Monday Rewrite: Nicodemus and the Secret Rendezvous

A simple sketch which could be done as a reading with three readers and scripts, or enacted as a piece of drama. Based on John chapter 3.

Narrator: Jesus and his disciples went to Capernaum and then onto Jerusalem for the Passover feast. In the city Jesus performed several miraculous signs, and some of the local people began to believe in him. Word soon spread and, intrigued, one of the Pharisees asked to meet him secretly. So, late one evening, Nicodemus hovered in a back street, waiting in the shadows. When he heard footsteps he stepped out into the fading light.

Nicodemus walks on, looking nervous. Jesus walks on after him, looking confident.

Jesus: (Happily) Ah Nicodemus! Hello – it’s me – Jesus!
Nicodemus: Shhh! I mean… hello, how are you doing?
Jesus: Fine, I heard you were looking for me.
Nicodemus: Yes. I er… I… I’d like a few words with you.
Jesus: Okay, Nicodemus, fire away…
Nicodemus: Actually you couldn’t keep your voice down a little, could you… possibly… It’s not that I’m ashamed or anything… I just… well…
Jesus: Yes?
Nicodemus: Well, I… anyway, what I want to know is… well, we’ve seen you do all these amazing things, you know miracles and the like. And you’re pretty good at flooring us Pharisees whenever we open our mouths. So er… well it looks very much to me as if you must have come from… you know.

(Nicodemus points up. Jesus follows his extended finger.)

Jesus: Where? From up there?
Nicodemus: Well yes, no, not literally there, but higher, you know in the spiritual sense, from heaven. You know… God’s kingdom and all that.
Jesus: Nicodemus, would you like to see God’s kingdom?
Nicodemus: Well, not right now, no, but… one day. When I’ve done my time.
Jesus: The truth of the matter is, you can’t even begin to see it unless you’ve been born over.
Nicodemus: Born over what?
Jesus: Born over. Born again.
Nicodemus: Again?
Jesus: Yes.
Nicodemus: You mean like… really? Sounds a bit extreme. I mean, I believe in the impossible and all that but my mother’s 92 and she’s a little old for that sort of thing…
Jesus: No Nicodemus, I’m not talking about physical birth. You’ve been there done that, you don’t need to go through that again.
Nicodemus: That’s a relief!
Jesus: I’m talking about your spiritual life. That needs to be given birth. Don’t be surprised at that. Everyone needs a spiritual birth, to give their spirit life. Just as it is with the body. How could you be alive if you’d never been born? Well how can you be spiritually alive without a spiritual birth?
Nicodemus: Is it painful?
Jesus: Mmm… sometimes. It means a whole new start.
Nicodemus: What do I do for that then?
Jesus: Only God can do it. He has to do it in you. His spirit will bring it about.
Nicodemus: How?
Jesus: God’s spirit is like the wind, Nicodemus, you can’t see it, you can’t control it. You just have to let it happen.
Nicodemus: When?
Jesus: One day soon, you’ll see a sign. You’re a scholar, you know your theology, when the people were crossing the desert and they got poisoned by snake bites what did Moses do?
Nicodemus: Put a bronze snake on a pole and told the people they’d be well if they looked up at it.
Jesus: Exactly. Well soon the Son of Man will be lifted up, just like that snake, he’ll become, of you like, an embodiment of the problem. And if you look to him, like people looked to that snake, then the change will begin. The new birth.
Nicodemus: How can that be?
Jesus: Faith, Nicodemus, faith. No more, no less. It’s the simplest thing in the world… and the hardest. Faith, pure and simple.

(Nicodemus looks perplexed, Jesus jabs a finger out front)

Jesus: Is this the quickest way back?
Nicodemus: Mmm? Oh… yes, sure…

(Jesus leaves him and walks off, Nicodemus starts walking the opposite way, muttering as he goes)

Nicodemus: Hmm, faith. Hmm, born again… simple, yes… and difficult. Yes I see… and yet, then again… Oops! Where am I going? Wrong way!

(Nicodemus stops, looks back and forth, then turns and hurries off the other way off)

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