man speaks his particular soliloquy, he addresses the congregation and uses such gestures as come naturally to him.  Let no man speak just words from memory , but let each man live his part and speak it as forcefully and dramatically as possible, with all the drive and power he possesses, interpreting each line as he feels it, making each part come to life in a moving manner.  As each speaker comes to the climax of his soliloquy, he assumes his original pose as he asks the question "Is it I?"  for the second and last time.  The members of the cast are grouped about the long table in this order; left to right (and left to right means as one is facing the picture from the audience, and not as one faces the

audience from the stage):

            First group: Nathaniel (Bartholomew), at the end-blue robe, green cape; James the Less (behind the table)-maroon robe; Andrew-maroon or gold robe, blue cape. Nathaniel and James the Less are the only men who stand throughout the production.  Andrew may construct some attachable arm rests to extend from the table over his lap to help him hold his difficult pose.

            Second group: Peter - light blue robe; Judas-lighter blue than Peter's; John - green robe, maroon cape.  Peter is actually the first man of this group but his head appears between that of Judas and John, as he is leaning far forward, while Judas is almost pulling himself backward

from the Lord.  So their bodies are in the order mentioned but their faces and heads appear to be

in this order, left to right: Judas, Peter, John.  Peter clutches a knife or dagger in his right hand

while Judas, his right elbow having just overturned the salt, holds a bag of money in his right hand which rests on the table.

            Center: Jesus, in dark red robe and blue cape.  He alone is framed against the open arch of the background painting and remains in that same calm position throughout the entire production.

            Third group: James - light green robe; Thomas-dark blue robe; Philip - red robe with blue cape.  Though their bodies are in this order, just as in the second group their faces are in a different order.  As one looks at the living picture he sees the faces in this order-left to right: Thomas, James, Philip.  Thomas is staining forward, while James is leaning backward.  All of these men may be seated on stools, some high and some low, according to their height and their distance from the table.  By being permitted to half-stand, supported by a high stool, they are better able to hold their difficult poses during the entire presentation.  Allow sufficient room so that Thomas and Philip may be far enough away from the table to be able to sit comfortably and yet hold their poses.  From the front, one cannot tell whether they are right up at the table or several feet behind it.  The general effect is always the same.  The painter himself confessed that it would be well-nigh impossible for anyone actually to crowd or arrange thirteen men around such a table as he did with the, exercise of artistic license, in his painting.

            Fourth group:  Matthew - blue robe and cape: Thaddaeus - red robe and cape; Simon the Zealot (on the right end) - gray robe and maroon cape.

            If the costumes carrying out the general colors used in the original painting are not available, any colorful variety of gowns, garments, robes, and capes may be used, as long as there is enough variety and contrast to give life to this re-creation.  John, Philip, and Matthew appear to be the only beardless men in the picture.  Let the others be bearded and wigged to

resemble as far as possible the apostles they portray.  Let Christ be wigged, even if the others are not.  Where possible, let those wear wigs who need to in each individual role.  Several different colors of crepe wool, spirit gum, patience, and a sharp pair of scissors are all that one needs to prepare the beards of the actors.  Let the faces then be otherwise lined and the eyes pointed up as is necessary for an effective presentation.


            Andrew, Judas, John, James, Matthew, Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot remain seated as they speak.  Nathaniel, James the Less, Peter, Thomas, Philip rise and face the audience as

they speak.

            Depending upon the musical and choral talent available, the apostles may speak in groups of two or three.  If a large choir provides choral interludes and sings appropriate anthems, let the men speak in groups of three.  If a mixed quartet or a few soloists sing familiar hymns and sacred songs instead, then let the men speak in groups of two, alternating - as far as possible, at the discretion of the director - from one side of the table (Jesus being the center) to the other.  Let charts or diagrams be prepared so that the prompter behind the scene, the musical director, musician, singers, and the ones handling the spotlights and amplifier may know the numerical

order in which the men speak for each individual production.

            They may speak in groups of two in this order:

            1.  James the Less:  2.  Matthew, Hymn: "Into the Woods My Master Went" (two


            3.  Andrew: 4.  James, Hymn: "Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?" (two stanzas).

            5.  Simon the Zealot: 6.  Judas, Hymn: "Beneath the Cross of Jesus" (three stanzas). 

            7.  Nathaniel; 8.  Thomas, Hymn: "There Is a Green Hill Far Away" (Stebbins' tune

with Chorus); a tenor soloist may sing Ground's dramatic setting for this same hymn poem instead.

            9.  John; 10.  Philip, Hymn: "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" (to tune Hamburg, all four stanzas).

            11.  Thaddaeus; 12.  Peter.  An arrangement for Solo, Quartet, or Chorus of the Lord's Prayer.  During the singing, the lights dim on stage and the spotlight is focused on Jesus.  Following the singing, the musician once more plays the hymn tune "Passion Chorale" as the curtain slowly closes on the scene.

            The Narrator, or presiding officer, may then read a scripture lesson from Mark 14: 19-26, and pronounce the benediction; or else a hymn may be sung, a comment made, and then the audience may be dismissed in as fitting a manner as possible in keeping with the mood of the drama.


            If the apostles speak in groups of three, they may speak in this order:

            1.  James the Less;   2.  Matthew: 3.  Nathaniel.  Music.

            4.  James;  5.  Andrew;  6.  Thomas, Music.

            7.  Judas; 8.  Thaddaeus; 9.  Philip, Music.

            10.  John;  11.  Simon the Zealot;  12.  Peter, Music and Closing Service.


            In some instances, An Evening of Music and Drama has been scheduled with massed choirs singing great anthems for the first portion of the program, and this drama being presented as the second portion, without any musical interludes whatsoever, but merely with the twelve  apostles speaking their soliloquies in an orderly manner one after the other.  Generally, allowing three minutes for each apostle, the twelve soliloquies can be spoken in thirty-six minutes.  With appropriate musical and choral interludes, and postlude, this program may be adjusted to run anywhere from fifty minutes to an hour and fifteen minutes.  Let it be kept flexible at all times, according to time and talent available in each individual situation.  If an outstanding soloist or instrumentalist is available, let the dramatic portions of the program be adjusted accordingly.


NOTE: Da Vinci' s portrait of the "The Last Supper" may be found in the book - CHRIST AND THE FINE ARTS by Cynthia Pearl Maus, Harper and Row, page 289.  This book may be found in the religious Education Library at Fort Knox.



Leonardo, versatile genius of the Renaissance, was born in Vinci, Italy in 1452.  Though he excelled in many fields, he is remembered today because of two wonderful paintings; the MONA LISA and THE LAST SUPPER.  In 1494, when Leonardo was forty-two, he was commissioned by the Duke of Milan to decorate the dining room of the convent Church which was the favorite shrine of the Duke's young bride.  As an appropriate theme for this dining room, the painter chose THE LAST SUPPER.  His painting was not intended to be a faithful reproduction of the original scene as it had taken place in first century Palestine, but as it might have taken place in fifteenth century Italy.  He chose what he considered the most dramatic moment of THE LAST SUPPER.  In this LIVING DRAMATIZATION, the twelve apostles speak their minds to themselves, to each other and to the Lord in the light of the words which they have just heard Jesus speak, "One of you will betray me."


















I.  NATHANIEL:   My name is Nathaniel, although I am sometimes called Bartholomew.  Like many of the others, I am a fisherman.  I was a disciple of John, the Baptizer, and it was John who introduced me to Jesus at Bethany beyond the Jordan.  It was my friend Philip who came to me and said, "We have found him of whom Moses in the law and the prophets wrote,  Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."  I will never forget the question I put to Philip that day.  "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?"  I said it not in scorn.  But the town was such a little insignificant place that those of us familiar with her lanes and alleys wondered why God placed his Anointed in her midst.  However, Philip simply replied, "Come and see."  When I saw Jesus, He said,  "Behold, an Israelite in whom there is no guile."  "How do you know me?"  I asked.  He answered,  "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you."  In my country, when working mothers go into the fields, they place their little babies under the shade of the nearest fig tree.  The large leaves shelter the babies from the hot rays of the sun.  So the Master was actually telling me that He had known me since the day I was born.  Then it was that I confessed my faith.  "Rabbi," I said,  "You are the Son of God, You are the King of Israel." Since that time I have served him as a disciple and as a chosen apostle.  And now, when He is instituting a ceremony that is to take the place of the Passover,  He tells us that one of us is to betray Him.  How can that be?  How can a traitor be numbered among His closest friends?  I keep asking myself,  "Is it I? Is it I?"


(MUSICAL BRIDGE -1.)        (See page 24.)

2.  MATTHEW:   Like Zacchaeus, I am a tax collector.  Some call me Levi, and others call me Matthew, the publican.  When my character changed through my fellowship with Jesus, He changed my name as well.  He called me one day when I was in my office collecting taxes.  "Follow me",  He said, and I rose and followed Him.  Later I gave Him a great feast in my home and many of His disciples and my business friends were present.  When some of the Pharisees complained about Jesus eating with publicans and sinners,  Jesus said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick."  Since that day when I repented and followed Him, I have studied our Scriptures closely and am now convinced that Jesus is the fulfillment of every prophecy about the coming Messiah, God's Anointed.  I have listened carefully to His sermons.  Some day I hope to write a paper proving He is the Messiah, from our Sacred Writings, and recording the heart of His sermon about the good news of the Kingdom of God --the sermon He first delivered on the mountain in Galilee three years ago.  It is a new gospel; good news for all the world.  And yet He has just spoken bad news, tragic news,  that one of us will betray Him.  Who can it be? Will they suspect me because I was once a hated tax-collector? Do I suspect myself?  Is it I? Is it I?



3.  JAMES THE LESSER:   My name is James, but, since many men bear that familiar name, I am called James the Little, or James the Lesser, being lesser in size than other men of the same name.  Since my father's name was Alphaeous, I am sometimes known as James, the son of Alphaeus.  I will never forget the day I first saw the Master.  I was passing down the road near the place where John was baptizing.  I was curious to see what was going on, so I turned aside for a closer look.  Then I saw Jesus asking John to baptize Him.  John refused, but Jesus insisted.  After John had baptized the Lord, the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in the form of a dove,  and we heard a voice from heaven saying,  "This is My beloved son, in whom I am well pleased."  At the end of the first year of his public ministry, He chose me as one of the twelve apostles, and since that moment I have walked with Him and talked with Him, stayed with Him and prayed with Him, trying to learn as much about Him and His Heavenly Father as I could.  And now, one of us is to betray Him.  Surely it is madness to think that that could be!  Surely the betrayer is out of his mind!  But I keep asking myself,  "Is it I? Is it I?"



4.  JAMES:   I am James, the brother of John.  I followed Jesus with my brother after he called us while we were mending our nets by the sea of Galilee with our father, Zebedee, one day almost three years ago.  We were honored when Jesus wanted us as His disciples, and were humbled when He chose both of us to be among the twelve apostles.  Our mother, Salome, was quite ambitious on our behalf and urged us to press our claims upon Jesus.  Enroute to Jerusalem last week we made this request of Him, "Teacher, grant us to sit one at your right and the other at your left when you come into your Kingdom."  He replied, "You do not know what you are asking.”  Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink, or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?"  We  said, "Lord, we are able."  Then He told us that we would surely drink His cup and be baptized with His baptism, but it was not in His power to grant the right and privilege of sitting at His right and left hand in His Kingdom.  The others were angry when they heard of our request.  Jesus then reminded us that he who would be first must be the servant of all and He demonstrated His words by washing our feet just before supper.  And now, He who taught us the way of love is to be betrayed by one of those whom He loved.  Who can it be?  Why should one of us do such a thing?  I keep thinking deep down inside my own heart, "Is it I? Is it I?"



5.  ANDREW:   I am Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, the man who first brought his own brother to the Lord.  I am not a gifted man, but just an ordinary, average man,  like any one of you.  But I’ve tried to do what I could to serve the Master with the gifts and talents that I have.  The others call me Andrew, the Bringer, because it seems that all I have ever done is to bring someone else to Jesus.  I brought my brother Peter to Jesus, and have gloried in the gradual transformation in his life.  I found the little lad with the five loaves and two fish that day when Jesus fed the five thousand.  And then just recently some Greeks came seeking the Master, and I was called in once more to bring the Greeks to Jesus.  He must have seen something of value in me which the others overlooked, because He selected me to be one of the twelve apostles.  I have been very close to the Master ever since.  I may not have been in the inner circle like Peter, but I haven't been in the outer circle either.  I've been a friend and companion to my Lord.  What greater gift could life afford a fisherman? And now one of us is to betray Him.  It is unthinkable.  Who could it be?  How could he get away with it in his own heart?  Could it be Andrew, the Bringer?  Is it I?  Is it I?



6. JUDAS:  All the others came from Galilee.  My home is in the village of Kerioth in Judea.  Here, I am known as Judas of Kerioth, or Judas Iscariot, the only Judean in the group.  (He holds up the bag of money.)  The others must have had confidence in me because they elected me their treasurer.  And Jesus surely must have believed in me, because He chose me as one of the twelve.  Some say that I have appropriated these funds for my own use, and that Jesus' words about the love of money and greed were personally directed at me.  Of course I complained when Mary washed His feet with that expensive ointment and perfume.  I still think it was a waste of money.  And if I conspired with the chief priests and if I have thirty pieces of silver on my person, that's my affair.  I believe in Jesus, but someone has to make Him assert Himself as God's Messiah. He refuses to make a move.  Well, I've made one.  He hints that He knows what I've done.  He said so when He washed my feet a few moments ago.  But I have my reasons.  My soul isn't as black as some think it is, nor is your soul as white!  And what would you do if you were in my place and wanted Him to do something dramatic and startling to usher in His Kingdom?  And if you were in His place, what would you do?  Should I ignore His remark, or, like the others, should I piously, self-righteously ask myself,  "Is it I?  Is it I?"



7.  PHILIP:   My name is Philip.  I came from Bethanida in Galilee.  While all of my friends and I were in Bethany listening to John the Baptist, He called us to become His disciples, and all of us turned and followed him.  I remember so well, before He fed the five thousand with five loaves and two fish, asking Him and the others, "Where are we to buy bread that all of these may eat?"  Little did I know that Andrew was already bringing a young lad and his lunch to Jesus.  When the Greeks came to me and asked for an interview with the Master, I turned them over to Andrew who brought them to Jesus.  When Jesus began to tell us that God was our heavenly Father, it was almost beyond my understanding.  However, as I listened to the Master, I have grown to understand His words.  In fact, I can almost say that he who has seen Jesus has seen the Father.  Because everything one wants to find in the Father, I find in Jesus.  And nothing I would not want to find in the Father do I find in the Son.  And Now, having seen the Father through Him, He shocks us by telling us that there is a betrayer in our midst.  Does the traitor not know that in betraying Jesus he is also betraying God?  That in conspiring against Jesus he is conspiring against God? Can one of our number be so blind?  Who can it be?  Can it be Philip? Is it I? Is it I?



8.  THADDAEUS:   I am Thaddaeus, one of the disciples whom Jesus called to be an apostle.  Jesus chose twelve of us to become the cornerstones of the new kingdom just as the twelve tribes were the cornerstones of the Old Jewish kingdom.  I feel unworthy to be numbered among His apostles, but He selected me.  I well remember the day.  After a night in prayer, He called us to Him and gave us authority over unclean spirits and the power to heal every kind of disease and infirmity.  Then He commissioned us to go forth and preach that  "The kingdom of heaven is at hand."  He told us to be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves, since He was sending us forth as sheep in the midst of wolves.  "It is enough,"  He said,  "that the disciple be like his teacher and the servant as his master."  I was in Jerusalem when He gave the great invitation, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest...for my yoke is easy and my burden is light."  And now, He who came to share men's burdens, has a burden thrust upon Him:  the knowledge that one of us will betray Him.  Which one of us can it be? Who is the traitor?  The man we least suspect?  Or will all of us betray Him before the night is over?  Philip and Peter and Judas and John and even Thaddaeus?  Is it I?  Is It I?



9.  THOMAS:  I am Thomas, the twin, or Thomas called Didymus, which means “twin.”  While I do not look upon life with gloom and despondency, I usually demand proof before I believe, I want to see before committing myself.  Yet I am not a man of doubt.  Rather I feel sometimes that I am a man of daring.  I recall the day when Mary and Martha sent word to the Lord that their brother, Lazarus, was dead.  Jesus turned to us and said  “Let us go to him.” We knew of the growing opposition to Jesus and some of the apostles didn’t want to go to Bethany, they shrank from the unseen danger.  Yet I remember how I spoke out and rebuked them all by saying, “Let us also go with Him that we may die with Him.” Why do people remember my doubts and forget my daring? Remember the questions and overlook the affirmations? Remember my fear and forget my faith? I used to go fishing with some of the others, and how well I remember the Beatitudes He spoke on the Horns of Hattin during the first year of His public ministry.  And I can almost see Him rebuking the winds on stormy Galilee and healing the sick, curing the diseased, opening the eyes of the blind, unstopping the ears of the deaf, cleansing the lepers and preaching the gospel to the poor.  Yet opposition has developed and His enemies are determined to destroy Him.  He would make us God’s servants while they would make God their servant.  And now, He says that even among us, the chosen twelve, there is a traitor.  Is He speaking of me?  Is He referring to me?  Is it I?  Is it I?


10.  JOHN:  After Jesus called Peter and Andrew to follow Him,  He came to me, John, and my brother James.  We were in the boat nearby with our father, Zebedee, mending our nets.  He called us and we immediately left the boat and our father, and followed Him.  Since that time, I have tried to understand Jesus by loving Him.  Sometimes I believe that He is as much of God as will ever possess a human life.  Yet I love Him as a person, and He has returned my love.  Sometimes He calls me "the beloved disciple."  I have shared His trials as well as His hours of victory.  I was there on the Mount of Transfiguration, and we beheld His glory.  Peter and I completed the arrangements for the celebration of the Passover here in this upper room tonight, because He numbers us within His close, intimate, inner circle.  It was to me that He told about His talk with Nicodemus when He spoke those wonderful words,  "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life."  Some day I want to write down some of His sayings and some of His many wonderful deeds, so others may read them and believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing they may have life in His Name.  Yet He just said that one of us was a betrayer.  I cannot believe it.  Yet it must be so, else He would not have said it.  Who could it be? Surely not my brother, or Peter or Andrew.  Could it be John, the beloved disciple? Is it I? Is it I?



11. SIMON THE ZEALOT:   I am Simon, the Zealot, or Simon Zealotos.  Before Jesus called me, I belonged to a group of hot-headed, blood-thirsty revolutionaries known as the Zealots.  We were all for armed rebellion against Rome.  We believed in crushing our enemies under their heels and establishing the ancient glory that was Israel's  in the days of David and Solomon.  Yet Jesus told us of another kind of kingdom, the kingdom of the human heart when God reigns there supremely.  Since I heard this,  I have changed my mind and also my allegiance.  He has shown me that the conquest of the heart is the only true, sincere and lasting conquest.  So I have given Him my highest loyalty and deepest devotion.  I have, in military parlance, unconditionally and completely surrendered myself to Him, to think His thoughts, to love as He loves and whom He loves, to obey as He obeys, to serve as He serves.  This surrender has not imprisoned me; rather, it has set me free for the first time in my life.  I am not afraid of Rome any longer.  Rome is mighty, but God is Almighty.  Now the Master says that there is a spiritual Roman among us; one who would attempt by force what can only be conquered by love.  Who can it be?  Matthew, the publican?  The big fisherman or his brother?  Or does He suspect me, since I am the only former Zealot among us?  Is it I?  Is it I?



12.  PETER:   My brother Andrew and I were fishing on the sea of Galilee one afternoon, casting our nets into the sea, when Jesus walked by and said,  "Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men."  We immediately left our nets and followed Him.  One morning He said, "Simon, put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch."  I said, "Master, we have toiled all night and have taken nothing.  But at Your word, I will let down the nets."  We caught so many fish we had to summon other nearby boats to contain the catch.  When we reached the shore, I fell at Jesus’ feet and cried out,  "Depart from me, O Lord, for I am a sinful man."  But He told us that thereafter we would be fishing for men.  In fact, He even changed my name from Simon to Peter, which means The Rock.  And when I confessed Him as the Christ, the Son of the Living God, near Cessarea Philippi, He said, "On this rock will I build My Church." But a moment later, when I protested against His going to Jerusalem to suffer death at the hands of evil men, He rebuked me and said, "Get thee behind Me, Satan."  So I am a mixture of good and evil, of Godliness and devilishness.  Tonight when He said that one of us would betray Him, I promised to follow Him even unto death.  But He warned me that before the cock crew twice I would have denied Him three times.  Even though the others call me the big fisherman, in His presence I feel small and unworthy.  Will I deny Him tonight before the rooster crows?  And if I do, what will He do?  Will He disown me?  Will He deny me?  Will He close the doors of the Kingdom to me?  Was He referring to me when He said, "One of you will betray Me"?  If I knew who the scoundrel was,  I'd pierce his heart with this knife I hold in my hand.  But maybe it would be my own heart that I would pierce!  God grant it may not be so.  Yet I keep wondering and saying to myself  "Lord, is it I?  Is it I?"